Need help with itinerary

Travel Forums Europe Need help with itinerary

1. Posted by Eyedrinkale (First Time Poster 1 posts) 43w Star this if you like it!

Hello community. I am a recently retired 57 year old male from NYC. The day after retirement, I packed up a backpack and began what I hope will be a very long journey, starting with Mexico. 

Since I can only be here 180 days and I’m on 111, I’m planning ahead. The easy thing is to just do a visa run back to the states or Guatemala but I think I’d like to mix it up a bit. 

I love Spain, Italy and France as well as Belgium and Amsterdam but to go back without seeing some other places, well that doesn’t seem too adventurous also. So, here is a list of places I’d like to go and I’m willing to spend 3-12 months doing them. My question to the group is more about logistics. i have to leave Mexico at the end of May. 

Since I’d like to come back to Mexico at some point and I can only spend 90 days in Schengen countries, where do you suppose the best place to start and return to CDMX would be? Please understand this is just a wish list and I do not want nor expect to hit all of the places on this list. Getting from point A to point B is important and I’d rather immerse myself in a place for a few weeks in an apartment. Fortunately I have the means stay in an AirBnB instead of a hostel however I’d still like to keep my accommodation budget under $1,300 per month usd. As far as what I am looking for from each place, to be near a great local market and learning each cultures food and drink is more important to me than sightseeing and museums. Professional sporting events and festivals interest me more than shopping and statues. 

I think three to six places out of this long list would work fine. If you were me, how would you compile an itinerary starting and returning to CDMX out of the following places and if possible, the least expensive way to get from one place to the next. 

Sorry for such a long post, as I tried to give you as much info about me to make a knowledgeable suggestion. I appreciate any and all advice or suggestions. Thank you

Lyon, France

  • been there before, fun but not necessary — looking for recommendations
2. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1301 posts) 43w Star this if you like it!

I"m not sure how you picked Lyon out of all of France, but that said, why not check the Gites de France and see if you can find an inexpensive rental. The lower priced ones are in smaller towns which I find more fun, but if you want Lyon, check Lyon. We've found that if you find one you like, you can contact the owner and see if they have a discount for long-term rentals. If given 30 days of confirmed booking, most will cut their prices a lot. Click here for the Gites de France web site

Also, if you aren't completely tied to Lyon, consider the Dordogne region. It is absolutely magical, has history, scenery, great food and cave art. The prices are much lower there. Click here for the GItes de France Dordogne web site

You could do your 90 days in France and that area and then leave Schengen for 90 days in the UK since they are not Schengen.

Good luck and have a great trip. Sounds like an adventure.

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 43w Star this if you like it!

As Beausoleil says, not all of Europe is Schengen.
Here's a bit of info (more available with a search) .
Also Morocco is much more than Agadir and is also (obviously) not Schengen, so can be visited during the 90 days required outside Schengen before returning.

4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1066 posts) 43w Star this if you like it!

Croatia and Romania are EU countries which are not in the Schengen Area (neither is Bulgaria). You can spend time in those countries when your Schengen 90-in-180 visa-free limit has ended.

The Republic of Ireland is not in Schengen either.

The UK and the Republic of Ireland have a Common Travel Area, meaning there are no border formalities when travelling between the two countries.

As a US citizen you can spend up to 6 months in the UK and Ireland visa/visa-waiver free, though the length of stay is at the border officer's discretion when you first enter the CTA (wherever) and have your passport stamped.

Turkey now requires an electronic visa. Whilst visa on arrival is still available (at a separate desk, not the ordinary border desks) queues can be very long indeed so getting an evisa makes far more sense. Official site:

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Mar-2019, at 00:00 by leics2 ]

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1832 posts) 43w Star this if you like it!

Serbia may be worth adding to your radar. It's outside the Schengen zone, outside the EU, and in my opinion feels a bit more "old Europe" than the other countries which feel to be modernising and getting more global brands and correspondingly less individual character.

You mentioned Zagreb - from your description of your likes I think you may like nearby Ljubljana even more, I thought it had more local cuisine and culture (but also higher prices).

I think the more western cities may strain your accommodation budget goal. Time spent in the east will offset that - I particularly like Budapest out of the ones you listed. Krakow could be a bit touristy. Bucharest has some nice areas in the centre but a lot of communist concrete sprawl which some people find depressing.

6. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 225 posts) 43w 1 Star this if you like it!

My approach would be:

  1. find the best and the cheapest flight from Mexico to Europe around the dates that suits you best
  2. I've picked Mexico city at the end of May and found: London,UK/ Brussels, Belgium/ Frankfurt, Germany/ Warsaw, Poland and so one
  3. then you can start you next stop based on the train timetable or low cost flight options.
  4. Once you are in Europe you will find so easy to get around
  5. The Balkans are less covered are by the low cost airlines, however you should have no problem to get there from UK or central Europe (Belgium, Germany)
  6. Morocco is exceptionally well covered from most of the countries so not an issue to get there
  7. Turkey is another popular destination with frequent flight from Europe. Maybe this could be the end of the European odyssey and fly back to US?