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Planning honeymoon & I'm just so overwhelmed

Hi everyone! I came across this forum as I've been trying to google info/tips for planning our upcoming honeymoon. We will be in Austria for a little over two weeks, ending in Vienna. Personally, we didn't want to start in Vienna despite it being our starting point (airport) because we wanted to relax. I have a list of all the places we would like to visit but as far as what else we should be visiting in these towns and where we should be staying, I'm completely and utterly lost and overwhelmed. I just don't have the head for this! Is there any travel agent or someone that I could connect with and pay to help me sort this all out? Our flights and rental car are booked and I have two hotels (start of the trip and the ending of the trip) booked. Everything else is up in the air. Hoping I can connect with someone or someone can suggest a company or person to reach out to. TIA!

Posted by
722 posts

There are some great travel advisors out there who could easily relieve you of this overwhelm.

Most of the folks on these forums are more DIY, but asking your contacts on social media platforms could yield some personal referrals. Ask for someone that specializes or focuses on independent European travel, rather than cruises or Disney or Caribbean, etc.

Or ask people connected to wedding planning. They’ll likely have contacts for you.

Posted by
9 posts

I understand. I would also happily pay an expert DIYER too, LOL. Thank you both. Will check out that video.

Posted by
722 posts

Don’t pay an “expert DIYer”. Apart from issues of liability and them not having the professional relationships to leverage on your behalf, they’re only experts in playing their own travel. It would be silly for me to book you on the trip I want to take rather than the trip that’s right for you.

Posted by
9 posts

That's a good point. Thank you for your honesty opinion. You're totally right. Sorry, just feeling a little desperate / alone here.

Posted by
722 posts

Kingston031122- I get it! I actually work in (a small corner of) the wedding industry, and know how mammoth a task planning that event can be.

Posted by
295 posts

There are still travel agents out there. Find a highly recommended one to help you with the overall plans. We’re here to help you get the smaller details in place.

Posted by
5617 posts

So have you consulted the Rick Steves guidebook that covers Austria? Are towns and places that are on your list also in his book? Or does your list have places where Rick can’t offer suggestions?

Also, it sounds like you’d prefer flying in to Vienna, then immediately going to the next town on your list. That would work well - save Vienna for the end of the honeymoon, and fly home from there. If that’s not what your reservations allow, can you switch the reservations, so you can start ofc on a relaxed note?

Rick sure helped us plan our Austria trip, 23 years ago! With help from his guidebook, we were able to “wing” other parts of the trip, as things fell surprisingly easily into place.

Posted by
335 posts

Would help if you could provide time of trip and the places you have identified as places to visit. Also head to a library or bookstore and pick up guide books for Austria. I like Foders for general info and Rick Steves for useful travel info about the country. He also gives ideas for exploring cities ….. probably has good ideas for Vienna, Salzburg.

You might look into the possibility of changing your flights so you could start in Munich, a short drive into the Tyrol or to Salzburg region of Austria. Innsbruck is the main city of Tyrol and there are some delightful villages outside the city that might be fun to stay at. Mutters, Natters and Rum come to mind. Good if you want hiking or skiing and chalet/pension style accommodation. Salzburg and the Saltzkammergut region is lovely, full of lakes and stunning vistas. I think Vienna probably has a lot to do and see, palaces, music, the Spanish Riding School, drinking coffee and eating cream pastries in a typical coffee shop, go out into the countryside and enjoy drinking some local wine at the winery where it was made, depending on when you are there. (But be aware of local drinking/driving laws before you go!). Most importantly, take time to relax, enjoy a lovely country and each other…it’s a time to relax and go with the flow.

Posted by
9 posts

We arrive in Vienna early in the morning on Sunday, June 12th. We are booked to stay at Hotel Gmachl from June 12th - June 15th. From June 15th - June 24th we are completely open. I have us down to return to Vienna in the evening on June 24th, return our car, check into our hotel where we will stay until we return home on June 27th.

My husband and I are both wowed by nature, small towns, castles, things like that. My husband is used to driving and comfortable driving longer distances so it shouldn't be an issue. I prefer a moderate stroll around things where my husband is a little more fast paced so I guess we shall meet somewhere in the middle, lol. But we definitely are not the type of tourists to drag our feet around town, if that makes sense.

From then brief research I've done, we would like to visit Salzburg, St. Wolfgang, Hallstat. Gosau, Plansee, Gallizen, Umhausen, Ginzling, Tirol, Leutasch, Innsbruck and of course, Vienna.

Some of the specific attractions we are looking to see/do are boat ride along Wolfgangsee Lake, cable car to the mountain, Hallstat salt cave, 5 fingers, Schafberg mountain, Plansee lake, Wildensteiner Wasserfall, Stuibenfall Wasserfall, Lago Schlegeisspeicher to Olperhutte, Apline Coaster, Heinfels Castle, Tratzberg Castle and Leutascher Geisterklamm.

Now all I've done is very brief research. This might be too much packed in or maybe it's not enough or maybe it's not the right spots to visit, etc. That again adds to where I feel lost and overwhelmed.

Posted by
930 posts

Your going to think I'm crazy but, when we took the Rick Steves Munich, Salzburg and Vienna tour we had a young couple who were on their honeymoon and we all had a great time and on the last night the couple announced that they loved the fact that they were a part of the group and we all shared in their happiness of being newly married.

So sounds different but when you think about it, being on the tour all the hotels and transportation and activities were taken care of, so all they had to do was enjoy the trip!

Posted by
2612 posts

Have you looked at sample itineraries? I don't know Austria, so I cannot help you with specifics (I just love honeymoon posts--congrats!), but I see you listed 11 other places for 10 days, so either some of those can be grouped together or something has to go. Adapting a sample itinerary to your choices would be the next step.
Another logistics strategy is to move on from your arrival city and save your time there for the end. This is not ideal if you have a brutal flight to get there, and sometimes it is nice to split a stay between arrival and departure (and a city like Vienna can certainly support two stays), I am just mentioning that because it can sometimes help you maximize time. If you want to focus on nature and villages, you may not need two stays in Vienna.

Posted by
16749 posts

But by renting a car, you do not want to drive on your arrival day, so camping out in Vienna for a few days is perfectly acceptable.

Posted by
9 posts

I wouldn't mind traveling with a group but my husband, not so much. He things to do things at his own pace and isn't much for chit chat. Just not his thing. Great suggestion though and I would've definitely gone for it. For sure would've saved the stress!

I've tried looking at a few sample itineraries but that is again when and where I start to feel overwhelmed. I've put my contact info down on a site that should connect with me 1-2 travel experts. Apparently they should be able to help with what I'm looking for.

We will be driving on our arrival day. We arrive at 7AM in Vienna and will be going straight to Salzburg. It probably would've been more ideal to start the trip in Vienna but I wanted to start off by relaxing in a spectacular hotel! We've booked the Hotel Gmachl for 3 nights and I'm SO excited!

Posted by
2612 posts

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's not a great idea to drive three plus hours on no sleep (assuming you are flying overnight). However, you can take a fast train and then when you leave Salzburg, rent a car to work your way back to Vienna. These are the kinds of things guide books can help you with.
Just make sure whoever is helping you actually knows the country. Being a travel agent is really no guarantee.

Posted by
9 posts

I think we should be ok as my husband drives for work BUT, this isn't a bad idea. It would also save us money. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm going to look into it and see what he thinks.

Posted by
16749 posts

I am with valadelphia on this one. Straight from the airport to Salzburg by train and taxi to the Gmachl. Rent the car the day you leave Salzburg, since car in Salzburg will be a headache. Direct trains at least every hour, and often every half hour. Takes between 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours is much more relaxing than hassling renting a car and finding your way to Salzburg. Go 1st class if you want to splurge.

Posted by
271 posts

Salzburg is a good choice for a start! Calm pretty user-friendly city. Advice about the train is probably good, it's a very easy train trip from the airport, and you're not going to need a car for those first couple of days in Salzburg

Posted by
9 posts

Greatly appreciate the advice and after hearing it, couldn't agree more! I really appreciate everyone being so friendly and willing to help. I was nervous to post considering I know I don't know what I'm talking about. You guys are awesome!

Posted by
9 posts

Going back to Vienna, should we drop the car in Salzburg and do the train again or just make the drive back to Vienna? Assuming the rental car company allows me to drop off in a different location.

Posted by
2612 posts

You should have absolutely no qualms about asking anything--sometimes you might get curt answers, but most people are absolutely just trying to give good advice. We all had to start somewhere. I do drive on arrival after an overnight flight, but I keep it very short--sleep deprivation is no joke, so over three hours would worry me. And it's unnecessary when there is a train. It is something that many don't think about, but consider it will also save you a good deal of money because cars are very expensive, as is fuel. You don't want to pay for a car that will sit in a garage in a city (which could cost you as well).
You need to get the itinerary set first, but I believe a lot of your desired locations are roughly between Vienna and Salzburg, so you can skip having the car in both cities but it would make great sense to drive between for getting to small villages and rural places. Picking up a car in one city and dropping off in the other will not incur anything more than a minor fee (dropping in a different country is a different story). Note you also need an IDP for each driver. You can get that at AAA for about 20 bucks. It's a translation of your US drivers license. Check your credit card coverages for rental car insurance, as that can save you money too.

Posted by
412 posts

Just before your return to Vienna, I would drop off the car in Salzburg. You could train to Melk for the day before continuing another hour or so to Vienna. You can do the Melk to Krems bike ride along the Danube River with crumbling castles like the one King Richard-the-Lion-Heart of England was held captive in above Durnstein. The riverside bike trail is a safe dedicated bike trail and the ride can be done at a leisurely pace passing vineyards in three hours or so. There are bike rental companies that let you pick up the bike in Melk and drop it off in Krems.
You could also do the bike ride as a daytrip from Vienna.
Happy Travels!

Posted by
412 posts

Another tip is that Berchtesgaden, the base for Berchtesgaden National Park is only
a 30-minute drive from Salzburg. ( There also is bus 840 that makes the journey). While it’s just over the border in Germany, the drive will take you right through the Alps!

Posted by
1287 posts

I have a trip planned for Austria this Sept. I’ll post my tentative plans below. It might give you some ideas. For me, Salzburg and Innsbruck seemed like good home-bases to see what I am interested in seeing. I’ll do everything with public transportation.

Salzburg

--Monchsberg: walk from stift nonnberg to augustiner braustubl

--Hohensalzburg Fortress

-- gardens at Mirabell palace

-- Hellbrunn

--Salzburg Cathedral (Dom)

--Getreidegassa: shopping street with wrought-iron signs

--Salzburg Glockenspiel (bell tower) can be found on the Residenzplatz

--Steingasse Historic cobbled lane with trendy pubs — a tranquil, tourist-free section of old Salzburg.

--See the cemetery and stop at Stiftsbakerei St Peter’s (next to the water wheel) for some wonderful bread.

--Possible day trips: Hallstatt, Zell am See, Werfen, Munich, Berchtesgaden

Innsbruck

--Ambras Castle

--Nordkettenbahn to Hafelekar

--Hofgarten

--Possible day trips: Hall in Tirol, Seefeld, Kufstein, Fritzens-Wattens (Swarovski for my obsessed sister), Brixen, Italy, Mittenwald, Germany

Posted by
271 posts

Generally speaking in Europe, rental car companies charge you nothing, or very little, to drop the car at a different location inside the same country.

It's nice to have a car in Europe, although it's just as nice to use public transportation. Public transit is easier in many ways, but then there are ways in which cars are easier, particularly if you plan to go to places not so easily served by transit.

This ship has already sailed I'm sure, but if you want to do minimal planning with maximum visiting pretty sites and interesting cities, River cruises are very easy. I've never done one because my family has done a lot of independent travel and tends to often tour by bicycle (and so we end up on a lot of river routes on bikes) but I think they are a great option if you want put your stuff into your little room and then wake up each morning in a new and interesting place, generally good food and wine, plenty of time to visit the cities you wake up in. Couldn't be easier or lower stress if you just want to pay and show up and relax

Posted by
3179 posts

Because some other people posting on this forum have recently had big problems with this, make sure your passport is good for 6 mo from beginning of your trip.

Posted by
2580 posts

Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazines run lists from time to time of their preferred travel agents for all parts of the world. they probably post this on their websites. Contact a few and see what they have to say. Also if you have a card like Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire, they probably have trip planners available. It's OK if you don't want to plan a trip yourself, there just aren't as many travel agents as in days of yore (when it was the ONLY way to get reservations). I bet wedding magazines also have ads for honeymoon travel agents.

Posted by
1486 posts

From then brief research I've done, we would like to visit Salzburg, St. Wolfgang, Hallstat. Gosau, Plansee, Gallizen, Umhausen, Ginzling, Tirol, Leutasch, Innsbruck and of course, Vienna.

Seriously? You obviously have no idea how much travel time is required to get to all of this places. This is a far too tight itinerary which would force you to rush from one town to the next. Additionaly, it is your honeymoon, i.e. I guess you would want to spare some time for a nicer occupation than visiting sights.

Concentrate on three or four places. You will see how quickly the time passes.

Posted by
9 posts

Yes, seriously :)! Researching travel times is one of the things I actually did look at thoroughly. Unless Google maps isn’t accurate, I am well aware of the travel time. As mentioned above, my husband is used to driving and we are used to being on the go so no real issue for us. We aren’t the type of people to spend a ton of time oohing and aahing over one spot. We booked the lovely spa hotel at the start of our trip to start out with some relaxation. We definitely wouldn’t be content only going to 3 or 4 places within our 16 day stay. We are willing to cut some places out but definitely not narrowing it down that slim. If we wanted a super relaxing trip, we would’ve went for a beach vacation.