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My 10 day plan

Hi folks,
Welp, after getting drilled on other forums with nonsense and frankly, horrible comments and negativity, i've decided to
hopefully catch some "adult" thoughts from this forum.

When i started my plan, like many first timers, i thought i could see a lot in 10 days. Especially after getting a report
from someone who did. They were older and enjoyed every minute of it so, why couldn't I?
My original plan was coming in to London, staying for 2 days, heading to Munich, then Venice, Rome in a day, then going to Paris and finishing up back in London. Of course, everyone convinced me that i need to save Italy for another trip. So i then chopped my trip down, taking Venice out of the mix. Not enough. Now, i've basically narrowed it down to just England, Munich and Paris.
Hopefully i can pull it off. Seemed like a pretty simple plan but then, my wife said she wanted to spend our only weekend in London. That made things a bit more difficult seeing we were flying in on a Tuesday. We can make it work but there would be a back and forth going to Paris in the end. We will be taking the train to Paris on a Sunday for our last stop so that's good, (no rush hour) but, we plan to do some stuff on a Tuesday so that will limit us a bit. But i think this plan may be a winner. Let me know your thoughts on this:
Sept 24-Arriving in England, 5:30p.m. fly to Munich (b&b outside of town maybe) , settle in
Sept 25-Enjoy Munich, Octoberfest
Sept 26-Munich castle/museum visit
Sept 27-flight to London, check into motel
Sept 28-Day trip to Manchester/Liverpool
Sept 29-Enjoy London, double decker bus tour, museums and such
Sept 30-Train to Paris, morning trip, check in motel, maybe get in a site
Oct 1-Visit Paris, Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, museums
Oct 2-Paris breakfast, train back to London
Oct 3-Fly out of London, 9:15a.m.
Oct 3-Arrive in Ibiza at 12:35, check into room
Oct 4-Depart Ibiza at 10:15 am
Oct 4-Arrive in Madrid 11:35 am
Oct 5-Depart Madrid 11:35 am
Oct 5-Arrive in Chicago at 2p.m.

Posted by
2928 posts

8 of your 11 days will have you spending about half a day each on trains or planes and changing hotels. The last day is all travel. So you will have very little time at all to experience the places you're spending so much time and money getting to. Flying to Ibiza and Madrid for less than a day each? It's your trip, so you do you. But I wouldn't expect a lot of support for such an exhausting itinerary.

And Notre Dame will be closed for many years to come.

Posted by
22 posts

Ibiza and Spain are layovers from my Airline. :)
Sorry, but this is all the time and money i can afford on my trip.
I don't have a month or two to blow, i'm not a retired or rich person so, keep this in mind.
thanks

Posted by
45 posts

I think it's far too busy, but that's just my opinion. Why are you flying from England to Germany and back again? I think it would make more sense to stay in England and not back track.

Posted by
12490 posts

Hi and welcome to the forums, Jeffgate!

We promise to be gentle. :O).

I am confused about something, though? Regarding your itinerary, you'd said above that you'd "basically narrowed it down to just England, Munich and Paris" but you've got Ibiza and Madrid on there too. That is 4 countries, and travel on 8 of your total of 12 days. The only days you don't travel somewhere are 9/25 and 26, 9/29 and 10/1.

Very kindly but ouch.

That is a LOT of moving around. Subtracting 9/14 and 10/5 - as those involve travel ALL day - each one of the remaining 6 moves (including a loooong day trip to Manchester/Liverpool) will eat at least 1/2 day or more of your 10 FULL sightseeing days. In sightseeing hours, that's at least 3 days worth of time sitting on or otherwise dealing with re-locations. It's up to you do decide if that's the best use of your time and money?

We all travel differently and that's cool but issues that can present themselves with very tight itineraries like yours, with lots of relocation, is the risk of delayed or cancelled flights, strikes and other transport snags throwing a wrench in the machinery. That one full day you planned in city X could be the day the main museums are closed, it could rain the day planned for the beach, etc. There is also the time it can take to acclimate yourself to new, very large city with a different language than the one you just came from! Anyway, the more time you can give any one location, the more flexibility you have to work around the stuff that might not go according to plan.

What I'd do?
First off, I'd fly into Munich and out of Paris, if at all possible. Saves expensive backtracking time.
I'd skip the day trip unless you can add time to London. You are seriously shorting that one (we've spent a week without running out of things to do there). I'd also add time to Paris: lots to see in that one. To find that time? I'd skip Ibiza and Madrid as they don't make sense for very little time you can give them (EDITING TO ADD: you've since filled us in that those two are essentially layovers? I'd rework your air to gain more useable time elsewhere. Have you booked your air already?)

Sept 24-Arrive in Munich, settle in/possible full day travel
Sept 25-Enjoy Munich, Octoberfest
Sept 26-Munich castle/museum visit (technically there a couple palaces but no castles in Munich)
Sept 27- Fly to London/partial day
Sept 28-London
Sept 29- London
Sept 30- day trip from London
Oct 1 - Train to Paris/partial day
Oct 2-Paris
Oct 3- Paris
Oct 4- Paris
Oct 5-Fly out of Paris (all-day travel)

You could take a day from Paris and add it to Munich if wanting a bit more time there.

Posted by
12205 posts

I am going to take a more positive tone, because of the comments above are a bit off base.

This is how I understand your plan:

You explained why you are flying to Germany first, then back to London (to have the weekend there), then taking the train to Paris. And then your flight home (with an overnight layover in Ibiza) departs from London, so you are returning there from Paris, with one more night to spend. That is a good plan, as you do not want to travel by Eurostar from Paris to London on the day of your overseas flight. And any night in London is a good one, in my view.

Actually this plan has you spending less travel time between the places than if you put London first or last and took the train between Paris and Munich.

As for Doug’s comments, he has the timing to Manchester/Liverpool wrong. The train from London Euston station to Manchester Piccadilly is 2 hours 6 minutes. Travel between Manchester and Liverpool takes between 35 and 55 minutes. And Liverpool back to London is 2 hours 12 minutes. So this is actually doable as a day trip, if you take an early departure from London and return in early evening.

It appears you already have your flight tickets so I will not suggest any changes in the basic itinerary. What I will suggest is that you look for your Manchester and Liverpool tickets now to save money. If Advance tickets are still available on this route you will save quite a bit. Use the UK National Rail site to search.

Also get your Eurostar tickets ASAP. The prices start low and just go up from there. Note that your travel from London to Paris on Sept. 30 is a Monday, not a Sunday as your plan states.

And lodging will be tight in Munich during Oktoberfest, so best start looking immediately.

Posted by
22 posts

Doug,
Great constructive advice.
Man, if you think this is bad, you should have seen my first itinerary. lol
I guess, i just know what i want to see with each of these locations. And when i say "see", I mean, tour bus "see".
I don't plan on being at Octoberfest long and i've allowed an extra day to see a few things.
I think i'm being fair by myself a travel day for each and a day to look around as well. I dunno. I've did it in many cities
especially Chicago. Like i said, my wife wanted to be in London on a Saturday so, it messes everything up for us.
Normally, i would cut out Germany but, don't wan't to say i was there and didn't show up for Octoberfest. Kinda a bucket list
for anybody who's not from there at least

Posted by
141 posts

Some thoughts that you can consider or discard:

1) Have you already bought airline tickets? I ask just to see if there's an affordable option to fly directly into Munich. The flight leaves London at 5:30pm - but what time do you arrive in London? I know the conventional wisdom is that the first day in Europe is a "lost" day, but there's a big difference between "I'm jetlagged but here and can manage to walk around for a few hours" and "I'm jetlagged and stuck in an airport for five hours waiting for my flight." You lose an entire day getting to Munich. What time will you arrive there? I just did a quick search on cheaptickets just to see how long the average flight is, and on that day it looks like you'd leave London, have a layover in Dusseldorf, and not arrive at MUC until 10:30pm. If that's the case you aren't even leaving the AIRPORT until 11pm. You're not getting to a hotel in the city until close to midnight, much less a B&B outside the city, which might have less flexible check-in times. And you're gonna feel like, well, you know, in the morning.

2) Why are you going back to London after Paris, only to leave the next day? You mention that Ibiza and Madrid are layovers on your return flight? I'm just confused. So your ticket is London-Ibiza-Madrid-Chicago, with almost 24-hours in each layover city? Can I ask where you found this ticket? I have seen tickets that have, say 24 or so hours in one layover city, but not two. Again, if you haven't bought a ticket yet, you might want to reconsider this. Even if the ticket price itself is good, take into consideration the additional money you'll be spending on two nights in a hotel, not to mention the stress of moving like that at the end of a trip. Did you want to include Madrid? You mention only London, Paris and Munich, so I was surprised to see it here. If you do, a direct flight from Paris would make more sense. If not, then look to spend more time in London and fly home to Chicago from Paris?

Actually, I just did a quick search on cheaptickets and here: https://www.cheaptickets.com/Flight-Information?continuationId=c51d5a2d-c464-42cd-809f-8d26e4827670&rfrr=&superlativeMessages[0]=CP&superlativeMessages[1]=CP&udpDisplayMode=regular
Leave ORD on 9/23 at 5:50pm, Arrive MUC 9:30am 9/24
Leave CDG at 1pm on 10/5, transfer in Montreal, Arrive ORD 7pm. Total price for two adult tickets is $1138.

9/24-9/27 Munich (Three nights, two full non-jetlagged days)
9/27 Fly to London
London 9/27-10/1 London and Daytrips (Four nights, three full days)
10/1 Eurotrain to Paris
10/1-10/4 Paris (Four nights, three full days)
10/5 Fly home.

EDIT: In the time it took me to write all this, I see Kathy has offered up the exact same itinerary suggestions. Great minds and all that?

Posted by
22 posts

Kathy, like i stated, Madrid and Ibiza are layover stays. I was given that. Nice gift, right?
These tickets were purchased last winter and i will not be changing them.

Posted by
141 posts

Not to be rude - I'm just fascinated by these layovers. Can I ask where you found these tickets? The airline? Not to pry, so please don't feel like you have to answer this, but how much were they? Did you consider shopping around a bit more?

Posted by
4748 posts

Sorry. Ten days on the ground is the perfect length of time to see London and Paris.

I would be nervous about arriving in the UK at 5.30 pm, getting off the plane, transferring to another flight, heading to Munich (you lose an hour), getting out of the airport then getting to a B&B out of town. Flights later in the day are far more likely to be delayed than those earlier in the day. I presume you are transferring at London Heathrow? At that time of night, you aren’t going to have many onward flight options and you will be out of Munich airport around midnight. Not many B & B owners will be prepared to wait up for your 1am arrival. That’s going to wipe you out for several days with jet lag. Attending Oktoberfest isn’t something to do when tired and jet lagged.

If you limited your trip to London and Paris, you would get the weekend in London. (Why the weekend?). Liverpool is a very long day trip from London - 5 + hours on the train for the return trip plus time to get to and from the station, so around 7 hours for the trip door to door.

Fly back open jaw from Paris.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks Lola,
I needed some positive feedback. Thanks for correcting me on my Paris day too.
We are only going up to Liverpool and Manchester to complete our other bucket list item, a Beatles and Smiths tour.
Hopefully, we can get that done in a day.
I was planning to get a quiet B&B far outside of Octoberfest to avoid the crowds.
Hopefully i'll have my eurostar tix by Monday.

Posted by
12490 posts

I was given that. Nice gift, right? These tickets were purchased last
winter and i will not be changing them.

Ah, I see. Yep, never look a gift horse in the mouth, eh? And I sure hope you didn't take my comments as a load of negativity as they sure weren't meant to be. Concern that our RS folks can maximize their fun/$$$ whenever possible is a good thing so just a few suggestions for maybe doing that. :O)

Just one more comment though? If a Paris museum on your must-see list is the Louvre, you'll want to put the giddiyup on pre-ordering timed-entry tickets (must choose a specific day and time). It's really almost the only way to get inside lately! You'll want pre-ordered tickets for the Eiffel as well if wanting to go to the top.

Posted by
231 posts

jeffgate,

It's a whirlwind trip, but I think the way you listed things makes it look even more complex than it is. It looks like you're not really arriving in England on the 24th, you're arriving in Munich with a layover/change of planes in England. So basically on the 24th you're flying to Germany.

Since you don't list any sights in Munich for the 27th, can I assume you have an early flight to London? If so, you might want to visit a museum or take that double-decker bus tour that day. I'll also assume Manchester/Liverpool is a bucket list item. If I had just 3 days in England I'd spend them all in London, but that's me. Looks like you could also plan on doing something in London on the afternoon of October 2 when you return from Paris.

If you have a morning train to Paris you can definitely see something that afternoon. My family took a similar quick trip to Paris in the middle of our 3 week vacation to England. We had an afternoon train but arrived in time to take a boat up the Seine to the Eiffel Tower and have dinner in that area before climbing the Tower. Not sure how that would work now since we didn't need reservations for the Tower back in 2004. On our full day in Paris we climbed the tower at Notre Dame (sadly not an option on your trip), briefly toured Sainte Chapelle, VERY brief visit to the Louvre, then Napoleon's Tomb (on the bucket list of my history loving son) and to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Would I do that again now? No, but I'm glad we did it with our boys at the time.

I am a bit confused about you saying you're taking the train to Paris on a Sunday. If this trip is in 2019, then September 30th is a Monday (which makes sense with you talking about touring Paris on a Tuesday). Also, how are you counting those 10 days of vacation? Are you eliminating September 24 (a long travel day) and October 5 (another long travel day) or are you considering your vacation over once you leave London since the rest is just "layovers"? I'm seeing 12 days traveling/in Europe. Of those 12 you have 2 full days in Munich, 2 full days in England, 1 full day in Paris, and 3 possible half-days (2 London, 1 Paris). So not a relaxing trip, but if you're going for brisk, not totally insane either.

Jeff, have you thought that the reason you’re mostly getting negative thoughts is that it looks like a crazy itinerary?

If you’re happy with it, and it sounds like you’re determined to push ahead and have prebooked much of it, then go ahead and do it.

But when you ask seasoned travellers for their opinions, that’s what you get.

Posted by
22 posts

I will be arriving in London on the 24th at 5:30.
Maybe i should make my first stop Paris instead of Munich??
Just didn't want to be dealing with rush hour traffic and rely on flying into London on that final day
due to possible delays or even cancellations.

Posted by
22 posts

The negativity i was getting was childish. Name calling and such...
i don't put too much stock into trolls that offer only problems and no solutions.

Actually, the more "sorry.." comments i get, puts a chip on my shoulder a bit and
will challenge me more to do it anyway so..

Like i said, i have spoken to folks who've done more in a shorter period of time and they LOVED they're visits.
You can't expect to see everything in a city, no matter how much time you have so why stress yourself out over it.

FYI, i was thrilled to see my extra freebee stops of Madrid and Ibiza on my plan because,
well, i didn't ask for it and for $250 bucks, round trip..yeah, i'm not complaining ;)

Posted by
22 posts

Leslie,
Thanks for helping me out there. Yes, i made it way too complicated writing that out. I just didn't count my layover days, seeing they really are not part of my plan. You're right, basically flying into Germany. Hopefully, not too late. and yes, my sunday to paris is actually a monday. Hopefully i can do what you did, knock out the tower on that day and maybe just drive by the ruins of notre dame.

Posted by
22 posts

Emma,
Hoping to find a bus tour of both. That should save me time. should..
(edit-sorry, misread your comment)

You really think i won't be able to do 2 bus tours in a day? maybe
i should consider lodging up there.

Posted by
22 posts

Well, England is the priority in this trip.
Maybe i will have to take out Munich or Paris

Posted by
4873 posts

WAY too much travel for very short periods.

Consider eliminating some destinations.
First on my list would be a day trip from London to Manchester and Liverpool. I love England and have been to Liverpool, but would not place either Manchester or Liverpool in my top list of places to recommend to visit in Britain.

I would skip the Ibiza visit and spend more time in either Paris or Madrid.
Actually what I would suggest is not trying to do London, Munich, Paris and Madrid in 10 days. Pick two..

Posted by
22 posts

Manchester and Liverpool are top priorities. No way around it. It's what the wife wants so that isn't changing.
It may just very well end up being a England/Paris only visit that is..until somebody tells me
that i'm rushing even that....jeesh

Posted by
22 posts

Yea, it's looking more and more like London/Manchester/Liverpool/Paris
Are there any of those cute little b&b towns anywhere over there? Or is it all urban and contemporary..

Posted by
22 posts

My original plan had me flying to Munich from Manchester. If i ditch the "england weekend" priority, maybe i could swing that

Posted by
22 posts

Well than, i'm guessing that's a "No"
Chester is nice, may look into that. thanks

If it were me, i would ditch Paris and head to Germany but..
I would be overruled on that decision

Posted by
22 posts

I really am considering cutting out Germany.
If i keep with England and Paris it would simplify things BUT
I will still find myself doing "back and forths" mainly because of the tours
and wanting to be in London on Saturday.
Although, now i'm concerned that the Smiths tour will not be available
on the day we're there, i really can't find any info on it. If we're unable to make that, it
will change everything.
If we can, here's a proposed schedule i've chosen for the moment:

Fly into London at 5:30p.m., train to Manchester
2 Nights in Manchester (trip to Liverpool on 1 day)
2 Nights in London
2 Nights in Paris
back for last night in London.

The only difference i see is most of my travel will be on the train for short distances
which should make it a bit less stressful.

Posted by
89 posts

Hello! Wow, I haven’t ever heard of a Smiths tour, but if we get back there someday I will see if they still have it. We did the Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool which was fun. If you take it and if you are at the Albert Dock be sure to get a Puffle Waffle treat there at the Puffle Waffle business. I like your latest plan to do England and Paris. We were in Paris for 8 days last year and we still have lots of things left to do that we didn’t have time for in all those days there. And we aren’t even museum people. But anyway, I like your latest plan, though do what works for you. The folks on this forum are way more experienced with Europe travel than I am and they were great helping me plan our two trips there. That being said, if you would rather do a whirlwind adventure then go for it. No matter what you decide, have an awesome trip. And eat croissants in Paris. And crepes.

Posted by
12490 posts

Fly into London at 5:30p.m., train to Manchester 2 Nights in
Manchester (trip to Liverpool on 1 day) 2 Nights in London 2 Nights in
Paris

Sorry but that would be my personal Itinerary From Hell. While I haven't been to Manchester/Liverpool, I have been to London (twice) and Paris and personally wouldn't bother with either for only one day apiece. Because of the difference in language and currency, I'd skip Paris and spend all your time in England.

Posted by
22 posts

That's exactly my plan at the moment.
I feel the same bout Paris but, for the wife, it's a must.
I would be more excited to get out of that area and check out
a nice b&b in wine country or something of that nature, any suggestions there?

Posted by
12490 posts

Jeff, I don't think you're getting how VERY little time you have for things like getting out of an arrival city for a "nice b&b in wine country" and then to have to turn around and go back again for departure? You just don't have that sort of time with only one full day in Paris and London. I don't know what we have to do to impress upon you what sort of time travel from A to B can take? You just have too many "musts" for the time you're willing to give them!!! Something has to go!

Posted by
22 posts

I can see myself taking a direct route outside of Paris on my travel day.
I think most here know TOO MUCH about a city and that probably drives them nuts to see a first timer
come in blindly but, it is what it is. Can't expect to do everything on my first visit and i'm ok with that.

Posted by
12490 posts

I think most here know TOO MUCH about a city and that probably drives
them nuts to see a first timer come in blindly but, it is what it is

LOL. So why even ask the questions if you think we know "too much" (whatever that means) to be of any use? Just go with whatever plan you think you want and, as you say, it is what it is. Let us know how that works for you when you get back?

Have good trip!

Posted by
231 posts

jeffgate,

Since you turned your 3 nights in Munich into 3 nights in Manchester (with day trip to Liverpool), couldn't you still spend 3 nights in London (without the Manchester/Liverpool day trip)? (I'm seeing the nights of the 27th, 28th, and 29th in your original plan.) That would give you 2 full days in London before heading to Paris.

Posted by
22 posts

I'm planning on heading back to London right after the Beatles tour so hopefully I can get some extra time in London. The tours are a priority for my wife and I.

Posted by
11262 posts

If seeing Beatles and Smiths sights is a priority, that's fine. But it means something else has to give.

It will take a day to see Beatles sights in Liverpool. You'll want to take the National Trust tour of John's and Paul's childhood homes. Other tours go past them, but this tour is the only way to get inside. It only runs a few times a day, and pre-booking is a must as there are only about 12 people per tour. Details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatles-childhood-homes

The Beatles Story Museum is also very worthwhile. Its main focus is on their early years, so unless you've studied these extensively, you're bound to learn something.

Many also take either the Magical Mystery Tour (a bus tour passing by the Beatles related sights) or a private taxi tour of these sights. The advantage of a taxi tour is that you can customize it; if you're going to John's and Paul's homes on the National Trust tour, you can have your taxi driver skip them.

I don't know if there are any organized tours of Smiths sights in Manchester, and I don't know how dispersed they are or how long they take to see.

From London to either Liverpool or Manchester, trains take less than 2.5 hours. but if you want these trains to be affordable, they have to be pre-booked as Advance fares. These tickets (with a capital A, not just any tickets bought in advance) are not refundable or changeable; you must take the exact train on your ticket. In exchange for these restrictions, you can save a fortune. They become available about 11 weeks out.

To find train schedules and buy tickets, use National Rail: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Why does your wife insist on being on London on a Saturday? If we know that, we can give better advice. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what can only be done on a Saturday in London.

Posted by
22 posts

Yea, it's not looking good for the Smiths tour, i don't see anything for that. Wife will be NOT
happy for sure. She'll hire a private tour if she has to. I'm a huge fan of the Beatles but not a
die hard where i need to see where Paul's toilet he used from when he was 3. lol
So if you have to know, we are big fans of classic alternative/new wave so, we can't leave London
without visiting a club so we'll be going to this new wave night called "electric dreams"
Yea, seems like alot to push away but, it's something we both would love to go to.
It wasn't a major priority but being we are down to 2 countries now, might as well make the most of it.
She is NOT a Beatles fan so, that may just be a short visit in Liverpool anyway unfortunately.
I really hate buying advanced anything, i'm more of a shoot from the hip kind of guy.

Posted by
22 posts

Oh man, Rick Steves makes it look so easy walking up and buying tickets in his episodes. I guess if you have
the cash, it's convenient. I'll definitely look into getting tickets ahead of time but, not sure i'll be that fine tuned
to be able to know exactly what time and what days i'll be on the train so..that may be an issue.
Thanks for the taxi tour link, that's awesome. My wife just recently learned that the Salford lads club is only
open on Saturdays so again, that will change things. May just spend the first night in Liverpool, then head back to
London, check into a motel and head back up to Manchester for a day trip from London on Saturday, come back and
enjoy the night club that night.
Thanks for the heads up and the link :)

Posted by
22 posts

Ok, found out that the Saturday in Manchester is not a priority so, this helps.
I'm thinking of connecting to a train on the 24th that will take me straight to maybe a Holiday Inn in Manchester
and spend a few days there. Day trip to LIverpool from there the next day and Smiths tour the next, head back
to London the same night and settle in there till the 29th and then head to Paris for the rest of my tour.
Are the trains going from Manchester to Liverpool the same kind of trains that need to be purchased way ahead of time?
If i could pull off a Smiths and Beatles tour on the same day, that would be great but, no need to rush it.

Posted by
1790 posts

London and Paris would be a really good first trip to Europe.