My husband and I are planning an extensive trip throughout Europe beginning in December. We're looking for suggestions on itinerary planning and finding apartments or inexpensive housing throughout the year. If you've done a trip like this we would appreciate any advice you can give.
I thought I responded to your request, but now I see I must be mistaken. I suggested looking at "Best Destinations" under "Plan Your Trip" above, at this RS web site.
You are certainly right to plan! Old Chinese saying:- Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail.
Have a great trip!... P.
In 2005, we spent 51/2 months in Europe. We stayed in hostels, B &Bs, apartments and sometimes, in hotels. We generally cooked our own meals, used trains and buses to get around, spent several days to a few weeks in each place-- and had a FANTASTIC time.
Use the internet to find lodging. VRBO and Venere are great. Other sites are country -specific. One of the best places was Dom Wycasowa in Zakopane,Poland.The King Hostel in Krakow was terrif. Bob and Jenny's B & B in Vicenza, Italy, was sweeeeeeet.Our apartments in Budapwest were top=notch, obtained thru inhungary.com
Where you go depends on many factors. You might wish to stay in warmer locales during winter- that means southern Spain, Sicily and Greece.
Be sure to travel leisurely and allow time to just rest and enjoy. The greatest mistake is to try to do too much.
Thanks for all your information. I'll check out the websites you suggested. We are also planning to cook many meals. How did you plan your itinerary? Did you just book your first stay? How did you decide how long to stay in one location?
Regarding the planning of an itinerary and how long to stay in a place, here's my method. I read guidebooks at home, well in advance. As I read, I make notes about what things I want to see AND what sites and/or other cities can be done as a day-trip from our home base. I figure on 2, maybe 3 museums, palaces, and/or castles per day, if they are within the city we are staying in. As to what to see, that depends upon your tastes. My wife and I were fascinated with the Coliseum in Rome. An Italian man we met in Turkey called it "stones, stones, and more stones". Modern art makes my head hurt, whereas other people love it. Because most sites are closed at least one day a week AND have different hours on different days, I've learned to make a spreadsheet with this info, so we can easily determine what to see on what days. As previously mentioned, plan a few "down" days, to relax, do laundry, and recharge your batteries.
Continued... I would suggest booking your first hotel/apartment ahead of time, at least. You'll be jet-lagged and won't want to spend a lot of time hunting down a place. Our style is to book all of our rooms from home, thereby saving valuable travel time for sight-seeing. Other people like the freedom of making plans as they go. Again, personal preference.
I noticed that you said "throughout the year". Depending upon how long you plan to stay in Europe, you could run into visa issues. There have been quite a few postings here on the Helpline about how long one can stay in various countries in Europe. Do a search for "visa" and "Schengen" on this site for more info.
December should be easy. You will save money by not booking ahead. It's good to book your first night ahead just so you don't have to worry about it when you land.
After that, call ahead each morning to where you plan to be that night. Tell them what you want, for how many nights and ask the price. Be sure to say a seperate bath is okay or they will assume, as an American, you expect en suite.
Tourist areas are slower and virtually everyone will have empty rooms. Big hotels in cities cater to business travelers and will be booked. Smaller hotels, B&B's and pensions rely on tourists so look for those. Certain places get Christmas crowds so consider that as you travel.
Thank you all for your information. We are planning to begin in Portugal and then we are looking for a trip through Morocco. We've been to all the big cities in Europe but have never been to Spain and Portugal. After Mocrocco we plan to spend at least in month in Spain. We're in excellent health and can hike and do anything. We don't enjoy bicycling. We do enjoy art, music and anything cultural. We're hoping that it won't be crowded during December and January. We'll wear thermals and try to keep warm! We do have a generorus budget and are planning to return home next November before Thanksgiving.