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Finally Ditching 2020 Plans. Help us make 2021 Even Better!

Well, we’re officially (finally) calling off the 2020 Europe trip. I know the writing has been on the wall for some time, but I’m sure others can relate to how painful this decision has been. We are determined to do a trip before our oldest leaves for college, so now it’s summer 2021 or bust!
Along with this setback comes an opportunity to improve for 2021 the less-than-stellar aspects of the 2020 plan. I would very much appreciate feedback on high level plans. Which places should we visit in which order? Which mode of transport makes the most sense? Here’s the abandoned plan:
Fly USA to London
Fly London to Rome
Train Rome to Berner Oberland
Train to German border, rent car in Germany
Ludwig castles, Reutte
Return rental car in Munich
Public transport for Munich and day trips
Fly Munich to USA
Again, these are the things that we’d like to do, but are now free to re-think the order. As you can see, the travel from Rome to Switzerland and Switzerland to Germany is the messy (and expensive) piece. We are a family of 5 – Dad, Mom, boys (18, 16, 14).

Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by
3409 posts

Prior to Covid 19 American had a direct flight to Rome from Charlotte- at least for part of the year. I'd keep watching schedules and try to get that direct flight if possible.

Posted by
6650 posts

How much time does the trip have? How long do you plan to be at your major destinations?

Posted by
2600 posts

Is the reason for the flight to London that you are staying In London for a few days before flying on to Rome? It would be helpful if you mentioned the number of days you'll be in each place. Where are you staying in Switzerland ?

Posted by
10 posts

Sorry. I was only listing travel/logistics details but should have given more information. Our full itinerary for the aborted 2020 trip:
5/29 Fly USA to LHR
5/30-31 Tour London
6/1 Harry Potter Studio Tour
6/2 Tour Oxford
6/3 Blenheim Palace
6/4 Fly LGW to FCO (early flight, 1/2 day Rome)
6/5 Tour Rome
6/6 Train to Murren, Switzerland
6/7-8 Tour the Berner Oberland
6/9 Train into Germany, then getting a rental car and driving to Reutte, luges
6/10 Ludwig Castles, Ehrenberg castle ruins
6/11 Travel to Munich area, Tour Dachau, stay outside Munich (return car)
6/12 Day trip to Nuremburg
6/13 Tour Munich
6/14 Fly MUC back to USA

Thanks again!

Posted by
996 posts

First of all, I think your destinations all look fantastic! My only suggestion - and this is based on how I have to come to enjoy travel & in no way is meant to be a criticism of your plans - would be to consider a little longer in some key locations. There's a lot of get up and go in this plan, and I find that I enjoy myself more if I spend a little longer in each place in order to absorb what I'm seeing and eating and experiencing. Again, this is just a me thing. We all have different travel styles. You do what works best for you!!

And I'm very jealous of the plans to see the Harry Potter studio. I haven't made it there yet, and I'm sure it'll be fabulous. Will you be seeing some London filming locations from the films on your tour London day?

Posted by
9463 posts

Rome is such an outlier in this plan. I would rethink spending only 1.5 days there in any itinerary much less one that has you going so far out of your way at considerable expense. Instead, you can take the EuroStar to Paris and change to a train to Switzerland and add that precious day to your Berner Oberland itinerary. No one who goes there wishes they had less time, believe me! You could also fly from London to Zurich but I think the train trip would be a great experience and far more relaxing.

Posted by
1116 posts

Been a while since I’ve had the chance to say it, but that’s a lot of moving around with very little wiggle room for whatever could go wrong. You know your family better than I, but you’ll only move as fast as the slowest traveler and with 3 teens I could see a mutiny halfway through. I’d give thought to cutting back and adding some slow days where the teens can sleep in, FaceTime with friends back home, and just be teens.

Posted by
377 posts

I would delete either Rome or Switzerland. Enjoy where you are for at least 3 nights, especially fir big cities.

Posted by
871 posts

Rome needs to go. That’s a long way to go for such a short time. (And our family are “fast” travelers.) Add the time to Murren; you won’t regret it. My kids loved Murren. Like crazy loved it.

Posted by
5285 posts

Richard, you are underestimating how much time an energy it takes to get from one place to the other. So you're spending too much of your vacation time in train stations and airports. I agree you need to cut at least one country out of this itinerary. I'd vote for cutting either Rome (you really only have one useful day there to see anything) or Germany.

Posted by
1593 posts

this is going to sound cruel, but....

Dump Rome. Sorry but 1.5 days isn't going to give you time to do anything. It's a large city and with 1..5 days you aren't even going to scratch the surface. Plus you are wasting basically 2 days getting too and from Rome.

So then I would extend Switzerland a few days.

Alternatively dump Switzerland and extend Rome

Posted by
20787 posts

I would agree with several of the above comments. It is not an trip that makes good usage of transportation. Get an European map or Steves' planning map and put some pins in it to see where you are going. Second while it is smart to use an open jaw ticket it is even smarter to try to keep you travel in a straight line to keep transportation simpler. With a flight from London, you do not have a half day in Rome -- maybe an evening but no more.

This is the type of schedule that we see often and may of us just shake our heads at as very too much for the time available. If I wasn't locked down, I probably would not have responded. Personally I would scrap half of it, land in London and work my way through France to Germany and call it a terrific trip.