Trip Planning

Starting on August 15, 2014 my wife and I are planing to travel from New York City to the following cities for vacation: Amsterdam, Paris , Prague and Finish our trip in Florence where we have family. We are thinking of expending the following time at each city: Amsterdam 2 full days, Paris 3 days, Prague 1 full day and Florence 3 or 4 days to end our vacation and come back home from Pisa or some other Airport near Florence.
Question: Can somebody please tell me how should we set our itinerary or what sequence should we follow to end in Florence? Can you also let us know how should we travel between the various cities without wasting a lot of time and in the most economic way?
Thank you

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2870 posts

Hi Jerry. It seems like a lot of places for 10 days. Or do you have more? When you say "full days" are those the days between nights you sleep in a city? The order of your travel makes sense to me: Amsterdam-Paris-Prague-Florence, but it depends on your preferences and available flights for in and out of Europe. Definitely go in to one of your destinations and out of the final one.

I like to look at my trips in terms of nights, then I can better see how many full days I have to enjoy a place. So your trip might look like this:
Aug 15 - depart NY
Aug 16 - arrive Amsterdam, settle in, try to stay awake and go to bed on local time. Take an overview walk, have dinner.
Aug 17 - Amsterdam, full day
Aug 18 - Amsterdam, full day
Aug 19 - Travel to Paris (by train? fly?); 1/2 day Paris
Aug 20 - Paris, full day
Aug 21 - Paris, full day
Aug 22 - Fly to Prague
Aug 23 - Prague, full day
Aug 24 - Fly to Florence
Aug 25 - Florence, full day
Aug 26 - Florence, full day
Aug 27 - Florence, full day
Aug 28 - Fly home
Does that look like what you have in mind?

Only you can determine if Prague for a day is worth the time and money to get there. Flying is really the only choice. You can take Easy Jet Paris to Prague for less than $100 per person. They do not fly to Florence so you'd have to fly to Rome then train or fly to Florence. Ryan Air might be an option but their website is not working right now. You might want to play around with the low coast European carriers for options and days depending on your actual itinerary and where you arrive and depart Europe.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
4804 posts

Sounds like a logical order. The tricky thing will be Prague, as mentioned - flying is the best option.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1171 posts

Paris is not a good city for low-cost flights, Amsterdam is better for that, so you may want to switch the order on those two.

Florence has a good airport too just minutes from the center. It is small, but I flew home last December using Florence airport as my departure point, connecting once enroute.

It might be worth your while to also price the itinerary in reverse, landing in Florence first. The advantage to that would be being with family the first couple of days of adjusting.

If these 4 cities are definite in your plans, then I would allocate the nights, as detailed above.
Truly, your plan is only achievable by flying to/from Prague.

Posted by Adam
Boston
2923 posts

I agree you can do this but I'll bet you'd have a better trip with fewer stops.

Skip Prague or Amsterdam on this one.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4214 posts

I love Prague, but on such a short trip, I don't think it's worth the time and money just to see it for a day. If you cannot extend your trip, cut one destination; that way, you'll actually enjoy the ones you do see.

For flights to Europe, use http://www.kayak.com, and choose the "multi city" option, then start playing around to see the possibilities. For New York, be sure to use NYC to get "New York - all airports." And for Florence, be sure to check "include nearby airports"; if this doesn't get Pisa and Bologna, be sure to do a separate search for these.

For trains schedules, use the Bahn website, following Rick's advice here: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. Be aware that trains between Amsterdam and Paris are on the Thalys, which uses "airline pricing." Tickets start out affordable, but become MUCH more expensive closer to travel, and/or if you need exchangeable or refundable tickets. So, as soon as you know your travel dates, you'll want to buy on http://www.thalys.com

For flights within Europe (and I agree that some of your segments are too far by train with your limited time), use http://www.skyscanner.com. For what you need to know about flying within Europe, here's Rick's summary: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/budget-flights

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6540 posts

I would not go so far out of your way to visit Prague unless you can spend three days there. I would simply cut it from this plan and add a day to Paris, or else another stop in Italy.
If you do go, then fly both to and from Prague; see www.skyscanner.com.

Thalys train is fastest between Amsterdam and Paris (may be available for discounted booking now or three months ahead of your travel date). The same goes for daytime or overnight trains between Paris and Italy, but flights can be both cheaper and faster.

Train tickets from Florence to Pisa are cheap to buy there, no reservation necessary. See also links for train schedules, prices, and buying tips at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains.