This is a VERY open-ended question, but DH and I are in the very early stages of brainstorming for a trip next year. This will likely be our last "big" trip before starting a family, so we want to make it count! Because I want to use our frequent flyer miles, the target dates would be late October- early November 2014, for ~10 days - two weeks. We've previously been to Czech Republic and Croatia, which we loved, and DH has been to Rome and London (but says he would go back to either). We like a mix of cultural and outdoor activities, scenery, and good food/drink. These options are our first cut: 1) The UK- we'd probably spend a couple days in London and then head out to the countryside, maybe hike through Scotland or the Lake District. My concern is that the weather might be too drab this time of year? We could protentially go in September instead if we could find a good deal. 2) Italy. Probably my top choice but there is a small chance of a family trip there several years form now. Although frankly I doubt it will happen! Would likely do a mix of Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre. The food and wine alone draw me here! 3) France- although DH is less enthusiastic about this for some reason. 4) Turkey- I don't know much about it but this is one of DH's "more adventurous" ideas (his other is Morocco but it doesn't hold much interest for me.....). Our firends did their honeymoon there and loved it. 5) Spain/Portugal- potentially a cheaper alternative to Italy or France Any thoughts or other places we should be considering? What have others done for their "last hurrah" trip? We want to travel when we have kids too, but won't be able to as often because of the expense. And there are some places that obviously are easier to do without kids in tow.
Hi, Laura! I sympathize because my wife and I just had a baby girl and we realize it's going to be awhile before we're traveling again. But at least I can keep planning trips to entertain myself during late nite bottle feedings. 1) I'd be concerned with the early darkness in the UK as much as the weather. Your site seeing time will be cut very short in the north. 2) Italy does seem like a good match. For me, it was a life changing experience. Loved it, and we were there late September to mid October. At that point the weather was very comfortable. 10 days/2 weeks just scratches the surface, so even if you go again in the future there will be new things to see. 3 and 5) For the life of me, I'm trying to remember what time of year I went to France and Spain. Certainly not November so I won't chime in. 4) Never been to Turkey but it's been high on the wish list. My in-laws just returned and loved it. Rick Steves used to have a city tour and a village tour (both 1 week) that I wanted to use as a template to make my own 2-week itinerary. I see now he has 2-week trips that might be a good guide. Alternatively, my friends did 2 weeks traveling between Greece and Turkey in a small (3 couples) tour boat. It also seems easier to do before kiddies. These choices are nice problems to have!
Since it's late in the fall, with shorter days (and earlier sunsets after DST ends), I'd head south, thus easily eliminating the UK and France. Italy is always, always great, but that late in the year cross out the CT, pencil in the Amalfi Coast instead - or romantic Venice. Turkey. I'll be there from Oct 20 - Nov 7, so ask me after I get back. Spain and Portugal don't mix. They look like they do on the map, but when you start planning, you find that getting from one to the other eats up time and energy without adding anything. You could easily spend 2 weeks in Spain alone and just scratch the surface. Train service is excellent, very easy to get around. I spent 3 weeks in Andalusia in February and loved it. Of the 3, my gut says Italy is the most expensive, I've no idea if there's much difference between the other two. Spain has excellent food and wine. All 3 should have mild weather and lots of sunshine.
One other thought.......you have enough time to do a decent tour of Spain alone, and perhaps tack on a day or two in Morocco to satisfy your husband's idea. I enjoyed the south of Spain (Seville, Granada) much more than Madrid or Barcelona, but that's just me.
You best best for good weather in October-November is Andalucia and Portugal. Big cities are good. You can always duck into a museum if the weather is bad. But I think the Lake District and Italian countryside would be too cold at that time of the year. Istanbul is a great city, but part of its appeal is cruising the Bosphorus and enjoying the outdoors. I would go there in September.