My husband and I are starting to research a trip for the autumn of 2024. We’ll be flying from Chicago and will have approximately 10-12 days. Ideally, we’d like to use public transportation to get around. We’re thinking we’d first fly to Slovenia and explore there for a few days. Then take a train or bus to Germany, ultimately getting to Munich for either the first or second Monday of Oktoberfest. And perhaps stop at a smaller town along the way for a day or two in Austria or Bavaria before getting to Munich. And departing from Munich, back to Chicago. The one-way fares between Chicago and Ljubljana, and Munich and Chicago seem super high. And I don’t see any non-stop options to Ljubljana. We’d appreciate any advice on this itinerary, or ways to save time and money with this itinerary. From a travel perspective we’re pretty adventurous. Budget-wise, we appreciate value but realize travel costs a lot. I wasn’t sure whether to submit this to the Germany or the Slovenia forum. Thank you!
AB, you mention one-way fares. Have you searched for your flights using the "mulit-city" option? It's also called open-jaw. Where you fly into one city and out of a different city. If you haven't tried this option, please do. You should find that a multi-city itinerary is cheaper than two one-way fares.
You can only book 330 days out, which means you must be looking at prices for next summer, prime time. You say an Autumn trip, so you will need to wait a couple months before you can see real prices.
Ljubljana isn’t high on the list for airfare deals, but it is so worth the effort! You might consider flying into Venice, and hiring a shuttle service to get to Ljubljana. There’s one called GoOpti that has been discussed on this forum.
I recommend a stop in Salzburg. I much prefer it to Munich.
Definitely look at multi city flights, not two one-way flights.
You can go to Munich by train from Ljubljana.
There is a night train around 10pm from Ljubljana arrving Munich around 6am
Check bahn.de website for details.
Doing stopovers there are trains during the day with change at Villach Austria then via Bad Gastein Salzburg Prien am Chiemsee to Munich
are nice places to stay for a night or two
Did the train journey from Slovenia years ago , stayed at all these places and enjoyed it very much
As mentioned, Ljubljana has a tiny airport with not transatlantic flights. If you want non-stop options I'd suggest booking Chicago-Vienna (with Austrian airlines) and then Munich-Chicago (with Lufthansa), you should be able to book that as an open jaw ticket since Austrian is part of the Lufthansa group.
If you rearrange the trip a bit and add some time in Vienna, Ljubljana is then an easy train ride away.
I flew into Ljubljana airport on a connection through Amsterdam (single ticket purchased from Delta for an itinerary from my hometown to Ljubljana). I was on Delta flights to Atlanta and to Amsterdam, a KLM flight to Ljubljana. I was on Transavia on the return flight to Amsterdam. It wasn't a crazy premium to fly into Ljubljana, and for me, an airport transfer is less hassle than trying to arrange ground transportation after arrival at a hub.
Definitely use multi-city to search airfares... that will make the cost significantly less than two one-way tickets.
I would think about Ljubljana -- Salzburg (with day trip to Berchtesgaden) -- Munich as an itinerary. Or if you want to get off the well-beaten US traveller path, think about Klagenfurt/Wörthersee as in an intermediate stop.
Thank you, thank you! Each of these posts contains great info that I will use. I never thought about using Vienna or Venice as a connecting city. And I never knew about the 330-day situation. I know I said we would use public transportation but we're also okay with renting a car (as long as we're not in the UK). Do you think it's practical to rent a car if we'll be traveling through 3 or 4 countries (Germany, Austria, Slovenia and possibly Italy), or is the process of crossing borders not worth the flexibility of having a car? Appreciate all the help here!
Do you think it's practical to rent a car if we'll be traveling
through 3 or 4 countries (Germany, Austria, Slovenia and possibly
Italy), or is the process of crossing borders not worth the
flexibility of having a car?
All of the countries listed are part of the Schengen area. Crossing a border between countries in the Schengen Area is like crossing a border between states in the US -- you just drive across without stopping. If you pick up the car in one country and drop it off in another country, there usually is a rather substantial charge. I personally would stick with public transportation (the trains in Europe are great, and cars can be a real pain in European cities) unless you are going to a location that requires a car to get there.