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Itinerary help- is this doable or am I dreaming?

Hi all.. We are planning perhaps an 18-day trip within a year or two. I'm not sure if this is doable within our time frame, or if I need to do some editing. I would like to start in Amsterdam, spend a few days there, then take the train to Germany. I would love to see: the cathedral in Aachen, and perhaps the cathedral in Cologne. Just a couple of hours each, nothing too long. Next, a short one or two hour Rhine cruise, and stopping to see a town or two along the way. Next up... Rothenburg, then southbound for a bit. I would love to see the castles, the Weiskirche, Oberammergau, then a train to Vienna for a few days. then from Vienna, a train to Prague, hopefully sneaking in a day at Cesky Krumlov before flying home.

I am assuming a rail pass would be the way to go here? Doesn't a rail pass include the Rhine cruise day? I thought I read that somewhere. We are extremely flexible on dates, and cities to fly into/out of. I guess just as long as we get to see the above mentioned sights, i don't care about the order in which we see them.

What can I reasonably expect to pay, for two people? Airfare, train tickets, hotels, food, admissions to attractions, and all the other incidentals.... I am sure I am forgetting something.

Any and all suggestions gratefully received! I'm not sure if I am trying to cram too much into too little time, or if this is a decently paced itinerary.

I am eagerly awaiting any and all replies!

Thanks so much........

Posted by
4954 posts

When I start to plan a trip like this, I write down the list of cities/places I want to see in the order I might see them. Guess at how many days I might spend in each place.

Then go to Google maps and type them all in (get driving directions between all of them is easiest to see them all at once). That will make it clear what order I ought to visit them - re-arrange as necessary.

Then, if I'm going to train, plot out the approximate train times (use www.bahn.de/en ) to make sure the travel time between each is reasonable. I might add days to break up train trips that are too long or drop other places that just don't quite make sense.

By then I'll have a rough, probably workable itinerary, with a certain amount of nights. I can guestimate x dollars per night (depending on my type of lodging preference - hostel? 5-star hotel? Your travel style may different from mine.) I can find the cost of a rail pass on the Bahn.de website too.

For airfare - see what it costs say in September of this year to fly from your nearest city into Amsterdam and out of Prague as an open jaw.

That should give you a base estimate of the cost.

Posted by
16941 posts

You'll need to do your own homework. But these days, a rail pass is almost never the most economical way to go. You end up paying a stiff premium to travel "when ever and where ever" you want. Advance purchase nonrefundable tickets for long distance trains and local transport network passes for moving in the area.
I think $400/day plus airfare is quite comfortable, you may be able to cut it to $300/day by eating less expensively and staying in more economical lodging.

Posted by
416 posts

OK so you're saying between $300-$400 per day, excluding airfare.... Let's go in the middle and say $350.00 times the 18 days I'm thinking... Comes out to a little under $6500.00. Then add air... so maybe $10,000. That's good, because I was thinking around $15,000.00. We will definitely eat on the cheap, and sleep in guesthouses, B and B's, etc. And we don't have to get a a Eurail pass, if it's easier to buy tickets point to point.

I was just trying to make a budget that was reasonable, and an itinerary that was doable...There is SO much I would like to see and do, but I don't want to exhaust myself, running from one place to the next, and really seeing nothing.

Thanks for the replies so far, I value everybody's opinion. This is a nice place to come, no rude replies or people.

Judy :)

Posted by
3696 posts

Hi Judy... you should come to a little get together that I am having with Zoe and Diana next Saturday. I will post it elsewhere on the forum, but we are meeting at Panera in Toledo at 10am to just hang out, discuss travel, and get to know one another. I have already met Zoe, but not Diana... love to have you join us. I have been to Europe numerous times and I know Zoe is a frugal traveler as well and we can give you some tips. If you can't make it there we could always get together someplace closer. I am not far from you at all. I have been to all the places you are thinking about traveling...many of them a few times so I have some insight.

Posted by
1878 posts

You are covering a lot of ground here, whether this is a good idea - it depends. If you think think is your one trip to Europe, and these are the places you really want to see - then it's probably doable, maybe not enjoyably. For big cities like Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, it makes sense to spend four nights (three full days each) at a minimum. For smaller towns and cities, figure two nights minimum. In a few cases with a car when traveling to smaller towns, one night stays can work. In these countries I think train is the way to go, though, and cross-border car rentals cost a fortune. Every time you move, you are going to spend a half a day or more getting from place to place. I would recommend listing out your day to day itinerary and considering travel time - can you get there from here - on all of the legs of your trip. Not having that to look a, my gut says that you are covering too much ground. The more experienced I get as a traveler - and I am pretty experienced - the more I want to slow it down and stay in fewer places longer. As for a rail pass, I agree with one of the other folks in saying that it's almost never a good deal. Maybe for someone with a manic travel schedule, otherwise I don't know who those passes are intended for. As for cost, we have generally spent about $6,000-$7,000 on a two week trip for two in Europe, although I may not be tracking it too exactly. Usually we have such a great time I care a lot less about the cost on the back end of a trip. We have been on the higher end of that range on some of our later trips. Maybe on the lower end on some of our earlier trips and on more recent trips when we have flown/stayed on points. It definitely has gotten more expensive the past few years, but I think you are safe targeting under $10K even for eighteen days. The best way to save money is to not move around too, or too far, much and stay out of the big cities as much as possible. But, it sounds as if you are more interested in big cities, and more expensive ones at that - and covering a lot of ground. So definitely factor that in.

Posted by
2081 posts

Judy,

as others have mentioned, YOU will have to do some homework on this. We arent travel agents. but we can give you help in some details.

I find its easier if you can see/feel where youre going and plotting it out on a paper map is one method. My geography sucks so i need that as a visual aid in my planning. also im loosing gray matter faster than im making it so anything i can do to make it work the better.

Once you figured out WHERE you want to go then you can look at flights. I can tell you that for my last ~ 2 years flying over there from my home (note not your home town), my Round Trip (R/T) cost from Portland (PDX) to Amsterdam (AMS) has been in the 1200~1300 United States Dollars (USD) range. Those are non stop/direct flights too and have been in March or Sept. My R/T from PDX to Munich (MUC) via AMS and back is about 1500 USD for this Sept. It includes a few stops on the way back too.

I choose to stay in places that are less expensive and not fancy since i use them as they are, a place to sleep, shower and use the bathrooms. A view is nice, but not necessary since i will be out and about most of the time and my room empty. So the room can have the view. i try to keep my room cost to less than 100 USD/night if possible. Also, i usually dont stay at hostels, but this year there is a hostel/hotel in Munich i will be trying since is stopped by one in Koln last year.

You should note that you will loose one day traveling overthere so be aware of that.

I think you will find that the trains over in Europe is way better in the USA. I love to use them, but i only allow about 4 hours of travel by train, if it take more than that, im looking at air unless the view is awsome by train.

happy trails.

edit to add:

Look at Kayak.com, skyscanner.com for flights. there are others too. if you dont know where you want to go, its difficult to find any prices, but if you do, then just put in some dates/places and see. If there are other nearby airports, sometimes those can be less expensive, but the flip side is getting to/from the city or whatever is out there.

for lodging look at booking.com. again there are other search engines. but if you know where and when youre going to stay then just plug-n-chug numbers. there is a map function that shows you where those places to stay are relative to the city/town and just put your cursor over the dot and up pops cost and whats available.

i use all of the above and then some to look for lodging and flights and such. Just so you know, those will be the 2 top expenses. For me, transportation is usually #1 and lodging #2. Attractions, food and souvenirs is piddly compared to the #1 & #2.

have fun and happy trials.

Posted by
11613 posts

Terry Kathryn gives me lots of credit as a "frugal" traveler - which I try to be, but then there was that $90 lunch...

Posted by
3696 posts

@Zoe... well, we don't mention those occasional but necessary splurges... I have had more than my share, but figure its okay given my other ways of saving money:))

Posted by
416 posts

Oh thank you to everybody.. It is overwhelming to say the least. I am not an experienced traveller for sure, but I actually have been to Europe before. On a cruise 17 years ago. Of course we did everything wrong but man, did I love it! Always wanted to go back. And this year is our 25th anniversary so that's what we're gonna do. (probably next year....lol) I am decent with geography, and can see the route in my head, but it's the day-to-day logistics that have me wondering. I guess I am picturing, in my mind, everything so spread out, and hard to find, and inaccessible, and I am probably thinking this way for nothing.

I don't want to plan this thing so that every single second is spoken for, and I don't want to just wing it, get there, and then say, "Now what?"

I knew that this group would have some good insight! So thanks to all. I welcome everybody's ideas/opinions. :)

Posted by
2081 posts

" Posted by Judy
Westland, MI, United States
Posts: 20
03/24/14 03:56 PM

Oh thank you to everybody.. It is overwhelming to say the least. I am not an experienced traveller for sure, but I actually have been to Europe before. On a cruise 17 years ago. Of course we did everything wrong but man, did I love it! Always wanted to go back. And this year is our 25th anniversary so that's what we're gonna do. (probably next year....lol) I am decent with geography, and can see the route in my head, but it's the day-to-day logistics that have me wondering. I guess I am picturing, in my mind, everything so spread out, and hard to find, and inaccessible, and I am probably thinking this way for nothing.
I don't want to plan this thing so that every single second is spoken for, and I don't want to just wing it, get there, and then say, "Now what?"
I knew that this group would have some good insight! So thanks to all. I welcome everybody's ideas/opinions. :)"

THere is a web site called. Maninseat61.com you can look up the cities (point to point travel) you may want to go to and see if there is info there.

But if you have any of the travel books, there should be info on like RS "Connections". It should give you an idea on whats possible by train and not.

i use RS book about 90% of the time and so far havent had any "what now" moments when i got there. I will say I DO plan my transportation since if youre stuck in the back 40, it sure dont help if you want to be doing /seeing something.

ALso, you may want to try "GOOGLE". Google is your friend. trying inputting "how to get from a to b" and you put in the places and see what comes up. you will be surprised that the road you want to travel has been traveled before.

Happy trails.