I am planning a 3 week trip to Europe in May. This is the first time I have planned to be away for this long. I am starting out in Brussels, Bruge to Amsterdam with a friend but then want to travel more solo. I thought I would hit the highligts of Germany with a trip to Rothenburg then Interlaken, maybe Gimmelwald to southern France. Stay in France for several days doing day trips then go on to Barcelona for several days before flying home. I want to travel via train and/or some short flights. I want to do as many direct trips as possible to shorten travel time. I may find this is too many locations anyway but I tend to like to see some places briefly then crash somewhere and relax for a day or two. Can anyone recommend a professional travel agent to help arrange transportation only?
Penney, I doubt that most "professional Travel Agents" will have the background to arrange transportation for a custom Itinerary such as the one you listed. They might just suggest a "generic" approach with a Railpass, without getting into the details. You can easily plan the transportation details yourself, using the HelpLine and Guidebooks. That's likely the method used by most of us here. If this is your first trip to Europe, I'd highly recommend pre-reading the Guidebook Europe Through The Back Door, as that will answer a lot of questions about transportation. Unless there's a specific requirement for the order you listed, you might consider starting in Amsterdam, then to Belgium and then proceeding to your other stops. Good luck with your planning!
I agree with Ken - a travel agent will not be very helpful and everything you want to do is easily researched and handled online. The Deutsch Bahn website will give you train schedules for the places you want to go. Expedia or other websites will handle any flights. There are also discount airlines like Ryanair. Given the amount of traveling you will be doing, a railpass may be a good fit for you. You can review costs on Rick's pass page and compare to costs of buying each ticket separately. While you can get discounts for advance purchases, your trip sounds more like you'll need flexibility in schedule that a pass can offer.
We've done extensive rail travel around the UK and European countries. Just returned a month ago from a trip starting in London, Scotland, Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, back to Paris, back to London then home. Go to www.seat61.com for all of your train and ferry traveling concerns and learn how to and when to book tickets, whether to get a rail pass, and other very helpful advice on train travel. You might also go to tripadvisor.com for a wealth of advice from veteran travelers. Train travel is so relaxing and so easy. We very seldom do any short flights because of the actual time at the terminal required and flight time (and the hassle) is often longer than the train trip. You can easily do it yourself. If you purchase tickets online from Europe, you must notify your CC company that you are doing so or else your card will deny the charges. There is a separate website you can google --buying french train tickets online.
Go for it!
i agree with all of the above. you can do it yourself. yes you can. in 2004 i spent 23 nights solo in europe. amsterdam-brugge-zell-rothenburg-munich-fussen-vienna-budapest-prague-krakow-haarlem- fly home. i used ricks books and got a rail pass. i reserved my trains once i got to my new location. ensuring i could get out and onto the next destination easily. i studied the hotel locations so i could get to them easily with buses or metro as needed, and also making sure to be near the sights i wanted to see. it was a blast. four years ago i was in provence and villefrance, you will love the south of france. easy transportation and great food and wine. last september was in spain, three nights in barcelona. got to see a champions league match at nou camp. outstanding. what a great city, my favorite in spain i think. study up. have fun, be safe.