Planning our trip to Europe

I love planning holidays as it adds to the excitement and anticipation.

Sorting out the airfares, planning the places to visit, reading hotel reviews, buying travel books, finding places where we might eat, sights to see, buying new luggage and so on!

We decided a couple of weeks ago that we would take three to four weeks in late June through July and go somewhere. It’s peak season in Europe and not really our preferred time for travel, but it’s also University semester break and the quietest time at work in my year.

Where should we go?

The key requirement is that we can fly on points. A check of the Qantas Website showed a limited number of flights departing Adelaide for Europe at that time, and none with a return date anywhere near when we needed it. It was a bit different for the US with a reasonable number of options to consider. Whilst we quite liked the idea of going back to the US, we really wanted to go to Europe and visit some places we hadn’t been before.

So after a weekend of looking at options, including cheap flights, we found no real options for Europe. On the recommendation of a colleague I rang Qantas and asked them what was available. They were just so helpful finding flights I wasn’t able to see. We settled on Adelaide to Munich via Dubai – the flight out of Australia is at a horrible time (2.40am), but a stopover in Dubai will make it a little easier. We will return via Paris; three weeks in all – awesome! With flights sorted thoughts about what we will do start.

In our usual style we quickly come up with about a million places to go to in the three weeks. We quickly dismiss the idea of a couple of days in Copenhagen and settle on Munich, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Edinburgh, London and Paris.

We haven’t been to Munich, Vienna, Prague, Berlin or Edinburgh before. We have recommendations for Berlin based upon our son’s trip last year and Edinburgh based upon our daughter’s time there whilst studying.

Whilst we have a lot of travel books from previous trips, it’s a good excuse to buy some more! We have some favourites being the Eyewitness Travel Guides country guides and their Top 10 series, and start with these. I also like Lonely Planet’s Pocket Guides and will make sure we have checked these out before we go. Also there is Trip Advisor which has become our travel bible since it was recommended to us by a close friend in 2008.

Trip Advisor forum sections also provide really good information on where to go and what to see and as luck would have it, someone had just posted a question about what to do with four days in Munich. Members responses on this post have given us so many ideas for our time in Munich. We will continue to use the forums for information and questions until we leave.

As we start to think about accommodation sites like Trip Advisor, tablet, or Booking.com really helpful.

Whilst I feel comfortable with airfares and accommodation I have never really got a handle on how to organise train travel. In the past I have always relied on a travel agent to sort this out. This time however I am really keen to do it myself. As a start I have found a useful App (Rail planner) which we can use to plan our rail travel. Now it’s a matter of working which pass to get.

With about 10 weeks to go the fun of planning is underway!

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2 Responses to Planning our trip to Europe

  1. Michael van heeswyk says:

    Rail is the way to go. You can buy tickets in Australia for almost any journey.
    They are always on time, clean and have great viewing windows, especially useful when travelling through the Alps. You can plot your stop offs on the way.
    I have trained with Annmarie through Austria, France Belgium & Netherlands to London. Just a great experience! Wish I was on the trip.

  2. Karmen says:

    Best of luck on your trip to Europe! It sounds like a lot of fun!

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