Post # 1
So my Fiance and I are starting to get serious about planning our honeymoon. We would absolutely love to go to Europe. Right now we’re thinking of France or Italy, but really we’d be happy to go many places.
I am kind of stumped on how to book the trip. I would love to pick a country and go to a few cities in the 10 or so days that we are there. How should I book the trip? Get the fights, hotels and transportation all seperately? Should I book a tour package? I’m nervous because we won’t really speak the language, and I’m not sure how to get around from city to city. In the US I would just book everything independently but I am unsure how to get around in Europe.
If you’ve booked European travel, how did you do it? What company did you use to book your travel?
Post # 3
I did a European honeymoon last summer to both France and Italy. We went for one month. We booked the entire trip ourselves, becuase we wanted total control over what we did and where we went.
1) Flights – we had a travel agent book our flights, as we wanted an open jaw trip (arrive in France, leave from Italy). Using a travel agent, because of the type of flight we wanted, enabled us to get the best deal for direct flights.
2) Deciding on an itinerary – pick up some travel books. I recommend either Lonely Planet or Rick Steeves. Read about the cities you think you might like to visit. Decide approximately how long you want to spend there. Then begin looking for accomodations.
3) Accomodations – Book direct through the hotels and research accomodations on Trip Advisor prior to bookin. I was always able to get a great deal this way. Third party websites don’t always give you the best deal.
4)Train tickets – how do you plan to get around your country of choice? Rent a car, or take the train? I really recommend taking the train. Eurail passes can be a good choice, or sometimes buying individual tickets is the best plan, depending on how much train travel you plan on doing. Some key train journeys require reservations. You can ask a travel agent which train plan is best for you. Check out these websites:
Train service in France is run by SCNF:
Train service in Italy is run by Trenitalia
Good luck! And give yourself plenty of time to book the trip – it took us nearly 3 months to take care of all the details. Also, avoid going in the summer if you can – it is SOOOOOO hot. Fall and spring are great times to visit.
Post # 4
Wow! Thank you for your great advice- It’s a great help. We’re planning on going right after the wedding in early September, so I’m hoping the weather should be better by then.
I better get cracking on my research!
Post # 5
We went on our honeymoon in the middle of September and the weather was perfect! And it was just after their busy season so rates were a little cheaper and less crowded as well.
Trust me, language is not a huge issue at all when you’re over there.
Some of my faves on budget travel research were
We booked everything ourselves. I researched and kept an eye on airfare a year in advance so I would know what was a good deal. And once I saw it I pounced on it! We flew into Dublin and flew back from Barcelona. Just booked them separately.
Train travel is SO SUPER efficient there. If they say they are leaving at 2:26 that train is leaving at 2:26 so don’t be late!
For lodging I would recommend looking beyond hotels. Often I found hotels were the most expensive. We looked at diff lodging options in each city and found the most cost efficient way. We stayed at hostels, B&Bs, rented our own apartments, etc.
I would try to loosely plan out your itinerary in terms of cities to visit and lodging. Often travel (train tickets) are cheaper booked in advance. But leave yourself some free time as well! That was some of the funnest part of our trip for us!
For France, Paris is a no brainer and I would have loved to see Marseilles! Would have loved to squeeze in a visit to the Bordeaux Wine Region southeast (I believe of Paris) but we just did not have time! If I remember correctly it was a 2-3 hour train ride from Paris.
In Italy, of course Rome, Florence is beautiful!!!, Cinque Terre is a MUST! Only a 2 or 3 hour train ride from Rome.
Post # 6
@Gerbera: Thank you for your input! It helps!
Post # 7
We’re going to Italy for 10 days/9 nights after our wedding. We found flights on kayak.com, but ended up booking through my mother’s credit card points (awesome wedding present). Then we found a travel agent online to help us find hotels and plan the details of our trip (we used Tripology as a launching point to find an agent). I’ve done this in the past, and if you want to stay in small towns and whatnot, I think using a travel agent is useful.
I think you should figure out what kind of vibe you want for your trip, and plan accordingly. We want to relax and meander, so with our 9 nights, we’re flying into one city and staying for 2 nights, driving 4 hours to another town for 2 nights, driving 1 hour to a third town for 2 nights, and finishing in a fourth city that’s 3 hours away for 3 nights. We wanted to see a few different places but have lots of time to chill, so we planned a smaller area that would allow us to really explore places and soak up culture in small towns. However, if you really want to see the big sites, then you could fly to a couple major cities, or do a whirlwind train tour where you’re on the move and seeing new places every day.
Figure out what you want to do, and then talk with a travel agent or read guide books to come up with an itinerary. Good luck, and have fun!