Europe trip - Advice on Rail/Flights/Hotels

Hi All,

I'm heading away to Europe for the Month of December with my Girlfriend (who I hope ends up my fiance after New Years Eve in Paris….hope so. lol) and was wondering if I could pick the brain of fellow OzBargainers as to what would be best fits for my itinerary.

I've done a fair bit of research already and reviewed Hotels.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, AirBnB etc for hotel stays. I've looked at RailEurope for rail tickets/passes and looked up SkyScanner for flights.

So far I have noted that it would not be worthwhile to buy a railpass as 4/5 rail trips we'd likely end up doing will be on overnight trains and these require reservations which in some instances are no different to the cost of buying the ticket point-to-point.

My itinerary thus far is below. If any of you have any advice as far as what to see/where to stay/alternatives for travel that'd be much appreciated as right now I have too many options spinning around in my head and can't seem to make a decision.

Thank you in advance!

Date Venue
30-Nov Leave Sydney
1-Dec Amsterdam
2-Dec Amsterdam
3-Dec Amsterdam
4-Dec Berlin
5-Dec Berlin
6-Dec Berlin
7-Dec Berlin/Prague
8-Dec Prague
9-Dec Prague
10-Dec Prague/Budapest
11-Dec Budapest
12-Dec Budapest
13-Dec Munich
14-Dec Munich
15-Dec Munich
16-Dec Venice
17-Dec Venice/Florence
18-Dec Florence/Piza
19-Dec Florence
20-Dec Florence/Sorrento
21-Dec Sorrento/Pompei
22-Dec Sorrento/Rome
23-Dec Rome
24-Dec Rome
25-Dec Rome
26-Dec Rome/Nice/Monaco
27-Dec Monaco
28-Dec Monaco/Paris
29-Dec Paris
30-Dec Paris
31-Dec Paris
1-Jan Leaving for Sydney

Comments

  • Read the travel section and travel forums and click through to the travel search sites at www.moneysavingexpert.co.uk

    Probably one of the world's best money saving websites.

    Great advice on budget airlines in Europe and how to avoid the maze of fees.

  • +1

    The most interesting fun would be to get Ozbargainers views on how Romeo should propose to his Princess in Paris on New Year's Eve….

    Options would have to be cost effective and so stunning she can hardly refuse….. :-)

  • +1

    Awesome. Thank you!

    @ second post - That would also be helpful lol.

    I was considering at the stroke of midnight under the Eifel Tower.

    But that seems a bit cheesey. I'd like something pretty cool. lol.

  • For trains, if possible, buy online directly with the train company of the country you're travelling with. Germany's train website (www.banh.de) is excellent to look up schedules for trains all over Europe. From there, you can see what services are available and go to the specific website to book/ see prices. For example, Italy has two train companies - Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) and Italo (www.italotreno.it)- where you can buy your tickets online. The earlier you book, the cheaper they will be (as low as 9 euro for intra-italy).

    I would recommend steering clear of Rail Europe if possible. They charge a decent mark up on all tickets and reservations simply because the are the only ones that offer tickets sent to Australia (and Railplus, who are also expensive). In addition, they don't have all the schedules and cheap fares you'll see if you go to the actual train company's website. If possible, buy online or if you don't mind the risk of your chosen fare being unavailable, book it when you get there.

    The itinerary looks pretty good! If there was anything that i'd change, it would be to put more time in Florence instead of Milan/ Pisa. You can comfortably do Pisa in half a day as there's not much there.

    Be prepared for a long trip to get from Florence to Sorrento by train. The train (usually runs Florence-Rome-Naples) is great, but from Naples you would either get a ferry to Sorrento or catch their regional line (Circumvesuviana - www.vesuviana.it/) which is a bit hit and miss, and takes 1.5 hours one way.

    Not sure if any of the above is helpful - happy to give you some ideas in the cities if required.

  • Yeah you are right with the Pisa trip. It was only going to be a day trip if that.

    I was considering cutting out a day in Milan and going to Florence earlier.

    Yeah I've looked up Banh and will be booking directly through them most definitely.

    Thank you very much for the help. I'll take any advice for ideas in the cities. It's the first time we are sort of doing it ourselves rather than on a tour.

  • +2

    Trains - check out the website "Man in seat 61".

  • Thanks mate.

    I've decided to change proposal to potentially Monaco as I found out Paris is a mess on NYE…probably not the best time.

    Any suggestions? or maybe somewhere else aside from Monaco?

    Decided against Milan now spending extra day in Munich and taking in some WW2 tours. Hoping to catch Roma vs AC Milan game in Rome.

  • 'Europe by eurail' has a great chart in the opening pages which show the major rail lines so you get a general idea about frequency etc. and see the rail lines your journies will take . the google books extract has the map at pages x and xi (roman numeral p10&11 near contents.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=QheGgXc7-LMC&pg=PR10&lpg...

    The other good thing about looking at this map is that your see the smaller major cities, cos the big rails stop at them. You can't go wrong at any destination on that map. The bold lines are the major lines. Each destination has a history going back thousands of years. . The little towns in Europe are beautiful. That way, instead of doing really long rail rides, you do a one to two hour ride every day or so. Mind you I never did overnight rail to compare. But small trips is an alternative you should consider. The major cities are lovely but you will love smaller ones too.

    Otherwise I reckon your plan looks logical and cool

  • Quick question regarding luggage:

    I need to buy a new bag to take over with me or set. I'd like something not MASSIVELY expensive, but solid and light.

    Also with regards to daypacks. I've been reading and I'm concerned that my Caribee backpack with a couple of locks on it wont protect me in Europe. From your experiences do I have anything to worry about, am I being paranoid? or Do I need to invest in a backpack like this one - http://theluggageprofessionals.com.au/anti-theft-travel-bags...

    The main things I'll have in there are - Nikon D7000 camera and new I-Pad which will be in a hotel safe if they have one, otherwise always on me - along with passports, spare CC, etc.

    I have a neck pouch thing for my main CC & some cash & my wallet.

    So my question is - Do I need to invest in a bag like that for extra protection or should I be right with a Caribee backpack with two locks on the zips.

    • It really depends on where you are going. Most crime is opportunistic, you put it down next to your chair in a cafe and it walks away while you are not looking. Not much point locking the bag if they make away with the whole thing. Just some simple precautions like being aware of your surroundings, where your things are and keeping loose bits well tucked into your bag or pocket will serve you fine.

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