We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

North Salt Lake...
Level Contributor
7 posts
36 reviews
Save Topic
Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

I am hoping to begin planning my first trip to Europe and could use some advice. I have no idea when I will have the opportunity to travel to Europe again, so I would like to get the most "bang for my buck" and make sure that I don't regret my experience.

Any recommendations on whether it is best to plan your own itinerary, go with a tour group, or take a cruise? I think that my preference would be to visit central/western Europe (UK, France, Germany), but I am interested in the Mediterranean and would consider other countries, too. I like the idea of going with a group, but I also am concerned that it would be so structured that I might miss out on something that I would like to go see/do.

Any suggestions that you could send my way would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Dunfermline, United...
Level Contributor
13,034 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

We'll try to help

What time of year are you coming?

How many days are you planning on being here?

How many in the party?

What do you want to see in Europe?

What is your budget for accommodation per night in GB Pounds for the UK and Euros for Europe?

How do you want to get around? Train? Hire car? Flying?

Europe is a big, big place covering almost 30 countries and 250 million people. Getting around isn't as quick as it could be so if you are planning on doing a 'If its Thursday, it must be Belgium' type tour, then allow a day to travel between places.

Edited: 30 September 2013, 19:56
Oakham, United...
Level Contributor
2,687 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

I suppose it depends on how long you're going for, your budget, and your interests, none of which you mention. It's inevitable on TA that most people will favour organising thigns yourself, so you can choose if you want a day off, or want to linger in the pub for an extra hour, or go somewhere you see that looks interesting. An organised tour has the advantage that you just book and go.. saves you hours or days of googling and looking on TA to decide where to go, but if you dont' entirely like the itinerary or the rest of the group.. tough.

London
Level Contributor
1,292 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

You don't say how long you intend travelling - from the places you mention (UK, France, Germany, Mediterranean countries, and 'others') anything under 3 or 4 weeks would merely scratch the surface irrespective of how you intend to travel

I think you need to look at some guide books and decide which are your top sights/expereineces, then try to form a rough route. Only after that can you really look at how you will get round this route

Gujarat, India
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
161 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

You question really is too big to give specific answers.

You really do need to put some 'leg work 'and get to grips with budget, when to travel, where to travel into, how long for, your interests, type of accommodation, car or public transport and on and on

.Plenty of information can be gained from guidebooks, your travel agent as well as the internet.

Imagine someone planning a trip to the whole of the states asking the same question, get some definite plans with budget etc. and people will be able to help as it stands its rather impossible

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
18,497 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

>>> Imagine someone planning a trip to the whole of the states asking the same question <<<

"I am hoping to begin planning my first trip to [ The USA ] and could use some advice. I have no idea when I will have the opportunity to travel to [ The USA ] again, so I would like to get the most "bang for my [ euro/yen/shekel ]" and make sure that I don't regret my experience."

"Any recommendations on whether it is best to plan your own itinerary, go with a tour group, or take a cruise? I think that my preference would be to visit [ central and eastern states ], but I am interested in [ the West Coast ] and would consider [ that bit in the middle ], too. I like the idea of going with a group, but I also am concerned that it would be so structured that I might miss out on something that I would like to go see/do."

Do you start to see our problem?

North Salt Lake...
Level Contributor
7 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

I would be traveling with my mother-in-law and would be going Spring 2014. We would probably be traveling for around 10 days, but not more than 14. I think that my budget would be between 1850 and 2590 euros. I would prefer to travel by rail or air, as I don't think I would feel comfortable driving in an unfamiliar country.

I have done some research on my own, but feel a little overwhelmed with how much information is out there. Right now, my only international travel experience is to beach resorts, so this will be a very new experience for me. Ideally, I would like to experience a mix of history and culture. I would love to visit London and the southern part of England. I would love to visit museums and castles, especially the Neushwanstein castle in Germany. That being said, if it isn't realistic to fit a multi-country vacation that includes these areas into my time frame and budget, my next preference would be a Mediterranean Cruise. The structure of group travel appeals to me, but I do worry that I might miss out on something that I would like to see because it is not part of the itinerary. The reason that I say I am open to other places is that I realize that I am new to this, and there might be something that I am overlooking. I realize that it is a big place with a lot to see and that I am only going to experience a very small part.

I think that once I decide which route I want to go (tour group, cruise, independent), it will make it a lot easier for me to plan the rest of the trip. I was just hoping for some advice as to which way might be the best for a novice like myself.

Thanks for your help.

Oakham, United...
Level Contributor
2,687 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

Try to make sure you don't lose too many hours of actually enjoying yourself because you're spending so much time traveling to tick things oiff your list. You can't see everything you want to in 10 days, so don't even try. Concentrate on having 10 days that'll be enjoyable instead.

You could do 5/6 days in London (on your own - it' s not hard), and 5/6 days in Germany (maybe a tour if you like the idea?). You could tick the boxes (museums and castles) in London - stuffed full of mostly free museums, with the Tower of London there, and dozens of other castles around Britain.

Do you wnat to see countryside? English villages, or German mountains and forests? If those appeal, then a cruise might not be the best way!

If you still aren't sure if you want to see Germany or whether to do a cruise.. only you can answer this really.. you have to make up your own mind.

London is easy to visit. Choose somewhere to stay, and turn up. No need to be on a tour. WE even speak roughly the same language. Do you have the time to try both? A short cruise, adn a short do it yoruself trip to the UK?

Gujarat, India
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
161 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

For around 10 days your going to spend an awful lot of time in airports/ train/metros/taxis getting about from one country to another, Time IMO best spent in one place or another.

Have a long look at what you really want, UK, Germany or the Med you cannot do it all on one trip without loosing out a lot. Cannot say anything about cruising as never done it, the thought makes me come out in hives....

Lets look at Germany or more in the case of Bavaria as that where Ludwigs Castle (Neuschwanstein Castle) is, well yes its a great day out for a relatively new castle (by other castle standards) and its fine but to twee for me but the rest of Bavaria is stunning and to do it justice, spend your whole time there touring around. Flying in/out traveling back forth maybe to Munich....but hey were on the UK forum.. I love my holidays in Germany and Bavaria, well 20 odd years of visiting and still enjoying it

So

' I would like to experience a mix of history and culture. I would love to visit London and the southern part of England. I would love to visit museums and castles'

Well London and around has more than its fair share of all of the above, everything you need want is there more than enough to tick all your boxes.

You have to decide how you want to spread out your time but my advice choose only one.

London
Level Contributor
1,292 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

When you mentioned a cruise, if it is an ocean cruise then you may well be able to tick off several countries and/or a number of pre-selected sights which may or may not be your personal choices, but you will gain little experience of the countries' inhabitants and way of life, as you will doubtless be shuttled back to the ship as soon as possible to spend more money there rather than in the local country. And, like Scotlandscout, the thought of being cooped up on a floating tin box with several hundred (thousand) other lemmings is a sure recipe for hives and my idea of hell.

But that is ocean cruising. Have you considered a short river cruise ? There are many in Europe, where you are with a relatively small number of other passengers (although recently scaling up in size is rearing its ugly head), you see the passing countryside and usually arrive in the centre of each location (the same minimal travel advantage that Euiropean trains have over aircraft) with time to look around as well as having excursions arranged to nearby places of interest.

There are many such cruises which travel in Germany, so perhaps you could consider (say) 5 or 6 days in London followed by a river cruise in Germany

North Salt Lake...
Level Contributor
7 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Need Advice for Planning My First European Trip...

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.