Start your travel experience early by
enjoying the planning stage. Talk to other travelers, choose books and movies with
your trip in mind, nurture your travel dreams. Then, develop a thoughtful itinerary in steps. Brainstorm a wish list of destinations
and put them in in a logical geographical order. Then write in how many days you’d like
to stay in each place. And then, tally it up. This adds up to 32 days. Now it’s got to fit to your vacation time. I’ve got 21 days off; that means
I’ve got some serious cutting to do. Minimize redundancy. I really don’t want to do both the Italian
Riviera and the French Riviera. I’ll cut the French Riviera. Keep a balance between big cities and
small towns. This itinerary is pretty heavy on big cities. So I think I’ll cut Rome. That’ll save a few days. Greece takes just too much time to get
to. It’ll have to wait till another trip. Rather than spend an entire day on the
train, you can save a day of your itinerary by flying or taking the
night train from Bavaria to Venice. I still have to cut one day. I think I could tighten up on Paris. I
had given it four, we’ll do Paris in three days. When I add it up, it fits. 21 days. Now fine-tune your itinerary.
Anticipate closed days. For instance, in Paris, museums are closed on Tuesdays.
That’s a good thing to keep in mind. And you can take yourtrip to the next
level by researching and planning for events
along the way. Concerts, sporting events and festivals. It brightens your experience. Consider building in a few slack days.
Two days on the beach midway through the itinerary; that’ll recharge those
batteries. And one-night stops are hectic. Try your best have two nights in a row
at a minimum. And, remember, open jaws— that’s flying into one city and out of
another; in this case Amsterdam and London— saves time and money. That’s efficient. Finally, be realistic about how much you can
cover. You’ll always find places you just can’t get to. I really wanted to get
to Greece but squeezing it in would rush my entire trip. Assume you will return. Travel is freedom. It’s rich with choices and exciting
decisions. That’s part of the appeal. Factor in your comfort level with doing
things on-the-fly. Lots of people have a great trip with
nothing planned at all. Others have a great trip play nailing
down every detail before leaving home. I like to keep a little flexibility in my itinerary. Perhaps I’ll fall in love with Siena and stay an extra day. Also, plan thoughtfully to get the best weather and the least crowds.
at least crowns The most grueling thing about travel over
here is the heat and the crowds of summer, especially in Italy. Check the weather charts. My rule of thumb: north of the Alps is
like Seattle or Boston, south of the Alps is like southern
California or Florida. I prefer visiting the mediterranean countries in spring or fall and I travel north of the Alps in summer. We happen to be here in August and it’s hot. Winter travel is a whole different scene
and it has its pros and cons, too. Museums are empty, flights are cheaper
and the high culture—symphony, opera and so on—is in full swing. But in the winter it rains more
and it gets dark, especially in the north. And many activities and sights are closed
or run on shorter hours. While small towns, outdoor sites, and
resorts can be sleepy, big cities are vibrant and festive
throughout the year.