Review: First impressions:

When I last posted about my motivation for the 2013 trip to Europe, it was a very general idea.

I knew we would need two very expensive things:
1. Two round-trip flights between the US and Europe
2. Hotels or somewhere to sleep every night for the two weeks we plan to visit

But we haven’t really decided where we want to go. So I figured I’d check out a few websites for itinerary planning and see if they help with the decision.

We have a few key limitations:

1. Flights

– I will be ‘paying’ for our flights with credit card points from sign up bonuses. Some people are concerned about this at first, because they think credit cards can lead to irresponsible spending. No worries – I pay off my bill every month – I just use the incentives they post in order to finance my travel for minimum cash.

– Because I will be trying to get the least expensive flights (within reason) to Europe, we will be limited into which cities we can fly. For example – London has very expensive taxes and fees. Certain airlines (like British Airways) also have very high fuel surcharges. I’ll write more about it later, but from my initial research, it looks like we need to fly into Dublin, Ireland; Berlin, Germany; or Madrid, Spain.

2. Destinations

– My mom has a couple locations she wants to visit: Paris, Poland, and Rome. Other than that, she doesn’t really care. Since those three locations are not in the same places as the airports we can use to minimize costs, I get to figure out the rest. That includes hotels within a city, transport between cities, and activities.

3. Time

– I only get so much vacation/sick leave from work. My mom is a teacher, so she gets summers off. She normally has workshops / continuing education over the summer that she needs to attend, but due to budget cuts and reduced grant funding, she doesn’t have any mandatory workshops for next summer. So the dates themselves don’t matter – only the duration.


First off, I did a google search for travel itinerary planners. I came across a few but picked as my initial trial website. My first impressions of the website is that it is fairly easy to use for initial research. You can search for a city and see what sort of activities, hotels, or restaurants are in the area. You can add the destination without designating a fixed day (so you can collect a list of places without knowing your exact schedule yet).

I’m not sure how useful it will be for the details later in the planning, though.


So far, I’ve only been trying to nail down the cities where we will spend most of our time. Unfortunately, in order to do that, we’ll need to determine how we can easily get between major cities (via day train, night train, air, etc.). While I haven’t spent much time yet looking around the site, it doesn’t appear to be something that will be easy to do.

We still have a lot of time before we need to make definite plans. Until we get closer to that time, I might not be able to fully utilize the website. In the mean time, I’ll keep an eye out for the available features.

Categories: Itinerary, Planning, Review: Website, Travel Tool

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. I hadn’t heard about that website, so thanks for the link! I’m definitely going to check it out.
    Depending on where you’re flying from, Manchester can also be a relatively inexpensive place to fly to, if you can use Virgin Atlantic. I almost always fly to either Dublin or Manchester when I go.
    You’ll love Rome!! It’s without a doubt my favorite city in Europe. Last time I was there, I stayed at Camping Roma (, where they had little 2-or-3 person ensuite, clean bungalows for very cheap, with a great restaurant, bar, and pool. A little out of town, but a bus goes straight there and there’s a supermarket right across the street! Highly recommend it.
    If you do fly into Ireland and you have any time, check out Dingle- Rome’s my favorite city, but Dingle is my favorite place 🙂 I give some of the highlights here:
    If you need more advice, drop me a line, I’m happy to help!!

    • Thanks for the suggestions! We were considering going to Rome, and then we started to consider cutting it out due to lack of time. But things are not definite yet – we may still include it.

      I did see your post on Dingle – the photos are beautiful! Once we nail down our itinerary a little more closely, I’ll start looking at specific places to visit and sights to see, so I may need some thoughts then! Thanks!

      • I sure hope you can keep Rome on the list- it’s well worth it. 🙂

        • We’re trying – but there are so many exciting places to see! My mom did say she would prefer to see Venice over Rome (this time around… I will definitely be returning again in the future if we don’t make it to Rome this time). We just need to decide if we’re going to take it slow through a few locations, or spend 1-2 days in each place before moving on.

  2. Suggestion about travelling between cities: If you are pressed for time book a flight with the cheap lines: easyjet, ryan air etc. I LIVED on these flights when I was abroad- in fairness I had no plans and took whatever was cheap but you cant beat 20 euro flights. Way cheaper than any rail pass- and faster! Check well enough in advance, and make sure to pre-pay for any extra luggage and you will save huge!
    I also second the Dingle suggestion from athene454- it’s great. All of Ireland is, I spent 3 months there and have already been back less than a year later!

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I didn’t realize it was quite so cheap – you’re right that 20 euros is hard to beat! I’ll have to talk my mom into flying a little bit – she’s pretty afraid of heights but can fly if it means going somewhere wonderful. It would be great to be able to wander around Europe without being too limited by geography!


  1. Review: First impressions: | Home Far Away From Home
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