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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Europe Trip 2013

Some of you know we did a big Europe Trip at the end of May and beginning of June with our family travel buddies Keith and Megan (Eric's brother and his wife). Since it will take some time to do all the posts on the places we saw I thought I would do a quick overview post so you know what's coming and so you can see our trip as a whole.

May 24: leave US in the evening
May 25: morning arrive in Munich
May 26: Munich
May 27: Castle tour from Munich to Oberammergau and Schwangau
May 28: leave Munich in morning, arrive in Salzburg in afternoon
May 29: Sound of Music and Hallstat tour from Salzburg
May 30: Berchtesgaden day trip from Salzburg
May 31: leave Salzburg in morning, arrive in Vienna in afternoon
June 1: Vienna
June 2: Vienna
June 3: Vienna
June 4: leave Vienna in morning, arrive in Prague in afternoon
June 5: Prague
June 6: Nizbor day trip from Prague
June 7: Prague
June 8: leave Prague in morning, arrive in US in afternoon

Why these cities?
Well you may remember we already did the major Italy cities in 2011 and wanted to see other countries in Europe for the 2nd big trip over. We debated about these cities vs. doing something in France/Spain or France/Belgium/Netherlands but these provided a variety of things to do, wonderful scenery (our favorite thing about travelling) and had the least amount of travel time between cities allowing us to see more cities/countries. That's not to say some of those other places could be future trips!

You may be thinking these cities are not really known for their great cuisine and so the food must have not been a highlight... and that might be true if we ate at traditional restaurants but not if you eat other cuisines (just like in the US - you don't see people only eating at "American" restaurants). I have to admit I thought I would be disappointed compared to Italy but I was wrong and we had some AMAZING meals not to mention desserts!

Why this time of year and why 2 weeks?
May/June and Sept are supposed to be the best times of year to visit these countries. I say supposed to because we got some unusually cool and rainy weather there for that time of year although some rain in this area can always be expected but any earlier and it would have been too cold for our liking and July/August are the highest tourist months and can be hot - they do not have air conditioning in most places either.

Two weeks allowed us to spend 3-4 days in each city. One of the biggest expenses is the plane tickets so we wanted to have as much time as we could once we were over there. After spending 2 weeks abroad, I think an ideal amount of time exploring Europe is 12-13 days. By that last day we were ready to be home and when we spent 11 days in Italy it felt like we needed another day or 2.

Living like a local
When we travel we like to live more like the way the locals do so instead of booking hotels we rent apartments. This allows us to eat breakfast in the apartment, keep food, do a little cooking if we want and most importantly wash clothes. It is also cheaper and more spacious than a hotel room. There are so many more things you learn about a culture and city this way.

We travel within each city using public transportation like the subway, metro, buses or we walk. To get to the next city we use the extensive train system Europe offers. Many people do not have a car so I guess this is also living like locals do. And I can only imagine what a hot mess renting a car and trying to drive around would be considering 1: Megan and I feel nauseous if not in the front seat and 2: the boys would try to insist on directing us and we'd end up who knows where. No need for that added stress on vacation!

I am happy to answer any questions you have and cannot wait to share all the posts with you soon and of course tons of photos! Guess I need to start writing those!


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  2. I came across your article while looking on how to pack for a 2 week trip to Europe. We would like to travel to Europe in the future, but are a little hesitant on the hotel and traveling expenses when we are over there. You did mention that you rent. What site are you going on to rent? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi there - we use VRBO and Homeaway and have never had any issues with the places we stayed in Europe. There are usually a lot of places to choose from and I make sure to pick places that have good reviews.

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