Planning A Trip Around the World in 18 Days Part 1: Europe

Generally, when planning a trip, the traveler already has a specific destination or route in mind, and searches for airfare to fit their ideal dates and locations.  So how do you plan a trip when you’ve booked a multi-city or open-jaw flight? (If you’re wondering what an open-jaw ticket is … it’s a return ticket with different origins or destinations.  Like flights from New York to Milan, then Prague to New York, or New York to Milan, Milan to Boston.)

After we booked our Trip Around the World (read here and here) we had to figure out how to spend our 8 days getting from Milan to Prague, plus make a decision on where to go and how long to stay in Thailand.  When you’ve never left the continent and have a bucket list a mile long, and you may or may not be one of the most indecisive people in the world, it can be a little tough to narrow down options.  Not to mention, we all had those pesky things called jobs without unlimited vacation time – unfortunately.  (Although, if you have one of those unlimited vacation benefits packages, can you hire me? Please?) 

Anyway.  Planning. As it usually works out when I have a genius idea or plan, I ran through option after option, itinerary after itinerary until I drove my husband crazy.  For the Europe portion of the trip, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Greece were all at the top of my list and were all viable options.  

So, we had to begin the narrow down process.

Since our Oktoberfest (hyperlink) plans were officially pushed out a few years, we figured we’d save Germany and Switzerland for that trip.  We also knew we wanted to make a dedicated Italy trip one day, so we decided not to focus there.  Then Greece and Croatia were ruled out by ease of getting there.  Plus, time of year was a huge factor.

We pulled up Google Maps and right smack in the path from Milan to Prague was Austria.  Austria had not been at the top of either of our travel lists, so we figured, let’s go to a country we wouldn’t have otherwise picked first.  A little bit of Googling and Pinteresting cemented the idea even further.  The pictures we found of Austria were so breathtakingly gorgeous we immediately fell in love.  Austria was the clear winner.   

We ran the idea by the 3 friends we were planning to spend the whole trip with, and they were 100% on board.  I still was contemplating a stop in Budapest or Bratislava, but quickly ruled that out in favor of stops in both Salzburg and Vienna.

We finally settled on number of days/nights in each city and mapped out the train routes and times.  Our fast and furious 8-day Euro itinerary was officially set.  We would land in Milan and spend one night in Venice (thanks to the train passing through anyway!), 2 nights each in Salzburg and Vienna, and 3 nights in Prague.  From there, our flights gave us a 24-hour stopover in Paris on the way from Prague to Bangkok.  We would soon be traveling through 7 cities over 9 days.  It was turning out to be a whirlwind trip, but well worth it.