We are on to "where to go and what
route to take" - please
see "Where to Start Planning" if
you haven't already. We have all
the basics now we are on to the good
Feel free to answer these questions
with a pen and paper, in your head
or print out the
1) Determine where you will be
flying into and out of. Check into
open jaw tickets, which allows you to fly into one place and out of
another. This is a major time
saver. If you are under 26, ask
your travel agent if there are any
youth passes available. Phone
around to all the travel agents in
the phone book and compare prices.
2) Write down (on a piece of paper
or your worksheet) any events or
places where you must be on a
certain date - for example, staying
with friends 14-16, Munich or
festival in Paris, 18th. These
should be things that you will need
to work around and that aren't
3) Now let's determine where
you want to go. To do this, you
will need a map - this is my
Lonely Planet Europe.
Make 2 lists (or use your
- the countries that are "musts"
and the countries you want to see
if you have time. Be picky about
the musts, you shouldn't have too many on that side of your
list. Leave room under each country
so you can write down cities.
4) Now go through each country and
write down cities you are
interested in seeing. Use the same
map above but now click on each
individual country in order to see
the cities. Do some research on the
web, consult the
and really find what interests you.
5) Now that we have our list, we
are cutting it down! You don't want
to travel to a place to stay any
less than about 2.5 days, 3 for
bigger places. The train or
traveling in general is tiring,
trust me, the last thing you want
to do is get back on right after
you've gotten off.
6) Take your list and draw up a
rough route so that you are
travelling in a circle if you are
flying out of the same place or in
a straight line if you have an open
jaw ticket. The goal is to avoid
7) So are you going to fly to these
places or take the train?
If you are using the train, visit
Rail Europe and click on "Fares
and Schedules" on the left hand
side. This will allow you to put
in two destinations and see how
long it will take. Write down the
travel time between them.
If you want to use budget airlines,
try the following:
8) So let's get our calendar and
start filling in the days.
Remember, give yourself time in
each place - it's better to cut out
destinations rather than spend the
whole trip on a train. Also, the
day you arrive might not be
considered a day there - if you
arrive at 6pm, you won't have much
time to do anything. Print off a
free calendar here:
Printable Calendars (scroll
down to monthly calendars and print
off the month or months you need.
So now you should have your route
and most of the other details set. If
you are planning on using a rail
pass, your next step is to visit
Rail passes section to find out
which pass works best for you. If
you are under 26, make sure you get
a youth pass for extra savings.
After that, book some
accommodation and some
travel insurance and visit the
how to buy
a backpack and you are on your
way to Europe!
Please visit our our
message boards and post any
questions that you still might
have. We'd be happy to answer them
for you. Oh, and we love "on the
road" reports and hearing about
what you are up to in Europe!