First off, I would like to say that what I do is not right, or perfect, or the only way you could possibly plan a vacations from Germany. I am just saying… this is what I do.
1. Get a great idea from a brochure, friend, dream, or movie.
2. Go online to Tripadvisor.com and see what they think about it. I decipher their “likeness” of the place by the number of attractions they have listed for such city. If it is, let’s say Paris, it better have at least 60. If, on the other hand, it is a more country venue like Neuschwanstein, then I expect less and understand that the trip is mostly targeted for the huge castle that looks like I am going to Disneyland.
3. I ask Tripadvisor what hotels it would suggest. It would give me at least 20 hotels that I cannot afford and then I would go to Booking.com.
4. Aaaah thank you Booking.com. You can chose to sort by price and by Km to the area you are actually visiting. The best part is that after a few visits to this site the cookies will build and it will know exactly what you want, posting that perfect hotel right at the top of the page. This is only after you have about given up on going to that particular place.
5. Chose Air, Train, or Car. There are many things to consider when choosing your mode of transport.
1. Do you really “need” a car when you are there. Munich, naaaa probably not. Paris, nope. Lego Land (AKA the middle of nowhere) yes, yes you do.
2. How much do these items cost? If you are going to say, Croatia, I would suggest you seriously consider your sanity, gas rations, and money before you chose driving. Why not go to Ryanair.com and check out what they have to offer you first. Not every destination is perfect for flying, but I would say if it’s more than 6 hours away, consider it.
3. Something you need to know is that trains are NOT necessarily faster than cars. What they do offer is convenience! If you are going to Koln for Karneval, take the train- it’s your DD. If you have more than 7 people in your party, take the train. If you do not have the rations of gas left on your card, take the train. If you are going to Aachen to go shopping for clothes and want to get Starbucks, don’t take the train. Check out the unreasonably confusing Bahn.de website for more information, or better yet, just call them! They do charge a fee for calling, but in my opinion, pay the fee.
6. So check, I know what mode of transport I wish to take me to my very desirable destination. Now you have to ask your spouse. OH NO! First, give him/her a back rub. Then give him/her a glass of wine. Then tell them that they could really use a trip; they have been working so hard! After these things are done break it to them that you have already booked it and you hope they can get leave on such and such dates. Big SMILE!
7. Once these items have been checked off your list, all you have to do is wait. Wait for the fun, the excitement, the views, and the relaxation. Be sure to check weather.com for the weather for those days in order to know if you need to pack shorts, daisy dukes, or snow gear.
I would consider reserving your seat on Ryanair.com. It guarantees you a seat with your family and you can go to the front of the line all VIP like, for just 10 Euros.
If you need to take a suitcase, pay for it ahead of time and weigh it on your scale. Don’t go over the allotted weight or you will PAY!
Be sure to check the weather.
Have a friend to go with you for backup in case your spouse goes TDY on “accident”.
Go to the gov’t website for that particular country and see if there are any warnings for that area. Fires, spontaneous wars, and weather could put a damper on your trip.
Any other ideas please let me know!