Thursday, September 17, 2009 do you do it?

"How did you do it? Please did you plan your Euro Trip...mind sharing some tips and tricks?" Well, my friends and family have been asking me for some time now and, I thought, hey,why not share it here?? Side note and truth be told: I am the designated trip planner for my family, and I really take my role seriously along with intense pride. Nothing more important that a fun-filled, sun-soaked, adventure-sprinkled vacay, right?

Ok, so I started my research with Google Maps - the aerial view of continents, countries and the rivers/oceans between them gave me a rough idea about the travel time between them. For instance, once I was convinced that going from London to Paris kinda' works, I then used Google again to search for ways to travel between these 2 cities - so I searched for "Best way to travel from London to Paris" and "Cheapest way to travel from London to Paris" and got some really good answers back. But, before I go on and on about tips and preferences, please know it all converges to a good BUDGET. Yes, you should definitely have a budget set right at the beginning because that will determine the choices you make. So, please make that as step # 1 in any type of trip planning you undertake, ie, local or international.

Ok, back to planning, once I had decided that travel by train was the best and cheapest way to get to Paris, I then had to decide where to look for a hotel - a) should it be close to the train station where the train arrived b) should it be near the shopping center or touristic sites c) should it be close to the train station/airport connecting to the next desitnation. You see, these questions were important (along with budget ofcourse) in helping me pick the appropriate hotel. We finally stayed at TimHotel Louvre, which was close to Louvre and also walking distance to shopping and other major attractions. It was also close to the train station connecting us to our next destination. Now, don't fret, I will list the websites for your benefit because otherwise this article would be incomplete and I would run the risk of sounding like a nagging voice in your head, "do do, do it this way...can't you listen??"

Back to planning: before I targeted the next stop after Paris, I did a quick search of "Top 10 cities in France" and since I knew I had to definitely put Madrid on my radar, guess where I threw the pin? Marseille baby!! South of France and close to Spain...worked out perfectly. And ofcourse I had to do some more research, so thats when Google walked in again.
Like really, Google is the big grand daddy of searches, so please please take full advantage of it.

Alright, I hope you get the idea that this madness does really follow a method, and planning is not that hard {in this wonderful age of internet}. And, with that I would like to list the coolest and most helpful websites that may turn out to be the next grand daddy of searches:


Hotels (prices are awesome, and most of the listings include breakfast in their price) (sometimes you do get competitive prices and if you end up booking 10 nights, you get a night free)

Travel Info/Forum (you can also get 1-day and multi-days itineraries too)
{type in a question, like, "alternative places to touristic sites" and you will get tons of really honest and practical advise}

Now, I don't believe in slathering with you inane websites, because these few will do just fine and collectively are a powerul source. They (in conjunction with Google) will get the work done and I urge you to use any or all of them as you plan, say that weekend trip to Boston or that one day getaway to upstate New York. And, when you are boarding that plane or train or renting that car for the trip of your lifetime, pat yourself on the back for doing a good job (ahem, and maybe thank the nagging voice too!) :)


**update: I had maintained a working document as I planned along, and I am sharing with you just to give you an on the words below**

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