Planning our next holiday

Looking out the window

2011 was our first overseas holiday together, destination Europe. Prior to 2011 Hubby had never been overseas, his passport was free of stamps, shiny and new. I had been to Europe once in the summer of ’99 and dreamed of returning in the springtime but never thought that it would take 12 years to get there. That trip took us away from home for 8 weeks and involved months of planning and years of reading and dreaming about the places we would visit. You may have seen some of my photos and read some of my posts.

This time we hope to be travelling for 5 weeks at the end of this year, I say hope because it all hangs on both of us being in full time employment especially when we are the proud owners of a mortgage. If things don’t work out then we’ll travel somewhere closer to home, Australia is vast and there is plenty to see and experience. Travelling later in the year will mean lower temperatures compared to what we are used to requiring a drastic change to our usual attire for that time of year.

For me, part of the fun in travelling is the researching and the planning, I’m not a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ traveller. The flight from Brisbane to Paris takes about 27 hours and costs about $2000 per person for the flight so some preparation is important. Guide books and travel related books are among my favourite things to read, watching movies and documentaries featuring destinations I love and dream of take pride of place in our entertainment unit. Several years ago Rick Steves entered our lives, his DVDs have been watched many times and through his podcasts and others such as the Amateur Traveller I’ve discovered more authors whose books inspire me. Blogs and apps have made researching destinations so much easier however the sheer volume of content and contrasting opinions can be overwhelming. I love art, history, food and photography, Hubby loves to sit and watch the world go by which means we have to find a balance that makes us both happy.

IMG_9659 Travel books

Accommodation costs can be estimated using websites such as and tripadvisor although sometimes it is cheaper to book directly with a hotel or B&B and their rates are also easily found online. With the Australian dollar flagging against other currencies, I like to be able to calculate how much the trip could cost us by using a spreadsheet that outlines transport and accommodation costs as well as notes on extras like the Paris Museum Pass and gallery opening hours.

You might be wondering where we are planning to go that will need so much preparation. This is our list so far, it has already changed several times but there is still a focus on Italy:

  • Brussels
  • Paris
  • Turin
  • Florence
  • Rome
  • Bologna
  • Verona
  • Venice
  • Innsbruck
  • Vienna

Our timing is influenced by our desire to save as much as possible, Hubby’s work commitments and thinking that if we’re going to be freezing cold we may as well push the trip back a week further and warm up with mulled wine at the Christmas markets in Austria. I welcome any feedback and recommendations for the destinations listed.

Stay tuned 🙂

24 thoughts on “Planning our next holiday

  1. Debra Kolkka May 4, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    You have some great destinations there. I have several posts on all the Italian towns which may be of use to you.

    • twoblackdoggies May 5, 2015 / 6:34 am

      Thank you Debra, I will be going through your posts again for some ideas. Any tips on how coping with the weather during that time of year?

  2. colinandray May 4, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    I have never been an enthusiast for aggressive schedules however, that is of course a personal taste. I would suggest that after you have completed your tour schedule, you discuss what places really impacted you and (assuming this is possible in the future) go back and spend 10-14 days at each of those places. Two weeks in Paris alone will give you a flavor that cannot be acquired in a couple of days. Florence will easily absorb you for a week or two if allowed as will Rome. Switzerland does not seem to prevalent in your schedule however, two weeks will barely acquaint you with Lucerne/Interlaken and all points between. Italy? Northern Italy alone can absorb a month of your time, as could the South (and I haven’t mentioned Rome). Have a great vacation.

    • twoblackdoggies May 5, 2015 / 6:31 am

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree, each of the places we’re visiting have so much to offer and we’re squeezing alot in to our 5 weeks. Spending more time in our favourite places is definitely something we want to do in the future.

  3. alexis3907 May 5, 2015 / 2:30 am

    I may have some tips Sam x

      • alexis3907 May 5, 2015 / 7:06 pm

        Are you on the mailing list?

      • twoblackdoggies May 5, 2015 / 7:14 pm

        No, but I’m guessing I should be 🙂

  4. megtraveling May 5, 2015 / 10:07 am

    Planning and daydreaming about travel is so much fun! I’m heading to Italy later this month – I can’t wait!!

    • twoblackdoggies May 5, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      It is fun and even more so when you have been to some of the destinations, remembering moments and dreaming of revisiting them. Looking forward to reading about your trip and all the different flavours of gelato you have tasted 🙂

  5. darwinontherocks May 7, 2015 / 6:09 am

    I would recommend visiting Bruges instead of spending too much time in Brussels 🙂

    • twoblackdoggies May 13, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      Thanks! If Brussels stays on the list a day trip to Bruges is something I would love to do, it looks beautiful in photos and so differently from the every day here 🙂

  6. restlessjo May 13, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    That’s an interesting trip, Sam, and one that I wouldn’t mind emulating, though you know I’d rather do it in Summer. 🙂 I’ve only been to Paris, Venice and Verona from your list. What have I been doing with my life??? I love the planning and research too. Lots of days still to dream 🙂

    • twoblackdoggies May 13, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      Summer would be nice but the crowds and the heat would drive me nuts, although I can’t imagine it being as hot as it gets here. I have a feeling that some of the destinations will change, not too drastically though because there are a few ‘non-negotiables’ 🙂

      • restlessjo May 13, 2015 / 5:24 pm

        I always prefer Spring and Autumn for travelling (even though you know I like the heat :)- it’s no fun in cities. 🙂

  7. restlessjo May 13, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    P.S I can vouch for Bruges too. Very pretty, but one November we ‘almost saw it’ in freezing fog 😦

    • twoblackdoggies May 13, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Bruges would be great, Brussels was an afterthought and could yet drop off the list altogether. I’m hoping for some of the mystical fog in Venice and maybe some Christmas markets or decorations if we time it right 🙂

      • restlessjo May 13, 2015 / 5:25 pm

        Innsbruck is a place I’m torn over- I’d like to see it in both seasons 🙂 And Vienna looks like a dream at any time of year, from photos I’ve seen!

      • twoblackdoggies May 13, 2015 / 5:36 pm

        Me too! I was there briefly many years ago and it was pouring down rain, would love to see the snow on the mountains and the town all lit up in readiness for Christmas.

  8. Languedoc Lady May 15, 2015 / 2:07 am

    Melk Abbey on the Danube near Vienna would be well-worth a side trip. And Vienna in December is beautiful. Looking forward to reading about your new adventure. Happy travels!

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