EuroTrip 2024: Planning Planes, Trains and Hotels


This year, after all the pains of applying for a visa and the anxiety of booking three weeks for hotels almost blindly, my family finally came to visit Europe.

As Filipinos, the goal was to visit as many of the popular European cities like Paris, Rome, and Venice.

As someone who has lived in Europe for almost 1010 years now, my goal was to make sure they don’t get lost because we ended up with a tight schedule. How tight? Well. Let’s answer that in the next section.

The Itinerary

One big question is, how many cities in three weeks?

As someone who now lives in Europe, and all my European friends and colleagues agreed, the magic formula is 33 to 55 days per city.

My family, who spent a good amount of money for the flights and a good amount of time for the visa application, we had to visit 77 countries and as many cities as possible.

We finally negotiated and arrived at 1010 cities within three weeks. With 11 to 22 full days per city.

The cities to visit are:

  1. Paris
  2. Rome
  3. Florence
  4. Venice
  5. Munich
  6. Berlin
  7. Leiden (because I studied there, and it is a suitable Amsterdam replacement)
  8. Brussels
  9. Bordeaux (because I also studied there, and it’s a great city)
  10. Lourdes

How The Visa Application Process Affects Booking

The visa application process dictated when we had to reserve their trains, planes, and hotels. We had a rule where no itinerary planning would be done before taking care of these three things.

The Big Flight

The plane ticket had to be booked before the visa application. That in itself is already stressful. Booking a flight with no assurance that you can even take it because you are not 100100% sure that your visa application will be approved.

The Hotels

Hotels had to be booked during the visa application. But with a website like, most hotels let you cancel up to a day before. So one strategy was to take many random hotels without spending too much time but making sure that they are all refundable. That way, once you get your visa, you can look at the fine print more closely and book better value hotels.

The Trains

For trains, you can either get a Eurail pass or do it yourself.

Eurail Pass

In Europe, Interrail is usually used by travelers who are flexible and would like to book a few days or hours in advance.

My family used a Eurail pass, the equivalent of Interrail for non-European residents. This had the advantage of giving them a way where they could find all the trains between any two cities they want without even knowing which train companies operate in which country.


For my case, I looked at each ticket a few months before the travel date and found that booking the trains separately was more economical than taking an Interrail but not by a whole lot. I would also take a guess that this ended up being the case because I was booking months in advance.

I am not sure how much of a headache it would be for someone not from Europe because the train operators usually ask for things like addresses and phone numbers. Plus you now have to read all the fine print of several different train companies in several different languages.

But hey, at least you get to immerse yourself into the culture!

For what it’s worth, here are the websites of the train service providers in each country.

I also booked some Eurostar trains for some trains through the Netherlands, Belgium,and France.

Bonus Section: Night Trains

Night trains were also considered. However, my family did not want to risk not having a good night’s sleep in case we got unlucky with a bumpy ride.

I can’t confirm or deny this concern because we did not try it. But if you want to give it a shot, here are some websites to get you started:

Night trains end up more expensive than chaining several morning trains. However, if you consider the fact that:

  1. you don’t need to take a hotel for that night, and
  2. you don’t lose daylight stuck in a train,

then it might be an option for you!

Next Time

At this point, we haven’t even planned what we would do in each city yet. This is just planning the bare minimum. For the next few posts in this series, I would write about how we figured out which places to go to and some more travel tips in each of the 1010 cities.

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