I’ve booked all of our hotels (and pre-paid some of them). I was really antsy to get the hotels in Munich because we’re going to be there near (after the official) OktoberFest. But the general plan is to fly into Geneva on a Sunday morning (leaving the states Saturday afternoon), then onto Zurich for a few days, then to Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna, and flying out of Vienna through Copenhagen. We were originally booked into and out of Frankfurt, but we’d have spent two days just on trains, so I took advantage of the free change to move our flights. I was also able to get a Saver award from Copenhagen to the states, so we’re in business class for both flights – it cost me an extra 50,000 miles. It’s a much longer overall flight (14 hours vs the 8 from Frankfurt), but most of that is a layover in Copenhagen – I’m going to see if the airport offers any quick city tours, since I’ve never been to Denmark.
Our budget for the trip is $5,000, and I think we’ll be well under that. The estimated train costs are $1000 if I buy the tickets separately with no discounts (next Oct dates are not available) – and only for the major routes (not for to and from airports, etc). I need to run some numbers to see if a 3-country RailPass ($1100) is a better option or if there are discounts available to me (like the Swiss Half-Fare card).
After the train, we expect to spend $800-$1000 on “excursions” or tours and museum entry, etc. The rest is for food. Dad wants to eat “real” fondue in Switzerland, and last I was in Zurich it was $70 per person for cheese fondue. Switzerland is just really expensive.
As a side note, you can spend a *lot* less on lodging if you go the hostel route, but Dad hates hostels, so we’re in 2-3 star hotels instead.
So far, I’ve spent 360,000 United Miles, 40,000 Hilton points, and $1610, with about $214 to pay. I used =GoogleFinance(“CURRENCY:EURUSD”) and the equivalent for CHF (Swiss Francs) to get the estimated “Still To Pay”, so as currency fluctuates between now and then I know what we’re paying. I also have several CHF and € at home that I’ve collected from my travels.
I’ve also been able to pay mostly in USD, which avoids the foreign exchange fee. I also mostly used ebates.com (2.5% cash back on hotels) to buy from Orbitz on my American Express card – which gives 2% cash back on travel purchases.