Ok, I could use some advice! My husband and I are thinking about visiting some friends in Scotland this summer and would like to see a bit more of Europe at the same time. We plan to spend 5 days to a week in Scotland - we've spent 3 weeks backpacking before, so we really just want to see some of the things we missed and hang with our friends, possibly in a housekeeping cottage on one of the islands. They'll definitely be a great source of planning info for that.
From there, though, I was thinking we could head to England, France and Italy. Trust me, I hope to eventually see pretty much all of Europe, but for now we need to economize our time and money somewhat, and just spend a few days in a few places. We thought the gradual southward movement would also help in making the journey as efficient as possible.
So I was thinking, with not a lot of time, we may want to see the "biggies" in each country, plus maybe one or two other destinations that draw us as we travel - countryside, seaside village, whatever. For instance London to Dover would make sense, likewise Paris to Nice, then Rome to pretty much anywhere since we would likely fly out of Italy. Or perhaps Florence then Rome and fly out of there. Those cities are just my first thoughts though, and I don't know if they're the best choices. Also wondering how much time we should devote to each.
I'm also finding it tricky to plan for train and bus travel from a distance. We don't want to catch any more flights than we have to, it's pretty expensive and we want to see the countryside, but flights are the easiest to plan for it seems. We also may want to make some last-minute changes once we're over there and I'd rather not be locked into a flight schedule. I guess I'm wondering how actual Europeans travel? What is the best website to go to for rail ticket estimates? How much can we expect to pay for train rides? And accommodations, that's a whole other matter. We've done the hosteling thing before and would do it again.
Any advice would help me. This is still in the early stages, so there's plenty of room for adjustment. Many thanks!