The Departure – Airberlin Flight & 20 Hours in Dusseldorf
Four days in Ancient Rome
Visiting Paradise in Cinque Terre
Relaxing in Florence
Westin Europa & Regina Hotel and Exploring Venice
Park Hyatt Vendome Paris and Surroundings
Grand Hyatt Berlin and 18 Hours in Berlin
What is a Backpacking Honeymoon?
This is a term I made up which combines backpacking across Europe, staying at nice apartments and hotels, all on a budget. People who hear the phrase “backpacking around Europe” quickly think staying hostels where you share a room and bathroom with 8 different people. Contrary to the fact, I was able to backpack across Europe, stay in 5-star hotels, and stay on a “backpackers” budget.
Ever since I started credit card churning, I’ve found myself with more points and miles than I can spend. Since our Kauai trip only required about 130,000 points and miles, I still had a stash of American Airlines miles from 2x 75,000 credit card sign up bonuses(dead now) and a good stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards to spend on nice Hyatt hotels or flights. I decided to look for ways to spend the AA miles and read that AA has the worse planes and British Airways is the nicest. However, most of the dates showed no availability on AA or BA probably because of the Olympics.
After searching for options, I stumbled upon Airberlin business class tickets from Los Angeles to Dusseldorf. I’ve actually never heard of Dusseldorf, but it didn’t matter because Airberlin had business class availability to Rome connecting through Dusseldorf. I couldn’t find much information on Airberlin but it seemed better than AA and cheaper than BA. I thought about it, asked the wife, and pulled the trigger! Actually had to call AA to book the tickets, but now you can book them through AA.com as I described earlier. The wife also wanted to go to Paris, so I luckily found a return flight from Orly, Paris to Los Angeles with a connecting in Berlin. The connection times were not that ideal, so I decided to make Dusseldorf into about an 16 hour layover and Berlin into about a 21 hour layover. You can make up to 24 hour layovers on AA or United when you are traveling internationally. I saw this as a way to visit 2 extra cities for free!
We departed from Los Angeles, flew directly to Dusseldorf and connected onwards to Rome (our destination). We then traveled to the picturesque towns of Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice. We then took an EasyJet plane ride from Venice to Paris. On our return flight we fly out from Paris back to Los Angeles, while stopping in Berlin for 21 hours.
Here is our final itinerary. Seven cities in 15 days:
6/23/12 – Los Angeles to Dusseldorf (LAX-DUS) on Airberlin Business Class
6/25/12 – Dusseldorf to Rome (DUS-FCO) on AB Economy
6/29/12 – Rome to Cinque Terre (FCO-?) Train
7/1/12 – Cinque Terre to Florence (?-FLR) Train
7/3/12 – Florence to Venice (FLR-VCE) Train
7/5/12 – Venice to Paris (VCE-CDG) on EasyJet
7/8/12 – Paris to Berlin (ORY-TXL) on AB Economy
7/9/12 – Berlin to Los Angeles (TXL-LAX) on Airberlin Business Class
Since this trip was done before blogging, my pictures of flights and hotels might be limited. I am going to try to report only on the highlights of our European backpacking honeymoon . Next post will be the cost breakdown of the trip.