I got the good news this morning- my brother was able to secure us employee rates at the Holiday Inns in London, Paris and Rome. We are averaging out about $50 a night for 9 nights (we will be staying in a family house for 3 nights out of the 12)
The only things left for us to book is the TGV (high speed bullet train) from Paris to Marseille, down south by the Mediterranean Sea. The TGV is a train with a start-to-stop average speed of 173.6 mph. Maximum speed world record is 357mph. You actually don't even feel it going that fast. Cost of the cheapest ticket is 39€, or approximately $58 (1€= $1.49 as of 10/20/09) and the train ride lasts 3½ hours. Not bad for about 500 miles of travel.
We also have to decide on a way to get from Marseille to Rome. The train ride for that trip is 12 hours on a regular train, because the TGVs don't ride there. I still have to wait on ticket prices because their website is down. A plane ticket with British Airways is 146€, but takes 6 hours. It goes from Marseille, back to their hub in London, then down to Rome. We are weighing the pros and cons against the train trip. Even though we feel it'd be nice to see the countryside, I've done 6 hours of it before, and trust me, it isn't all that great. So unless the price is half of that, we won't be considering the train.
I've managed to calculate the cost of Airfare, Hotel and the last two trains/plane, and so far, I've come up to $2425 for both of us. I won't be calculating food, attractions and shopping- we won't know how much we spent until the trip is over. But overall, we estimate a frugal $1500 each. I've capped my limit at $2000.
I also have a bank account in France with Euros, and will be using that to pay for the things when needed. Sebastian agreed to split the costs once back home. In the end, a Euro is still worth the same today and next month, whereas a dollar fluctuates. At the beginning of the year, 1€ was $1.30, so a lot has changed.
I figure it's best if he handles London, while I deal with France and Italy and their Euros.