16 days, 4 guys, 1 car and 6 countries

Jul 28th, 2010, 08:53 PM
  #1  
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16 days, 4 guys, 1 car and 6 countries

I'm just coming off of reading another thread about an itinerary of 21 days and 18 cities! So I thought I should get some advice about my trip too

We're 4 friends, all landing in Paris on sep 30th morning and we have a rental car. Below is what we think we will be doing. All travel is by car

paris to munich (trying to catch the last couple of days of the Oktoberfest)
munich to lucern
Lucern to Milan (We plan a day trip to Maranello and Monza each)
Milan to Nice (Spend some time of the day in Monte Carlo)
Nice to Barcelona (We intend on spending 4 days in Barcelona)
Barcelona to Paris (Return the rental car)
Paris to Amsterdam (This could be a night train or we might keep the rental car)
Amsterdam to Paris (Depart from CDG on Oct 15)

We're not much into sight seeing but more into experiencing Europe. We're all in our late 20s and think we can handle the drive.

Is this doable and does it sound ok? This is our first trip to Europe.
4almost30 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 09:02 PM
  #2  
 
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I do not know what you mean experiencing Europe unless you are referring to drinking and women. But I can assure you will experience the roads of Euope. Please be sure that deordorant is available in large supplies.

My first question is-do you have maps and understand what you want to do?

It could be fun in a bonding type of way, but then you do not have travel to Europe to do that.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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A suggestion – calculate out the distance that you will be driving. There’s got to be an on-line distance calculator somewhere. Then estimate the driving time, assuming an average speed of say 60 km/hour. (Yep, I know that the highways should be faster – but you’ve got to enter the cities where you are staying, and that is slow. Very slow.

For instance, Paris to Munich is about 700 kilometres. That’s ten or twelve hours of motoring, so a day and a half. Nice to Barcelona is 500 kilometres, so that would be a busy day at the wheel.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:48 PM
  #4  
 
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I'm confused? Are you going to Paris 3 times? That makes zero sense.

How much time are you spending in each location? In some areas a car will be ok -Munich to Lucerne- Lucerne to Milan, Milan to Nice and Nice to Barcelona. But from there, I would take a train or fly.

Without knowning your time spent in each area though, it is hard to comment on your trip.

I would suggest this:

Arrive in Munich - go through your scheduled itinerary up to Barcelona. I would then Fly to Amsterdam ($50 a person - see www.sidestep.com )
From Amsterdam take a train to Paris spend your last few days in Paris and fly out.

Your original plan has you in Paris on 3 seperate occasions. Which isn't necessary and is a waste of your time.

I also am not sure how you will fit your original plan in to 15 days.
Day 1 arrive paris - (morning I hope) drive 8 hours to munich - so day 1 is shot..
2 Oct - Munich
3 Oct - Munich
4 Oct - drive to Lucerne (4 hrs)
5 Oct Lucerne - drive to Milan at night(3hrs)
6 Oct Milan - day trip
7 oct Milan - day trip
8 Oct Milan to Nice (3hr drive)
9 Oct Nice/Monte Carlo
10 Oct - Nice to Barcelona (6hr drive)
11 oct Barcelona
12 Oct flight to Amsterdam in am -
13 Oct Amsterdam - night train to Paris
14 Oct Paris
15 oct Paris - depart

As you can see, you have NO time for anything anywhere. You need to cut down or change your time in areas. I dont see how you will get 3 days in Milan (Maranello day trip and Monza day trip). You can't expect to drive at night and then feel up to going out the next day and doing things. Not to mention the fact that I'm sure your going to want to go out and drink a bit and have some fun. I think it would be much more enjoyable to do Paris, Barcelona, Munich and Amsterdam in your 15 days. You can arrange something much better that way.
chazzarelli is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:51 PM
  #5  
 
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<<< paris to munich (trying to catch the last couple of days of the Oktoberfest) >>>

Well that's simple then as sometime on day 1 in their 8 hour drive after a long haul flight they'll be wrapping themselves round a tree / bridge or someone else's vehicle.

Day 2 etc will be in hospital, jail or a morgue
alanRow is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 11:02 PM
  #6  
 
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They really should fly into Munich and out of Paris to do this trip...

It doesn't matter if they are 20 or 40.. driving that much after long flights and driving all that distance in a short amount of time just isn't going to be enjoyable.
chazzarelli is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 01:05 AM
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Can anyone make sense of Aduchamp's remark? Why assume because men are young and they are not coming to Europe for sightseeing then it's all about women and drinking for them? They obviously are interested in cars and driving, urban vibe and cultural differences. They could be gay for all you know. Plenty of retirees come onto Fodor's all the time and post: "We're really more into wine and soaking up the atmosphere than sightseeing", and nobody feels a need to insult them.

Dear 4 guys,

The biggest problem with your itinerary is that European cities are not car friendly and you will be spending a fortune to park your car in them. Highways in Europe are not free -- you pay tolls -- and gas is very expensive. On top of that, hotel bills are enormous in most of the cities that you want base in.

You really aren't doing anything interesting with your car rental. You're not getting off the beaten track or seeing spectacular scenery. If you want a car for the fun of driving, just rent one part of the time in Italy (where you do need it to get to Maranello).

Skip the French coast. In October, there's little fun to it. Pick up your beach time in Barcelona.

So I suggest:

If you've are already bought your air tickets and are locked into Paris-Paris, then fly into Paris, take a train to Munich. Take another one to Milan. Pick up a car in Milan, see Monza and drive to Maranello (I would spend the night near Maranello.) Drive to Genoa, drop off the car and get on the overnight ferry to Barcelona. From Barcelona, fly to Amsterdam. Train to Paris.

I think you would do better to eliminate at least one city, and possibly two. I admit I don't like Barcelona, so that would be the first place I'd ditch. After Maranello, fly from Pisa or Bologna to Amsterdam. You've given yourself so little time in Paris, i'd say skip that to and fly out of Amsterdam if you can. (Paris has the least night life of all the places on your list.)

I can't tell if the inspiration for your trip was the fun of driving through Europe or about coming to Europe to having fun with people your own age. If it's mainly about driving, you've picked a really boring driving itinerary that will keep you whizzing on depressing toll roads with trucks only to pay a lot of money to park your car for days at a time. You're not getting any fun out of having a car. Just hassle and huge expense.

If it's about having fun in cities, take the train, the plane, the boat.

If it's about having fun driving, get a book of scenic drives in Europe and pick a few that have good weather in the autumn.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 01:32 AM
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If you already have flights and rental car booked, then I think you need to rethink things a bit. The distances you want to travel a huge, and will take days of driving.

Motorways in some European countries have tolls which will add to your costs. Petrol is not cheap, which will also add to it, and hotels near motorways are also not cheap. Parking in cities is either not cheap and/or nigh on impossible.

Do not attempt to drive any long distance on your first day - you will be jet lagged and driving will be dangerous, especially aiming to drive on motorways where you will go into automatic pilot, and could easily fall asleep.

Look at a map, or an online directions site - see how far apart the places are you want to visit, see how long it takes to get there - then add 20% to the time stated.
Even if you all take turns driving that it a lot of time to spend in a car together, and could test even the best friendshiip

If you haven't already booked the car then read Zeppole's suggestions - and see how you all feel about that instead.
hetismij is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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You are getting some great advice here, dudes - read it all carefully and consider making some changes to your itinerary.

You are going to spend a lot of time in the car, cars are small - city driving in Europe is scary, highway tolls, gas, not cheap - it is way different than driving across the USA. You will spend too much money to garage your car in these cities.

Tweak your plans, have a great trip.
socaltraveler is online now  
Jul 29th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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It is doable and obviously at least one of you is 25 and IF all four of you are going to drive then the distances which probably seem enormous to many Europeans probably will seem small to you.

There are alternatives such as budget flights but it sounds as if you have decided on the rental car as the best form of transportation.

Since you've asked for advice mine would be....make sure you understand international road signs and that in countries such as France you are going to have to pay to use the roads akin to interstate highways here in the US. Also, know the rules of the road, particularly about using the passing lane ONLY for that; speed cameras, fuel prices, and parking issues. And if you are using a credit card for insurance coverage be VERY aware of what it does and does not cover, if it covers BOTH liability and collision damage, and if it acts as primary or secondary (after your own auto insurance) insurer. Also, beware or rental car agreements which REQUIRE you to accept dynamic currency conversion...a nice little revenue generator initially thought up, in part, by Hertz.

BTW, have you found a place to STAY in Munich (I ask since you are planning to visit at one of, if not the most, busy and pricey (for lodging) times of the year...rooms are still available I am sure but they book up months ahead.
Dukey is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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In addition, even if you only rent a car in Italy, be extremely careful in Italy entering cities, because most have areas where only residents may drive (they have passes) and you rental car license can be tracked down the police department and large fines imposed on you. You can search these boards or Google for the term "ZTL Italian cities" and find out what you need to know.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 09:55 AM
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As someone who has done quite a few road trips in europe -often for 3 weeks - what you have here is an extremely unpleasant plan. The only way to keep the schedules you wnat is to race up and down major highways - seeing nothing and paying a lot in tolls and gas ($8 per gallon). To make a road trip fun you have to have the time to get off the beaten path and see smaller towns, countrysdee, unique sights etc - and that will cut the distances you can cover in half in any amount of time. We try never to drive more than 4 hours in any one day - so we have time to see things along the way.

I have nothing against highways and speed if you're just getting from A to B - we usually rent an upscale car and I've done 120 (mph not kph) on the autobahn - and it was fun. But not for 7 or 8 hours straight - to be repeated the next day . . . and the next . . .
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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It's too much driving, covering too much distance, in such a short period of time. I agree with the suggestions to actually map this out & add up the hours & HOURS you'll be in that rental car.

I would cut the rental car and use trains or flights for various legs of the trip. And don't go to Paris 3 times, that makes no sense at all.
suze is online now  
Jul 29th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Before you depart Paris, I'd make a quick run to the FNAC and load up on Tarmac CDs.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 29th, 2010, 11:38 AM
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p.s. there is no night train between Amsterdam and Paris - it only takes 3.5 hours or so.
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 02:21 PM
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Zep writes:

Can anyone make sense of Aduchamp's remark? Why assume because men are young and they are not coming to Europe for sightseeing then it's all about women and drinking for them? They obviously are interested in cars and driving, urban vibe and cultural differences. They could be gay for all you know. Plenty of retirees come onto Fodor's all the time and post: "We're really more into wine and soaking up the atmosphere than sightseeing", and nobody feels a need to insult them.

Let me see. They are not interesting in sight seeing. They will drive night and day and they included Oktoberfest and Monte Carlo (gambling) in the schedule. And because of the syntax and they did not specifically say they were gay, I assumed they were hetero. This says the 11 AM tour at Heineken's in Amsterdam and playing at the tables. And I doubt they are as sensitive as you make them to be. And if I am wrong I will galdly apologize to THEM.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 09:13 PM
  #17  
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Thanks to all of you for the good advice. We will change it to not cover as much as we planned. The 3 times Paris doesn't sound right either, so we shall rectify it.

And to make peace between Aduchamp and Zeppole, and to clarify about what I meant about "experiencing Europe", this is what I have to say....

We're not interested in seeing the Colosseum in Rome, tower in Pisa, Eiffel tower in Paris or rowing our boat in Venice. We can do that in our 5th trip to Europe too and it wouldn't have changed What we're interested in is to drive around the European country side, eat the local food, taste the local wine and talk to local people (German sausages, Italian pizza, French wine, hone my Spanish and visit the pilgrimage of racing in Monza) But we also know how to party and gamble. So from our point of view, it is an exploring and experiencing trip with no expectations.

I think we will cut down on the driving as advised, although all 4 of us enjoy driving. We shall try and keep it down to a max of 6 hours a day.

BTW, we plan on using GPS navigation and are referring to viamichelin.com for travel distances and cost.
4almost30 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 10:20 PM
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When you figure in Gas, Tolls and time, you'd be better off only renting a car at a few of the locations you want to go to, and then utilize train/planes for the others.

Fly to Munich, pick up rental car after Oktoberfest activities and drive through Lucerne and on to Milan and Nice. Drop off the rental car and take a train from Nice to Barcelona, Fly to Amsterdam and then train into Paris. So you only need to drive short distances from Munich to Lucerne, Lucerne to Milan, Milan to Nice. I think this will be a quicker and more efficient trip if these are the places you will definitely be going to.
chazzarelli is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 11:23 PM
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Skip the French coast. In October, there's little fun to it. Pick up your beach time in Barcelona.

What beach time? All they'll have is service station time.

Seriously, having once been a young man myself, all of this driving does not shock me except for the expense of it. You do realize, I hope, that gasoline in Europe is more than $7 a gallon in most places -- and then there are quite a few road tolls as well. The www.viamichelin.com itinerary calculator will give you the exact cost and driving time for some of these sectors, and it might convince you to rethink some of your plans.

Are you really good friends? 4 guys in a car all day long for 21 days could be an explosive mix.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 29th, 2010, 11:43 PM
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Remember when you are sampling the local beverages that drink driving rules are very strict in Europe. The equivalent of two small (25cl) beers.

I am sure with a bit of a rethink you will have a terrific time. Try not to spend too long driving each day - it really will test your friendship.

Take a good map with you too - don't rely on GPS only.
hetismij is offline  

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