2 BFF 47 yr old travel newbies

Old Sep 23rd, 2015, 08:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1
2 BFF 47 yr old travel newbies

So, the children are now grown and living their own lives - yay! My best friend and I have decided that it's about time to venture outside the US. We'd like to make it count and stay for about a month in Europe. The only MUST SEE destination is Italy, aside from that we're open to suggestions. We're not looking for a touristy or even 'fast track' kind of trip. We're both pretty chill, healthy, somewhat active, 47 yr old women who have known each other since we were 10 yrs old. We both LOVE to eat, drink and definitely meet people and be merry, although we're not looking for a party experience either, we can get that here. We want to experience the culture, the beauty, the lifestyle, the food, etc of Europe. Who knows, maybe I'll decide to stay for good
Neither of us have a lot of money and will be saving up for this over the next year. So, while we cannot afford to go 1st class, we don't need to slum it either. I know there are quite a few hostels that are actually very good, so we're certainly not 'above that'.
Any advice &/or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!
Thanks so very much!
kamah1 is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2015, 01:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,572
Hi welcome to Fodors

Not sure what BFF stands for but do you have a planned date and period for your holiday?

Hostels and monestries might be useful (but some have early close times).

I'd look at some of the medium sized cities in Italy rather than the big drawers, the mains of Venice/Florence/Roma are designed for the tourist (which is great) but I find the places like Ferrara, Padua, Mantua, Chioggia, Legnago, Faenza area actually more fun and prices are lower. While the days of the E1 coffee are more or less over in the big places you can still drink at that price in these smaller places.

I've just selected places from the Po valley, but even in Tuscany there are more laid back towns. Do stuff like Siena on a day trip from one of the nearby towns. The great thing the Po has is a bicycle culture which might be fun to explore, plus the train system is pretty dense so getting about without the hassle of car hire is easy.

I'd also head for the noisiest restaurants, not the ones with the best tripadvisor score but the noisiest and go with the flow rather try to stay in charge (I.e. let go of any Northern European/American tightness, you know what I mean, or if you don't you need to come to Italy).

If you have more than 2 weeks break then try and fit in another zone in a country. Look at say the Basque country in Spain, or the Rhine areas of Alsace and Baden just to see how the French and Germans get on.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Sep 24th, 2015, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
It's really hard for us to tell you what will appeal to you most.

Since you have so much time to plan I would review a bunch of tour itineraries (for the pix) and review a number of pictorial guidebooks (Outlook has many) to get an idea of what each of your must-see experiences are.

Then each compile a list starting with the non-negotiables and compare the two lists. This will help you pick 5 or 6 key cities (if you go for a month) that you can string together (eventually adding day trips or 1 or 2 stops in between).

Once you have chosen your key cities people here can provide a ton of info on how best to see the sights and travel between these places as well as specifics on places to stay, local transit and a wealth of other info.

For example, for me a first trip to europe would have to include London, Paris and Rome - and if I had a month I would add Florence, Venice and someplace in Switz. But then I adore big cities and can be easily bored in small towns. You need to give us your parameters.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2015, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,324
I would spend the entire month in Italy. Renting an apartment in a couple different places. Take the train around.
suze is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2015, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,324
One trip I did with a best friend was Switzerland, Venice, Paris. We have three weeks, but a month would work even better. Great trip.

I've combined Amsterdam and Switzerland (I have friends living in Switzerland is why it keeps coming up for me).

You could get a cottage in the south of France and stay there the entire time.

You could buy a rail pass and try to see a dozen places.

... you get the idea. Sky's the limit, just depends what you desire (which is hard to tell from your initial post).
suze is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2015, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,495
We rented apartments through Airbnb in Milan, Rome, and Florence. It was nice to have the extra room and be able to fix breakfast before we headed out for the day, and the prices were pretty low - less than $100 per night.

If you want to follow nytraveler's suggestions, and are willing to stay in a hostel, check www.yha.org.uk for London.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
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