21, 18 and 6 year old trip to Europe

Jul 4th, 2017, 09:45 PM
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dreamon already stated it above: make sure your older travelers can wander a bit. There's a big age difference between them and the 6 year old international traveler. You can do them a huge favour by taking the junior traveler under your wing and by staying in a location long enough (London and another one) for them to get their bearings and strike out on their own. Also, you 6yo will have very hazy memories of your trip, later on, but your older ones will remember every excruciating detail if you keep them caged.
menachem is online now  
Jul 5th, 2017, 02:58 PM
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I take it you haven't spent much time with kids that age, PalenQ?

You'd get some travel guidebooks from the library. Or read some stories about various cities or countries together. Pull up photos online, same way the rest of us might choose where to go.

A 6 year old kid can express what looks interesting to them. Give them some specific choices. They could choose between going to this castle or taking a boat ride on this lake or touring a chocolate factory or taking the tram up the mountain. Like that.
suze is online now  
Jul 6th, 2017, 09:59 AM
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ok suze: do you have very vivid memories of your life as a 6 year old? you will, but of totally incongruent aspects, certain vivid moments etc. I took my son to London when he was 6. Admittedly, his memory works in mysterious ways. Be that as it may, his overriding memory of that holiday was walking through Hyde Park with a takeaway hot chocolate. And watching the planes at Heathrow.
menachem is online now  
Jul 6th, 2017, 01:25 PM
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I agree that this has gone off topic. A holiday like this isn't about what you remember but should be of the moment and having a great time while you're travelling.

For the OP, if it were me, in 2 weeks with a family, I'd choose maybe 3 destinations, with one being a city, one a small/medium town, and one small village/rural and all preferably a train ride apart. Any of the countries you've mentioned have heaps to offer, but keep in mind that Switzerland is very expensive. Also look out for deals like passes, 2for1 offers (especially London), etc. An apartment can save you money if you're interested in self catering. I'd also investigate obtaining student ids which will be accepted over there.

Not sure it's entirely relevant but my children are also 21 and 18 and when we've taken them to Europe, they loved hiking in the mountains of Switzerland, shopping in London, cycling around Bodensee, exploring Les Baux, buying breakfast from the bakery in France using their school French, buying glass beads in Venice, eating copious amounts of gelati in Italy, visiting Cite des Sciences in Paris. We fit in some art, museums and churches but they weren't so interested in those. If I were to take them now, I'd try to rent an apartment, some days give them a key and send them off together with an agreement to meet for lunch/dinner, and on other days go exploring together. We've also found splitting up: boys in one direction; girls in the other works well occasionally. However, I'm sure you know all this stuff already. In regards to picking a destination, it's hard to advise you as there is simply so much choice in the places you've mentioned, plus the ones you haven't. Nothing beats a few guidebooks from your local library. Good luck with your planning (if you haven't already given up on this thread!). I think your kids are very fortunate (as mine have been) and you'll have a brilliant time - and yes, lots of memories too.
dreamon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2017, 07:33 AM
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Thanks so much all!! Family would like to do Southern France, Switzerland and Amsterdam. I like doing a train so we don't have to deal with driving and would look at staying in apartments. anyone done something like this trip and has ideas? Southern France is huge, so any suggestions as to location would be great!
sdksavona is offline  
Jul 7th, 2017, 07:37 AM
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2 weeks - S France, Switzerland, Amsterdam

Fly into Nice - good base for Riviera

Train to Avignon - heart of tourist Provence - great base for several nearby sights

Train to Lake Geneva, Switzerland via Lyon

Switzerland - say Interlaken area - the epitome of the awesome Alpine Switzerland you perhaps have in your minds' eyes

Fly to Amsterdam (a day-long train ride)

Fly out of Amsterdam
PalenQ is online now  
Jul 7th, 2017, 07:44 AM
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I also would list the Museum of Childhood and London Transport Museum as fantastic museums for kids of all ages...including parents.

ssander is offline  
Jul 7th, 2017, 09:07 PM
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I agree that Nice and Avignon make great bases for a heap of day trips (by train and bus), the Bernese Oberland is glorious and Amsterdam is a wonderful city but you would have some long journeys. I would check rome2rio.com and bahn.de for journey times.

If you are not fixed on those destinations I'd probably try to choose places a little closer together or accept that you'll sacrifice a fair amount of time to travelling. Nice to Zurich might make a better alternative. Or Amsterdam to Zurich. You'd still have some long journeys but not quite as much - and still a lot to see and do.
dreamon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2017, 09:56 PM
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With only two weeks I would limit the moving about.. I like Sassafrass idea.. each child picks one destination.. yes you can "help" the 6 yr old by giving them some ideas of main sites in a few places.. but the older ones should be able to not only pick a city , but compose a list of places they want to see. I had my kids doing that independently by age 11. They all know how to google by that age..lol

I also do not think museums should be off the list.. but avoid long painting galleries.. even the Louvre has stuff to interest kids ( many parents swear by the kids trails and getting the kids intersted by buying a few postcards in teh gift shop and having a scavenger hunt to find those exhibits) My boys liked the Medival Louvre and Napoleons apartments.

I do think this trip has to go low key .. as a small child I was taken to europe.. and I mostly remember enjoying parks, ice cream, and a few of the major sites ( like seeing the Eiffel Tower) .. churches bored me.. but I liked things like climbing bell towers etc..
justineparis is offline  
Jul 24th, 2017, 06:15 PM
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In Switzerland, for mountains like in the stories involving Heidi, go to the small car free villages of Mürren or Wengen. The Bernese Oberland is one of my favorite place on Earth. Just google the name and you will see what I am talking about.

Your three areas, south of France (Provence or Côte d'Azur?), Amsterdam and Switzerland are like a puzzle of transportation. It can be done but extensive research will need to happen.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Jul 25th, 2017, 06:23 AM
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Just google the name and you will see what I am talking about:

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