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30-day road trip 2015

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Jan 5th, 2015, 01:40 PM
  #1
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30-day road trip 2015

I've read some other road trip threads, but I still can't make up my mind about our summer 2015 30-day road trip. So for those of you who want to offer advice/opinions, I'd be grateful

This summer we are picking up a Volvo in Sweden, then taking the ferry from Sweden to Germany. We'll be driving with our 5-yr old daughter for a month. We've been to Europe about 10 times (lived there twice) and we're hoping to stay away from major cities since we'll be driving (so no Rome or Paris) This is our latest itinerary:
Goteborg Sweden -3 days
Heidelberg Germany -2 days
Verona/lake region in Italy - 3 days
Pacentro 2/3 days (this is where my family is from and cannot be taken off the list.)
Pompei - 1 day
Florence area - 3 days
Provence - 4 days
Lyon (to visit friends) 2 days
Disneyland Paris 2 days
Bruges - 1 day
Pinneberg - 1 day
Malmo - 1 day

I know everyone asks this, but is this too much driving with our 5 year old? Have other people attempted this with a young child and if so how did it go? Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Jan 5th, 2015, 01:50 PM
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Most of your drives are short enough but the ones in Italy, down to Pompeii and back to Florence then to Provence are long long days - consider breaking those up - maybe a stay in the nice Nice area would do that. Kids always love a beach!

Viareggio near Florence is a favorite of mine - neat beach and interesting town and easy day trips from there to Pisa, Lucca, Tuscan hill towns, etc.
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Jan 5th, 2015, 02:16 PM
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I wouldn't take a 5 year old to Pompeii, especially in summer. There is little shade and the walking is difficult so you'll end up carrying her for most of the visit. It's 3 hours (minimum) driving from Pacentro and then another 5 hours to Florence. Quite a bit out of the way.

If you want to see ruins that are on flat ground with much easier walking you could visit Ostia Antica, outside Rome.
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Jan 5th, 2015, 02:32 PM
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I also recommending skip Pompei due to heat concerns and also skipping Florence, especially since you say you don't want the hassles of city driving. Florence is also intensely crowded and has mainly museum attractions of zero interest to a small child (who will scarcely be able to see anything due to crowds).

Were it me, I would put in one overnight along the Adriatic coast between the Verona area and Pacentro. Then after Pacentro, I would look for a ferry crossing route through Sardinia/Corsica to Marseille. Actually, on your way to getting a ferry to Sardinia, you could visit Ostia Antica. I would try not to rush driving through the islands, just for the sake of not moving too fast with a small child who may weary of being a back seat passenger on Italy's country roads.
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Jan 5th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Wow! Thanks for the great, quick responses. I'm going to start looking into these options right away. It sounds like everyone agrees that Pompei should be skipped. Please keep the suggestions coming
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Jan 5th, 2015, 05:44 PM
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We have done more than 20 road trips in europe - adults only and this would definitely be too far and too fast for me.

We never do one night stays - do 2 or 3 in smaller places and 4 or more in larger places (but these are usually anchors at either end of the trip without a car). From the smaller towns we often do the area rather than one town.

And we avoid driving more than 4 hours per day - so we can have along stop in the middle of day for a nice lunch and sightseeing.

If I were a little kid I would be having tantrums by day 3 unless there were a lot of stops.activities along the way every day.
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Jan 5th, 2015, 05:55 PM
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When I was a kid of a bit less than 5 years my parents put me in the back seat with siblings and we drove from New York to California, doing one night each place all the way. They did stop by early evening each day so we had time to swim in motel pools or run around, and we did stop for a nice lunch each day, and we got a present for each new state we crossed into. But we didn't have tantrums. Children and parents are all so different!
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Jan 5th, 2015, 06:26 PM
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We've traveled in Europe with our daughter since she was just 14 months old (she's now 21). Most of our best trips have involved staying in a vacation rental for a week (or more). There's really the opportunity to settle in and relax, perhaps to make connections wherever you're staying, to enjoy preparing some of your own meals and spread out a bit. It's a perfect way to enjoy the summer.

If there's any way you can carve out one seven night stay (Saturday to Saturday) somewhere in your 30 days, that would be my recommendation. Fine, you'll give up a few stops... but I think you'll discover much more. And it sounds like you'll definitely be back in Europe again.

Kathy
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Jan 6th, 2015, 03:17 AM
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msilvestri,

It occurred to me later to add that instead of Ostia Antica, consider visiting Tivoli instead. The fountains are usually in full swing in summer, providing a bit of cooling, and the historic site is likely to be much more entertaining for your 5-year old than ruins. Tivoli is 90 minutes west of Pacentro (minus traffic or parking). If you were taking a ferry out of Civitavecchia, or going up the Mediterranean coast to France, you could see it along the way.
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Feb 7th, 2015, 03:59 PM
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Thanks again everyone. We are now going to stay for a full week in Abruzzo. Thanks for the suggestion. If anyone has spent a significant amount of time there and has suggestions, let me know.
Thanks again everyone!
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Feb 7th, 2015, 04:11 PM
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Use www.viamichelin.com to determine distances and estimated driving times for your itinerary.
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