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4 countries in 15 days w/ 2 teenagers - crazy?

4 countries in 15 days w/ 2 teenagers - crazy?

Mar 4th, 2008, 09:20 AM
Original Poster
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4 countries in 15 days w/ 2 teenagers - crazy?

My husband and I and our 2 teenage daughters (13 & 15) are heading to Europe for their first trip. My original plan was to "do" Italy in two weeks, and give them a really great feeling of what Italy is all about. BUT...then I began thinking about all the wonderfully different languages, foods and cultures that I wanted them to experience and decided that a trip to see a bit of many different places would be really exciting for their first time. Preliminarily, my plan is to see Paris (3nts/city), fly to Cinque Terre (3nts/beach/relax), train to Venice (3nts/city), fly or boat? to Dubrovnik (3nts/city & beach), fly to Prague (3nts/city).
thetravellingmom is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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Let them do that when they take their college trip to Europe. My vote is for 2 weeks in one region--that way they will get a feel for a place and pick up some of the language.
Traveling as a couple is exhausting enough, I can't imagine moving two teens around at that pace, plus the added costs or flying around to far flung places.
yorkshire is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Yes, you are ;-)

I can only tell you that I did something similar to what you are proposing for a variety of reasons last June/July. I would not re-do that same trip and we have cut back a lot on our next trip over 12 days (including travel time). We are spending one night in London (and not intending or going to try to do much - just rest or if we are up to it head out) Taking the Eurostar to Brugges the next day and spending 2 nights in Brugges and then seven nights in Paris.


And we had more time then you... one thing that is pointed out here over and over that one might not fully comprehend until you are traveling is how much time the day of transist really eats up..and the stress of packing, unpacking etc.

Now with teens, a change of scenery is nice so I get that.

I thought that perhaps we would never get back so I wanted to see as much as possible - like yourself.

Do you have your airfare yet? If so try to do an open jaw so you do not have to back track.

I do recommend apartments because it is nice to spread out and nice for the $$ to be able to eat breakfast and a few meals in. It will save you a lot of $$ over all.

We did as I replied in another post spring for a hotel in Paris and in Montreux (in Montreux because we were only there for 3 nights.

When you nail down where you are flying in and out of you will get a lot of great feedback. I do recommend only moving 3 times or so in a 15 day period (does that include your travel time and where are you orginating?)

This is a GREAT forum and you will get great advice!
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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I agree with the others and would do your original suggestion of doing Italy in 2 weeks (and even that will be hard to do!). With two teenage girls I would definitely not leave out Rome!!

Here are two my two trip reports from our two trips to Italy with our kids. The first one was 2 weeks seeing Rome, Venice and Florence. The 2nd one was 3 weeks doing Piedmont, LIgurian coast, Tuscany and Rome. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34599242

A change of scenery is important but my kids also liked becoming familiar with a place and knowing how to get around a bit. Keep in mind too, that moving so much also increases the cost of the trip as the transportation from country to country can be more expensive.

Since as you mentioned this is their "first trip", I assume it won't be their last and you will have opportunities to travel and explore those other places in more depth.
jgg is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Hi T,

>My original plan was to "do" Italy in two weeks, and give them a really great feeling of what Italy is all about.

Excellent idea.

>4 countries in 15 days w/ 2 teenagers - crazy?


ira is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Gotta love Ira - short and sweet
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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If this is the only trip your daughters are likely to have to Europe in the foreseeable future, then I say go for it. Otherwise would stay in Italy as others suggest.

A college trip to Europe isn't a given among most people I know, but maybe it's different for you.
LAwoman is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Another vote for staying with Italy. Fly into Venice and stay there 4 nights, train to Florence for 6 nights with a couple of daytrips to Tuscan towns, train to Rome for 5 nights, fly home from Rome. Or if you want to rent a car for a few days, split the Florence time to 3 nights in Florence and 3 right in a town in southern Tuscany.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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I should add travelingmom - I came home literally so tired that I desired a vacation from my vacation. I said I would never go back to Europe (see: leaving and now counting the days till 12-22-08 LOL)...don't do it ;-)
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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It's not a given, I did not have one myself, but it is pretty pessimistic to think after a trip as teens that they'll never return, no?
That kind of hustle-bustle trip sounds like a college trip to me, and less like a family trip.
yorkshire is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:04 AM
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Our first trip to Europe was with our 9 yr. old and 14 yr. old. We were going to be gone 30 days and after my husband looked at my first proposed itinerary - he laughed. I too felt we needed to see every famous site and then some. It incorporated England, France and Italy. After reworking the itinerary we flew into Paris (spent 3 nights)then the remainint time we explored Venice, Florence, Rome, Tuscany. We've made return trips and have made up for what we didn't do the first time. Remember - move quickly enough to keep the kids interested but don't eat up your precious time with travel time and moving from hotel to hotel.
caroltis is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Although I prefer to stay in a single city on vacation, as long as we have at least three nights in one spot, we do okay.
missypie is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:11 AM
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I agree with most of the other posters...if you cram in all that, your memories will just be one big blur and you may all not be speaking to each other. Italy is a fabulous choice for a first trip with teens!!! Food works (pizza, pasta, gelato), people are friendly, the language isn't that difficult. When are you going??? If summer, you could stay at an agritourismo, do morning/lunch excursions, and come back and sit by a pool in the late afternoon. Or you could rent an apartment for a week in Cinque Terra. With two weeks, I'm not even sure I'd try to fit in Venice...maybe Rome, Florence and Tuscany or Cinque Terra.
peggionthego is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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I like your idea peg! I will say that my family continues to bemoan that they did not get to Venice though. My girls really wanted to see it but I could not make it work on our last trip.
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Our best family trips with younger kids and teenagers have been ones where we stayed in one place most of the time with plenty of day trips. This approach allows us to rent houses or apartments which are generally more space/value for the money.

2 weeks in Italy would allow you to sample several cities and get in the beach time you want
Vttraveler is online now  
Mar 4th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium. enough said. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Add up all of the time you'll need to spend traveling between cities, checking in and out of hotels and packing/unpacking and deduct that time from your vacation. I wouldn't do more than 2 locations and definately rent an apartment. You'll save money and be much more comfortable.

margyb is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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the travellingmom,

Do have a look at this thread for some good thoughts on this.
Anniversary trip to Europe 4 cities - 13 days.
It really is similar in some ways to what you have in mind.
Sassafrass is online now  
Mar 4th, 2008, 07:50 PM
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Actually we've done 5 stops with our teenage daughters on two different 2 week trips (both trips were Germany/Austria/Prague), and really had a great time. The difference was that we were in a relatively compact region and hopped the train between each city/town that we visited. I think train travel is much easier than the hassle of dealing with airports and flights these days. Plus we like the scenery out the train window. The girls always use the train ride for down time, listening to music, writing their journals, reading guidebooks, napping, etc.

If you follow that kind of plan, it is imperative that everyone pack light - no more than a 21" suitcase and a shoulder bag/rucksack. We were able to do this for winter travel and it really helped our mobility.

On the other hand, we've also done several 10-day trips with our girls with one major destination and a day or two at a second location (London and Cardiff; Berlin and Dresden; Berlin and Erfurt is in two weeks) and I think that everyone prefers that pacing.

You really can't see all of Europe on a two week trip! I think I'd settle for 3 destinations.
noe847 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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OK...Ok...I am crazy! I understand I'm trying to do too much and am sure my girls will go back to Europe another time and do the whirlwind tour during their college years at some point. With that said, I will slim down the travelling so that it's not so frenetic. Thank you all for making me see the light!
I DO want to go to a couple of different countries though. Paris is a must! 5 days! Cinque Terre? I lived in Florence for a semester and have seen a lot of Italy (and Europe) but never went there. I'm trying to go somewhere during this trip that will be new for me too! The flight from Paris to Pisa is ony $100pp and a rather short flight. It would be nice to hike and beach it for a few days. 3rd stop???
thetravellingmom is offline  

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