Am I crazy?!


Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:04 AM
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Am I crazy?!

I'm already pretty positive I am, but I just need some reassurance. Ok, here is the scenario: I will be traveling to Europe from July 13 to August 5. I will be flying in and out of Frankfurt. I will be renting a car and driving everywhere I go. Alright, now that we got that out of the way, here is my planned itinerary: July 13: Land in Frankfurt in the morning, drive to Tubingen Germany, and spend the night in Tubingen. July 14: Morning in Tubingen, drive to Zurich in the afternoon. July 15: Spend the morning in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, drive to Fussen Germany in the afternoon. July 16: See the Neuschwanstein Castle in the morning/afternoon, drive to Innsbruck in the evening. July 17: Morning in Innsbruck, spend the rest of the day driving through the Alps. July 18: Drive through the Alps in the morning, arrive in Venice in the afternoon. July 19: Venice. July 20: Venice in the morning/afternoon, drive to Florence in the evening. July 21: Morning in Florence, drive to Rome in the afternoon. July 22: Rome. July 23: Spend the morning in Rome, drive to Pisa in the afternoon. July 24: Drive to the La Spezia, and train to the Cinque for the morning/afternoon, drive to Nice, France in the evening. July 25: Drive from Nice to Montpellier along the French Riviera. July 26: Drive from Montpellier to Barcelona in the morning, spend afternoon in Barcelona. July 27: Barcelona. July 28: Barcelona in the early morning, then begin drive to Paris. Stay in Clermont-Ferrand (or somewhere in between Barcelona and Paris). July 29: Drive the rest of the way to Paris in the morning, spend the rest of the day in Paris. July 30: Paris. July 31: Paris. August 1: Drive from Paris to Brussels, to Amsterdam, in the morning/afternoon/early evening. Fly to London at around 9 P.M. August 2: London. August 3: London. August 4: Fly back to Amsterdam in the early morning, and tour around Amsterdam for a few hours (possibly rent a boat to drive around the canals). Drive back to Frankfurt possible making a detour to drive between Koblenz and Bingen along the Rhine, spend the night in Frankfurt. August 5: Leave Frankfurt at noon.
So what do you think? I'm pretty positive you think you think I am crazy, but maybe not. Let me know what you think; any suggestions on places I left out that I should go, any places I shouldn't go, any medications to help with my insanity. But seriously I want to hear your input. So let me know! Thanks!
colinj is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:09 AM
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If you like spending your vacation driving in a car all day then I think you'll be fine. And I think you already know what fodorites will say.
emily71 is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:11 AM
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I think you've answered your own question. Yes you are crazy. What on earth do you think you will see, other than motorways and service areas? When I go on holiday I stay in one place for two weeks and take day trips, obviously or perhaps not I am shall we say more mature, even when I did that sort of holiday, without the driving I returned home exhausted. Choose two or three destinations and spend TIME exploring instead of rushing around Europe like a ...... not too sure what. Just to pick one city you are planning on spending two days in London at the end of your trip what do you intend to see in those two days?
tipsygus is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:12 AM
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I stopped reading at July, 18th. Gave me a headache only reading about it ... Like Emily said, it's driving all the time, checking in/out, grabbing a bite to eat, sleeping. No time for sightseeing at all.

Yes, crazy.
Ingo is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:17 AM
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You left out Vienna, Prague, Budapest, the whole of Sweden, Helsinki and the Feroe Islands.
Your plan is indeed crazy. You make absolutely no allowances for traffic (July and August are the worst time for driving . in Italy, Spain and France). You'll lose the little spare time you have looking for hotel rooms. If I were you I'd sleep and eat in the car )
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:25 AM
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Zerlina is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 02:26 AM
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Not sure how serious you are but it's a bad plan. It made my head spin but one thing that stood out was, why drive all the way from Paris to Amsterdam, via Brussels, to then fly to London? That's just silly. Get the Eurostar from Paris to London, much quicker and if you book early enough, it's cheap too.

Also have you looked into one way drop off fees with hire cars, you may find them very expensive. I'm guessing you haven't driven in Europe before and have no idea about how long things will take. Navigating and parking in cities in Europe will be difficult, one reason why people take the train. If you are really taking the trip then you need to re-plan - drastically.

KayF is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 03:38 AM
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I like to drive, but . . . .

1. The problem for many of these cities is that you can't or shouldn't drive anywhere near the places you would go there to see. So not only do you spend a lot of time on the superhighway, you have to park outside somewhere you have never been and get yourself into the town center where the good stuff is.

2. Maybe the highways in the Alps are scenic, but I can tell you from recent experience that much of Northern Italy has all the charm of Elizabeth, NJ as seen from the Jersey Turnpike, which is how you will be seeing it. Ditto suburban and industrial France.

3. You don't say where you are from, but driving in many of these places is horrendous. People in LA whine,but Atlanta and Boston are worse as are Dallas and Washington in their own ways. Think Boston (mean drivers) combined with Atlanta (unpredictable drivers) at 90 mph in traffic volumes like LA or Washington DC at rush hour, only moving.

4. Fuel and tolls are going to cost you a fortune. Tolls are much higher than in the US, much higher, and you will need to carry a bag of cash to pay them because you won't have an EZPass and the machines won't take your credit card. Our VW Golf diesel was very economical but it cost about 65 euros per fill and may have been more. My credit card worked fine at the pump in Italy, but that won't be the case in France. More cash. And you are going to do what with this money and your other stuff while your car is sitting in a public parking lot while you zip into Florence?
Ackislander is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 03:49 AM
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Way too much typical rookie newbie mistake which I made a lot. These days I save by paring back train like a local spend quality time in a few supernice areas I want to experience rather than touring the inside of a rental car at a high price on a high pressure road trip.If you do elect car rental the reanault euroleases save me a tonne on mileage and drop off.Train like a local cheaper though.Avoid train pass a BIG rip.Good luck you will need it.

qwovadis is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 03:54 AM
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I don't think driving that distance on your first day, on German motorways is sensible or safe.

If you are on your own, and have taken into account the hours of driving, the tolls, parking fees, high cost of fuel, and possible one way drop off fees then go for it.
Are you setting your itinerary in stone - pre-booking everything? If not you have some flexibility in your plans and can make you driving days shorter, or stay somewhere longer that you like, and miss out other bits.
The roads will be crowded and you are likely to hit jams at weekends at that time of year.

If you were to choose a more leisurely trip, you would save money on fuel etc, see more, and have money over for the next time, when you could see another part of Europe.

You can save money by filling up off the motorways - at supermarkets or in towns near the motorway. You will have to pay attention to opening times though so you can pay at a till not at an automatic machine. Also going off the motorways onto smaller roads will give you more to see, and mean you are not so bored, making you less likely to have an accident, and saving on some tolls. However it will be slower so you can see less places on your list.

Don't forget to get an IDP if you are driving in Italy.
hetismij2 is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 04:57 AM
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Hi C,

Have you considered slowing down and actually visiting Europe instead of zooming through it?

ira is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:12 AM
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My two favorite days were July 15 where you see two countries in one morning and August 1 when you drive from Paris to Amsterdam just to get a plane to London. LOL Did you know that you could take a train from Paris to London and it would take half the time?

You could leave your car in Paris and return to Paris, pick up the car and then drive to Amsterdam for a few hours. You'll save yourself a half day doing it this way. You could add Luxembourg to your itinerary half day.
adrienne is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 06:18 AM
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One more vote for YES. Or at least your plan is crazy. Is this to settle a bet or are you really interested in seeing Europe. You won't with this itinerary.
mamcalice is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 06:21 AM
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artsbabe is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 06:38 AM
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Not a troll. Just someone with too much spare time who likes to get into a tin can with the sun beating down on him for 8 hours a day and drive lots and see little. Everyone has their own definition of fun.

We do know from this itinerary that he's not green!
adrienne is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:03 AM
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How many sets of tires will this trip require?

Instead of a rental, why not a brand new car? You can spare the air and achieve a more varied travel experience by visiting your local car dealers at home - spend a few hours every day for 3 weeks sitting in each of the models. By August 5, with the fuel and travel money you save, you can afford to take your favorite car home with you.
Russ is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Absolutely manic! Agree with the other posters and would add that you use first person singular ("I") meaning you will have no navigator which is essential. You have not even allowed time to find your way back after you get lost on the road which is inevitable. You will have done all that driving and seen nothing! Not to mention, you will be very lonely. The best travel experiences involve connecting with people, not just sight seeing.

My guess is that you are on the young side and this is your first trip to Europe. Odds are that you will have future trips so relax, you don't need to see it all first time!

Get a rail pass (or pack light for use of low cost air carriers) and scale your countries back to two or three max. If you must rent a car, pick a small country area or two (max) for touring small towns/villages. You can also book guided (or not) day trips from all of the big cities.
LeslieC is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:04 AM
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In addition to all the other comments, and I agree with all of them, you can't even bring the car into Venice.

Now, I've done a couple of "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" kind of trips, but this is more of an "If It's Tuesday, This Must be Switzerland, Lichtenstein & Germany!"
Surfergirl is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Colinj, truly, although there are some areas of Europe that are quite scenic, there are also areas that are quite dull driving. such as between Milan and Venice. Flat fields for hours and hours. And even in the scenic areas you will not see much because you will be concentrating on the roads. And the traffic. You will not have time to stop and look at anything because you have to go so far each day.

It is literally true you cannot drive into many cities, where the sights are. Venice, of course. But Florence, Bologna, Siena, etc. do not allow unregistered cars in the center of town. If you drive in anyway, your photo will be taken and months later ypu will receive a whopping fine ($350 or so) for each violation, through the rental car agency.) You have to park at a distance, at high cost, leaving your belongings in the car to bake for hours and perhaps get stolen, and take public transportation to see the sights.

And as someone else said, the day you arrive in Europe you will be jet-lagged. your body will think it is the middle of the night. You can fall asleep at the wheel. My son-in-law scoffed at this advice, and insisted on driving from Milan to Carrara (four hours) on the day we arrived. He fell asleep at the wheel four times, in spite of fueling himself with too mammy espressos, which just made him jumpy and irritable. It was a terrifying ride!!! Thank God we were not killed.

And finally, what will you have really seen after this?
charnees is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 10:06 AM
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Are there any great sights in Europe like incredible cathedrals, museums, etc. that you actually want to see? Do you want to sit at cafes and experience a bit of Parisian life? Do you want to walk down any tiny medieval streets and feel the mystery of the past?

If there is nothing like this that you actually want to see or experience, then you are fine. If you enjoy the opportunity to spend hours smelling fumes from other cars, and being delayed by traffic so much that you have to skip sightseeing some days, you will love it. If you don't mind looking for expensive parking on the outskirts of cities like Florence, then taking the bus into the city and having only a couple of hours to try to see some of the finest works of art and architecture in the Western World before heading back to more hours in your car, then you have a good plan for yourself.

However, if you want to see and experience life in Europe, then your plan won't work. Your plan lets you spend tons of money traveling to Europe and traveling around Europe so that you can spend hours in your car seeing nothing. If you just want to drive around a lot, you might as well do that at home and save airfare.
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