BIG TRIP!- suggestions?

Old Mar 9th, 2002, 12:50 AM
  #1  
Jessica
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BIG TRIP!- suggestions?

A couple friends and I are planning a post- high school graduation trip beginning in early July. We know we want to go to the south of France, Italy, and Greece. We don't want to move around too much, but if any of you have any must-see or off-the-beaten-path sites...I'd love to hear about them. We really need to start planning, but we don't even know where to begin! Any suggestions??? Restaurants, museums, monuments, beaches, clubs, anything? (We are keeping it, understandably, as cheap as possible.) Thank you!!!
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 06:36 AM
  #2  
Rex
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"Cheap" is a relative term. I hate to burst your bubble, but by going in July, you're going to spend probably at least double, maybe even triple on your air fare to get TO Europe, compared to going in an off-month (March, April, October, November). You're probably going to college, so perhaps there's nothing you can do about this now, but since you said you <<don't even know where to begin>> - - where you should start is laying out an overall plan to get to Europe and back, and get from point A to B (to C) - - and do that affordably. the air fare alone might run $600 to $1200. Wise shopping might trim a few hundred dollars from this one biggest expense. And your choices need to be made in conjunction with the overall cost of moving around from place to place within europe. That a rail pass will save you money and hassle doing this is more myth than truth. you will probably want to use the trains to move around in Italy - - just buying individual tickets as needed. Check out www.railsaver.com as a way to estimate your rail travel costs. you will find a lot of other info here on this forum on learning about rail schedules and routes. the websites www.raileurope.com or www.sncf.com or www.trenitalia.com will be helpful also.

Of course, affordable can mean different things to different people, and perhaps especially at your age. My wife and I have three daughters your age, and sometimes I am not sure they totally grasp the difference between $2000 and $5000.

So you will get better advice here if you actually state how many days, and aproximately how much money is "affordable".

There is so much to see in all three places (but especially Italy), I am going to recommend that you drop one of the three. Perhaps Greece. It will cost you a minimum of an extra $200 per person to include Greece in this itinerary (and maybe more like an extra $400).

Have (any of) you traveled in Europe before at all? If no, consider starting in London. This might sound like I am contradicting myself - - adding an extra destination - - but in the process I might suggest cutting way down on the south of France. You can fly to London a whole lot cheaper than many other places; you can get acclimated to Europe with a little less frazzle factor because of the absent/reduced language barrier - - and you can fly from London to many other place in Europe very cheaply - - including the south of France and Italy.

So, I would say three days London, three days destination "A" (perhaps the south of France - - or if you skip that, maybe head straight to Venice, fo example) - - then 7-10 days in an assortment of (other) destinations in Italy. Florence might be a great "base" for you - - and eliminate moving around so much.

If you insist on going to Greece, and you are not THAT money strapped - - it still makes sense to use your money wisely. There are now cheap flights Rome-Athens on www.europebyair.com - - to get from London to other destinations your best choices a\might be www.ryanair.com or www.virgin-express.com or www.buzzaway.com or www.go-fly.co.uk to name some of the leading low-cost airlines.

You have a lot of decisions to make. Air fares for summer are lower now than they were 2 weeks ago (in some cases), and probably lower now than they will be in 2 weeks from now. I recommend that you spend some major library (or bookstore) time THIS weekend - - get a whole bunch of big picture-filled, coffee-table-sized books - - the reading is less important right now - - and make a list of what lights your fires the most. Come back with your dream list - - even if it is twice too long, and plenty of "us" will help you pare it down and make some sense of it.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 06:41 AM
  #3  
xxx
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Hi, your trip sounds wonderful (I wish I had done something like that 20 years ago)! With all due respect to the helpful people on this board who know a heck of a lot about European travel, I would recommend that you visit eurotrip.com. Fodors tends to attract a more mature, affluent crowd, but in Eurotrip, you will find a lot of young travellers who have done the same exact kind of trip that you want. Good luck!
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 07:00 AM
  #4  
zzz
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I quite agree with xxx. And it's not a matter of here versus there. Use both. Use this board like you would use advice from your parents, to make your trip more affordable, practical, safe and pack as much in as you can. Use other sources to get ideas from people closer to your own age, to hear about how to have the most fun. Use www.lonelyplanet.com too. Click on thornTree.
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #5  
under
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EXCUSE ME! I use this board a lot and I am in my early twenties...is there some sort of age limit here? You old fuddie-duddies are getting pretty insular, dontcha think? Jessica's asking about off the beaten path sites, I thought you master travellers knew all about that sort of thing!
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 07:21 AM
  #6  
yyy
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Of course, the master travelers here know about off-the-beaten-path sites. Jessica may not realize it, but the most important thing up front, is to define the beaten path that will serve as her trip's framework. Off the beaten path is a relative term, and there are so many hundreds of good places off the beaten path, that they can be added like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Need a tree first, be able to afford it, and have it stand upright. Then the lights. Then the ornaments. Then the tinsel.
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 08:09 AM
  #7  
xxx
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Hi Under, yeah I can see how my response may have sounded funny. I'll try to clarify: I guess I just assumed that Jessica was travelling on a tight budget and wanted to have fun where other young people are. If this is the case, I've done both types of travel (strict budget/backpack/hostel/sleeping-on-trains vs. more traditional, hotel) and have found the fodors board is more in line with the latter and Eurotrip or Lonely Planet with the former. It's just that we don't see too many "Where's a good place to party in Rome?" or "Is it safe to sleep at the Milan airport?" posts on Fodors, where you are apt to get more experienced responses elsewhere : )
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 08:27 AM
  #8  
tim
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First thing, try to find out if you can fly into Nice and out of Athens for a reasonable price. Then you can bus and train along the Mediterranean down to Rome and then ferry over to Greece. You very well may hook up with other young travelers while there and be able to get rides with them. If you're going really low-budget, hostels are great places for meeting people and finding out about rides, local places, etc. I would check out some hostel internation websites, I think there's one in Nice. Wish I could come with you!
 
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 09:17 PM
  #9  
ttt
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to the top
 
Old Mar 10th, 2002, 06:44 AM
  #10  
helper
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toppi
 

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