Finally decided on Italy!

Sep 27th, 2013, 11:45 AM
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Finally decided on Italy!

My classmates and I finally decided to travel to Italy in December for our senior trip. We will be about 30 17 year olds. We'll be spending 3 nights in Rome and 3 in Florence, I just wanted advice on whether Italy is a good choice? Variety of Activities? How easy it is to communicate in English? and if you have anything special to suggest?
Thankk youuu
nourhamza is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Italy is the most beautiful, most historical and all around best country in Italy to visit, in my opinion. In Florence and Rome, you should not have a problem communicating in English.

Without knowing what you all like to do (and with 30 people there are probably many combinations of interests), hard to know what activities to recommend: both cities are great for looking at architecture, visiting historic churches and buildings, art museums, shopping, and eating. And of course flirting and gelato.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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Meant to say "best country in Europe"
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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sounds like it as a good choice, we are also interested in the nightlife?
nourhamza is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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For nightlife suggestions visit the thorntree forum where there are lots of students and younger people.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Thirty people? Ok. You need to decide if you should all stay together for most activities or split up.

I think splitting up for at least part of the time would be best. There will be things that some members of the group will want to do and others will absolutely hate. It will also be much easier for smaller groups to move around.

Rome is a beautiful city, with lots of historical sites to look at. But most of those sites will cost money to get into. Keep in mind that if you buy entry tickets in advance and parts of the group don't want to go to that site it could be difficult or impossible to get any money back.

I don't really have anything to say about Florence, since it was almost thirty years since I was there. But the same warning about entry fees apply there too.

Are you taking the train or flying between the two cities? You mentioned in an earlier post that you were "responsible for setting it all up". I asked you on that thread what that meant. Do you have to arrange flights and hotel rooms? You didn't answer. I hope they aren't expecting you to book everything, because that could leave you with some nasty bills if people drop out.

Will there be any adults going with you, or only a large group of teenagers? You need to find a hotel or hostel that will accept such a large group of teenagers.

What about budget? Are you all on about the same level? It could get complicated if some of you expect four-star-hotels and others can only afford a bed in a shared dorm. Of course, splitting the group into different hotels would solve the difficulty of finding a place willing to take all of you.
anyegr is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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yes i am actually responsible for booking the flight and the hotel but I've contacted a travel agency that will help with that.

we're taking a train between both cities. I also wanted to ask about the transportation? what will be easier for such a large number? Another thing is what about activities other than museums and historical sites?

we are all on about the same budget, but thank you for drawing my attention to finding a hotel that would take us all in i had no idea that would be a problem.

Thank youu
nourhamza is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 04:21 PM
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hotels in europe - esp modest ones tend to be small and finding one with 15 rooms - and willing to take all teens will be challenging

not sure what else you want to do in rome or florence - esp in the middle of the winter.

at other times of year you could bike in the countryside - but dec it's likely to be awfully chilly
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 07:36 PM
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If you are going to work with a travel agent, take care that you are not booked into hotels that are outside the cities; travel back and forth will be awkward for both sightseeing and nightlife.
socaltraveler is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 08:14 PM
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It's an awfully long way to go for only 6 days. Seriously. You'll be effed up for the first couple of days even if you're young. That leaves 5 days, really.

30 folks navigating around two cities (and why Florence? - nice place but not so much for 17-year-olds)is going to be a possibly insurmountable problem. You can't just tool around Rome or Florence with a group of 30 with ease; in fact, it's hardly even thinkable.

Has your travel agent actually been to Rome and Florence? Often, travel agents haven't a clue about places in Europe, have never even set foot there, and just book you into places they get commissions from, which are often, as mentioned, way outside the city centers. I'd be very wary.

Frankly, it sounds like a nightmare in the making. Have you traveled to Europe before? Traveled in a group of 30 people? Have you even thought about how hard it will be to find a hotel for 30 people, all of them 17 (and at that age, you may not even be able to book)? The possible consequences are awful.

I applaud your desire to go to Europe, but I have to believe this is a totally scattrerbrained scheme and one that isn't going to turn out well.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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Oh my, I hate to be the buzz kill of the century but I am having a mild anxiety attack just thinking about the logistics of this trip. I realize this will be perceived as just another grownup telling you what you should or shouldn't do and it all sounds like blah blah blah. However.....I would agree with StCirq, this sounds beyond challenging to pull off in Italy especially with 30 people. I always subtract 2-3 days for jet lag, 5 days is definitely not a lot of time for 1 Italian city let alone 2. Not saying it can't be done but I hope someone (experienced european travel agent, seasoned traveler, parents or all 3) are advising you all on what European travel is like. Hotels, hostels and pensione do tend to be small and large groups of teens usually have an adult chaperone for an organized trip. Italy can also be frustrating for seasoned travelers, anything from transportation strikes to cultural oddities can often put a damper on even a well thought out trip. Lastly, it's very difficult for a handful of people to decide where to go and what to do let alone 30. I would suggest laying out a firm plan beforehand as to how that's going to work when you have 20-30 different suggestions on what to do in an evening. If it were my daughter going to Europe for the first time I would want her to go for a longer period to make it worth the effort, travel in a small, well organized group with at least one experienced adult international traveler. Since you're likely going to go through with it anyway, keep us updated so we can help with your plans! 17 is very young to be abroad alone, stay safe and keep your wits about you.
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Sep 27th, 2013, 09:58 PM
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Also, last time we were in Rome during December it rained, I mean pouring rain, 5 out of 5 days we were there. December's weather is not great but I get that it's cheaper that time of year.
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 01:10 AM
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nourhamza wrote: "yes i am actually responsible for booking the flight and the hotel but I've contacted a travel agency that will help with that."

Ok. First, you need to make absolutely certain that individual flight tickets or rooms can be cancelled without cancelling everything AND without you having to pay a large cancellation fee. Make sure everyone has some sort of insurance that covers things like dropping out due to illness. Hopefully the travel agency can help with those things, but you need to read through everything carefully before you agree to any bookings.

Are you talking about December this year? It's very late to start making bookings, especially for such a large group.

You say you are taking the train between cities. According to the seat61 website you need seat reservations for the Rome-Florence train. The website also says that buying in advance will be cheaper for that distance, BUT those cheap tickets are non-refundable.
anyegr is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 03:26 AM
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This either has to be a troll or we are missing something. If this is for real, what is the adult involvement? The first post mentions 'senior trip' - this implies it's a school trip. There is NO school that allows 30 students to plan and take a trip without significant adult involvement. A good school will allow the students to do much of the planning and maybe that's what's going on here but it sort of doesn't sound like it. Where's the money for this coming from? Parents? Probably at least some of it. I can't imagine 30 sets of parents all saying 'sure, go to Italy with 29 of your friends with no chaperones or adult supervision'.
isabel is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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I suspect it's not a real posting.
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 01:19 PM
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The school doesn't want to organize the trip so they said we can organize it on our own and if we want to take teachers with us we can, so we're still thinking about whether to take teachers or not? The tour agency also said that they can provide someone as a tour guide to go with us,which do you think we should go with?

the money is all coming from our parents, i know 6 nights 7 days are a short time but any longer than that will be too expensive given that if we take teachers we will pay for their flight ticket and accommodation.

About going to two cities, do you really think it's not worth it? should we just stay in Rome or what? i know it's very hard moving with 30 people and that's why i'm trying to have a well planned itinerary before we go that i hope we will stick to.

i do realize that this is incredibly hard and my turn out to be a bad idea, but we really want to travel together and that's why i'm asking for help with this..
nourhamza is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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It's beyond "very hard." I have taken groups of 6-10 people to Europe, to countries where I totally knew my way around and spoke the language, and THAT was very hard. Someone walks really slowly, someone always has to go to the bathroom, someone has to eat every two hours, someone wants to sleep until noon, someone wants to stay up and party until 3, someone loses tickets, someone gets pickpocketed, someone gets lost....and that's with a small group. I cannot believe you think you could do this with 30 having NO idea of what Italy is really like, presumably not speaking Italian, and being completely unfamiliar with the layouts of the cities, the trains, etc. How are you even going to maneuver around with 30 people in crowded cities? Tie a rope between you like those kindergarten groups? How are you going to eat together? Where will you find a hotel for that many people? It's just flat out a terrible idea.

Why don't you pick a friend or two and do this on your own first? Then at least you'd have a clear idea of how badly this could have turned out.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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A few thoughts-

Time is tight - maybe you should plan for spring break.

Having a couple of adults is a must. Perhaps one well-traveled teacher and one guide.

There are hotels that take large groups - they're just not adorable! As already mentioned, be sure the one you choose is in the city.

Rather than a second city, why not consider the many great day-trip tours out of Rome - two special ones are The Appian Way and Pompeii. They'd each be for a full day and your agent could book the tours in advance for your whole group.

You are old enough to travel around the city on your own, but not alone. Cell phones for all and some kind of buddy system is a must.

Good luck!
NGail is offline  
Sep 28th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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Does everyone already have a passport? Debit cards so they can withdraw money? Do you have a teacher that wants to go on the trip? Are you coordinating with an agency that does student trips? You will want a guide that can speak Italian.

Flights and hotel arrangements should be made ASAP. Your tour agency should start collecting deposits which will give you a good idea as to how many students will actually make the trip. You could do Florence and Rome and travel by train (or bus coordinated by your agency) but one location would be easier.

Why not make this a trip after graduation which would give you a longer time to plan and save money, and, possibly, more time to spend in Europe? There are many student groups that go to Europe in the summer.
KTtravel is offline  
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