first time to europe

Old Jan 25th, 2003, 02:45 PM
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Relax, fellow fodorite! I was under the impression that this site is to provide OPTIONS, any and all.

Personnaly, I am a believer of "where there is a will there is a way" philosophy. When I was too young to drive while living in France, I invited my former French teacher to travel with me...she became "the reponsible, age-appropriate" driver and I was the "financier". And she turned out to be a bigger partier than I ever thought of being! Later, almost half the students in the secondary education program at my university were over 30, some well into their forties. It wan't hard to find a travelmate/driver. Being a student today doesn't necessarily equate to "underage".

Margievill, it is true more people will offer more specific advice if you give them more details. The bigger the group the more important to lay out the pretrip groundwork/rules for better harmony/less disappointment/less dissension.

Wish you well.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 02:49 PM
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Margievill, maybe all this arguing has driven you away, but in the event you return, you could do yourself a big favor by giving us a few more facts. Your most recent post has thrown us with this "classes" thing. How much time do you actually have to travel in Europe? And how many people are we talking about? I for one guessed it was two or three at the beginning, but suddenly your more recent comments lead me to believe you could be talking about quite a group? Four? Fifteen? There's a lot of difference in how to approach this whole trip.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 03:05 PM
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I am astonished that all the "adults" here think that a college student will have a bad trip, renting a car in Europe! Our 19 year old daughter has routinely rented a car in Los Angeles (yes, the local Enterprise agency near USC will rent to 18 year olds, with proper evidence of financial responsibility, i.e., her credit card).

And here are the rules on

Requirements and Restrictions: Minimum 3 day rental. Minimum age 30 for XDAR and XTMR, 25 for PDMR, PDAR, LDAR, SWMR, IVMR, SVMN, FVMR, IVAR, ETMN, ITMN. 21 for all other car types. Vehicles are not allowed into Eastern Europe. All drivers must present their license (valid for at least 1 year) at the rental counter. All renters must present a major credit card (issued in their name) and a copy of the I.T.S. voucher.


"All other car types" include

IWMR - Fiat Multipla Wagon
Intermediate wagon, 4 door, manual, 5 seats, air cond.

CWMR - Fiat Palio Wagon
Compact wagon, 4 door, manual, 4 seats, air cond.

CDMR - Renault Megane
Compact, 4 door, manual, 4 seats, air cond.

EDMN - Renault Clio
Economy, 4 door, manual, 4 seats.


EBMN - Renault Twigo
Economy, 2 door, manual, 4 seats.

with prices as low as $187 or $192 for the EDMN or CDMR or $245 for the CWMR. Can you imagine how LITTLE train travel you can buy for four people with only $245 a week?
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 03:13 PM
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I wonder how many college students even know how to drive a manual? And who in their right mind would suggest that a bunch of college kids going to Europe for the first time drive in cities? You're probably the only person here who wouldn't suggest that the cities are the main attractions to first time European travelers, REX.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 03:22 PM
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Once again, incredible. Why would college students be any less likely to have learned to drive a manual transmission. They are the MOST likely to have needed to have access to lower cost cars, to have borrowed a friend's car at college, etc. Do you have any college kids in your family?

And do you know what kinds of extraordinary hardware our 19 year-olds "in uniform" are operating in Afghanistan right now?

How many 19 year-olds drove jeeps in Vietnam!?

Sure, cities are a valuable part of a trip to Europe. Chartres. Aachen. Maastricht. Leuven. Luzern. Salzburg.

All great places to visit. By car.

I already said that advising this trip requires details about the itinerary.

This started as a disagreement over a rail pass. Which is most likely the worst choice.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:10 PM
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I thought leasing a car was handled quite differently than car rental. I have read that just as an 18 year old can buy a car, they can lease one. Certainly seems more economical for a small group, and they can see more of Europe, which appears to be a goal of theirs.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Just for the record, AutoEurope imposes surcharges for renters under the age of 25 (and over the age of 70).

I have to believe that train travel is sure to be more appealing to this age group. Being responsible for a rental car is not something I think most college students want to be in a foreign country. And it adds a whole new dimension to the trip - planning and navigation. It's a helluva lot easier to get to the train station and find a train from Milan to Rome than it is to drive it, find parking, etc. Also, the thought of a bunch of college students renting a car in the UK and driving on the "wrong" side of the road doesn't exactly thrill me, and though it might add an enterntaining dimension to their trip, I doubt it would thrill them, either. I would hazard a guess that a Railpass would be the best bet for this group. College students are not necessarily planning their travels down to the level of minutiae that many on this board are - they want the freedom to go somewhere new tomorrow based on a conversation in a café with some other young people. An "itinerary" is great, but my guess is young people don't want one. The Railpass provides for the spontaneity that I suspect they will want on their trip. A car would be a drag.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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I say that because I am 28 years old, went through college and graduate school, and to this day have never been behind the wheel of a maunual drive car. I know there is a third pedal on the floor, but I wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with it. Who in the US has manual drive cars?
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:13 PM
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Actually,xx, plenty of people in the US have manual cars. We do. And our 15-year-old, who got her learner's permit a few months ago, drives nothing BUT the manual car. She'll take her driver's test in it, too, because we expect she'll be doing a lot of driving in Europe in the future.

It's not exactly rocket science - it just takes a certain degree of concentration. The kind you can only have when you're not talking on a cell phone. And anyone who drives a stick knows that you have a lot more control, particularly in bad weather conditions like snow. You can actually control the car. It's a very useful skill to have.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:14 PM
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A 21 year old can rent an automatic four-passenger sedan in Germany from - - they will pay an additional $6 USD per day.

Here is the website:

"Minimum age is 21 for car types ECMN/CCMR/CCAR/CWMR/IDMR/IDAR/IWMR, 25 for all others."

The code CCAR refers to

"Opel Astra
4 door, 4 passenger, air conditioning, automatic"

at $293 per week.

Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:25 PM
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Rex, are you crazy? Why would a bunch of college aged kids want to travel around Europe in a car? Give it a rest. Let them take the train like sensible people.
Rex, I know the car rental people must pay you to constantly talk against rail passes, but for a group of college kids, a Eur RAil pass is the best bet.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:02 PM
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First Rex. You may have a 21 year old, but your outdated. Besides, you know little about traveling budget wise and lack that sort of spontanity and non-planning where you book your hotel when you arrive. But your insults and name calling are that of a 10 year old.
A group of my friends did this 2 years ago (18-20yrs old) for 5 weeks. The train was definitely the way to go for them. They hit London, Scotland, Paris, Nice, Vienna, Rome, Florence, Corfu(Greece), Athens, Istanbul, and Amsterdam. They stayed in hostels, and used buses and trains throughout their travels, stayed in each city for 2-3 days, and met many friends. I am all for it. You get a glimpse of what it is like to travel, and if somewhere strikes your fancy, you keep it in your heart to revisit when you can spend a week or two there. Personally, I would do just London, Scotland, Paris, Vienna, Switzerland, Belgium and Amsterdam, but you may be able to squeeze one more in.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:44 PM
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i'm sorry i didn't offer more information. i'll try to cover everything. i am going to london in july for a month to take a class. the class is from 8-10 monday thru thursday; however, our class schedule is liable to change. i will be going with 6 other students and my professor, although we do not all have the same goals for our trip, and may break into groups of 2-3. my professor has some things planned for us, but we will have 3-4 weekends (4 days long each - or more depending upon class schedule) to do as we please. we aren't planning upon hitting all the countries, i just threw them all out to see if you had any particular countries that you thought we had to see to help slim down our list. as far as the car goes, i am 23, and i currently drive a standard (and have driven one for over 3yrs (so much experience!)). i do not know about my fellow classmates, though. i hope this helps you some. thank you again for your help.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:51 PM
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Wait a minute. So what you were really asking was what to do with three or four weekends of three days each going from London. This has no relation to your original post of a month of touring Europe. What a complete waste of readers' time. You should be ashamed of yourself!! Is this what they teach in college these days? By the way, I don't get the math. If your classes are Monday through Thursday, that leaves Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Where are the four day weekends?
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 09:20 PM
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Well, this is a laugh! So the debate shouldn't be about car or train at all!

It should be be about planes! You cam see a lot of Europe on your "four-day weekends" (Thu night, Fri, Sat, Sun) by using or or or or or (no doubt I am missing some) - - and put together four different destinations, groups of nearby cities (or even countries) for less cost than a fancy steak dinner in London.

A real tempest in a teapot here tonight! I hope some 21 and 22 year olds got some info they can use about affordable car rentals - - assuming they are traveling in twos, threes or fours.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 09:29 PM
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But this is why I don't bother responding to these types of posts....
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 09:53 PM
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What "types of posts"? Posts from the inexperienced? from newcomers?

And yet you did, didn't you?

Wow. We feel so honored.

A question was asked. Answers were provided. More information was solicited and given. A lot of useful information was shared.

Sorry that all this is so beneath you.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 10:48 PM
Rex should stick to
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And everyone got another chance to see Rex at his pompous best. He is never one to disappoint. "Always-right-Rex", unfortunately registration will not get rid of him.
Old Jan 26th, 2003, 04:54 AM
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I wouldn't jump on Margievill too fast.
If you read the question again, you'll understand that the poster was asking for things to see, do, and buy in all those countries (no mention of cities)and has only a short time in each country. The poster mentioned nothing about transportation.
The thread should have been answered on which cities to visit in Scotland, France, Germany etc and what to see in each place.
It took a turn, when everyone only concentrated on her last line with eliminating some countries and gave advice on transportation instead.
Old Jan 26th, 2003, 06:00 AM
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Here are a couple of itineraries for your long-weekend trips. You could of course spend all of them in the British Isles. I favor rail travel, but I see that people make good cases for renting cars.

1) Ireland
Get a cheap roundtrip flight. I would probably rent a car.

2) Scotland
Probably do it by rail. See Edinborough. Then your choice of west or east scotland (or both). I enjoyed the rail trip in west Scotand all the way up to the end, then a ferry to Isle of Skye. Rail or car in the east (I did not visit there).

3) Wales and s.w. England. Maybe rail out to Bath and then a rental car.

4) Get a cheap roundtrip to Munich, and make your base there, or nearby, as others suggest. You could, of course, rent a car to see sights. I took a day bus tour to Neuschwanstein that made stops at Linderhof and another place (Oberammergau, I think). From Munich, take the train down to Salzburg, Austria and spend the night. See Salzburg and return to Munich for return flight.

5) Paris
You could spend one trip seeing the sights in and around Paris, as others would recommend.

For your longest trip (you suggested that you might have 5 or 6 day break), I will suggest the following:
Fly to Paris. Spend two nights in Paris & see the major sites. Rail to Luxembourg (I enjoyed the trip, especially along the river (Moselle, I think)). A night in Lux., some sites to see there, not the frienliest people, in my experience.

From Luxembourg, I went to Frankfurt and spent a night or two (not recommended for you) then headed to Arnhem, Holland. The rail trip was quite scenic along Rhine. On the way to Arnhem, I stopped in Cologne to visit the great Gothic church that is practically next door to the Hauptbanhof.

Arnhem seemed to have some nightlife, quite a few young people about having a good time. My visit there (for the 101st Airborne memorial) was ruined by illness (food poisoning, I think, from something I got at the Koln Hbf.

Then on to Amsterdam. Rail back to Paris for the return flight. You might be interested in adding a stop Belgium.


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