How to travel with 6?

Old Jan 6th, 2014, 01:41 PM
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We did a similar trip with extended family and found having two cars to be the best solution. It allowed the "group" to split up on certain days and go our separate ways. Or one group to return to lodging sooner than the "late shift". It allowed for a much more comfortable trip and adequate storage. We rented two manual drive cars and the rental and gas prices were reasonable.
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Old Jan 6th, 2014, 02:42 PM
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Everyone has talked about luggage, cars and trains, so I'll raise the issue of the itinerary.

Three to four weeks sounds like a lot of time, but coordinating and moving six people will take longer than they are probably anticipating. Sharing bathrooms, adjusting to everyone's morning routines, keeping together while walking/sightseeing (or separating and meeting up later), getting tables and being served in restaurants, etc., everything just takes longer than if the group were 2 or even 4 people. Frequent lodging changes, catching trains or planes, and/or dealing with parking everywhere, will only increase the coordination demands.

For all of these reasons, I would limit the lodging destinations to 5 in three weeks and 6-7 in four weeks. I'd probably stick to two countries (certainly not 4 as your title would suggest), I'd fly into one city and out of another and only stop at points that are in a general/logical (considering transportation) line between these two cities. In other words, if I flew into Rome and out of Paris, I doubt I would be going to Berlin but I might travel through Switzerland.

Lastly, you mentioned checking train fares for March. Is that the general timeframe for the trip?
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Old Jan 6th, 2014, 09:53 PM
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Hi drlaz,

I'll also add that, if you take the trains, the teens are far more likely to make new friends. It's very easy to get to know your seat-mates on the train, or to speak to folks in the snack car. That alone might make the trip life-changing for them.

On the other hand, if you are locked inside a private bubble, the chances to meet locals is diminished.

Have fun as you plan!

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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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I'm very grateful for the suggestions, especially the auto leasing. I already lost the war over the itinerary, which is not one I would have designed.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Make sure your dad knows what he's getting into before he agrees to join them.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 01:33 PM
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We had a party of 6 on a trip to France in 2011. We were in France for 16 nights, but only had the van for 10 days. Details from my trip report follow:


Car rental - we opted for a Renault Espace minivan from Auto Europe. 10 days for $1400 with a zero CDW deductible (people tell me that I could have gotten a better deal without the insurance from Auto Europe, but each time we got into a sticky situation, we’d just remind ourselves “zero deductible” – made things a lot less stressful). Each traveler had one legal carry-on size bag, and one smaller tote. On the 3 days that we had to travel with luggage, the Espace was able to handle four bags in the back; we wedged two between the back 2 seats, and stacked the totes in the middle seat of the middle row. It was tight, but, fortunately, we didn’t have to travel like that most of the time. We enjoyed the car a lot more once we figured out the electronic parking brake. This feature wasn’t explained to us by the rental folks at Europcar (in fact, they explained nothing whatsoever, and were unhelpful on returning the car–all in all a pretty lousy customer service experience), and I had to resort to digging out the owner’s manual and translating the key pages using babelfish to understand exactly how it worked.


As others have mentioned, you can't pack for a month. Pack for one week and plan to do laundry 3 or 4 times. If you manage to squeeze 6 into a van like we did, you'll want to keep your days of driving with luggage to a minimum. Carting six people around without luggage was no problem.
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