Roadtrip from London

Sep 6th, 2015, 07:24 PM
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Roadtrip from London


Would like to ask for your help. Me and my family (14 of us) are planning to go on a road trip by June 2016 and I need to plan our itinerary. Seeing as we are a huge group, we are thinking of doing a roadtrip since this will be more economical.

Our starting point is London and would like to ask for your suggestions on which other European cities we can go to. Would London-Amsterdam-Germany-Paris be a good idea?

Would appreciate receiving your inputs and also an idea on how long the road trip will be per destination.

eurotrip_girl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2015, 07:38 PM
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For 14 people plus luggage you will need a bus - and I presume a professional driver. IMHO you are really organizing your own tour group - and while this can be done I imagine it will be very expensive. Be aware that these drivers usually have a limited number of driving hours per day and you will have to pay for the driver's lodging and food.

Also what you have listed isn;t a road trip - it;s a list of cities (except Germany) in which a bus will be a nonsense. Seems to me you would be better off using a train between cities - unless you want to do a lot of small towns.

How many weeks do you have for this trip?

And what kind of budget are you looking at?

For info on doing this I would contact the tourist office in London, explain what you want and have them give you the names of companies that would arrange this for you.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 6th, 2015, 07:41 PM
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Sorry - I would expect this to be more expensive than a typical group tour.

And you would need a vehicle for at least 20 people to hold 14 plus all that luggage.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 6th, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Actually, what we were planning is to rent a van and drive by ourselves. We have 2 weeks for the trip.
eurotrip_girl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2015, 09:57 PM
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There are no 14 passenger vans that can be driven w/o a special commercial license. (you would need a vehicle seating at least 18 to leave enough room for luggage).

My mother arranged just such a trip (but it was nearly 20 years ago). We only visited Scotland, 14 people, 17 days. We hired a small bus and driver for the full 17 days and Mom planed the entire itinerary. What you are planning really isn't doable . . . Driving a bus yourselves - nope. Driving that huge vehicle in London/Paris/Amsterdam - nope. Getting 14 people organized/scheduled to cover 4 or 5 cities (don't know where you mean in Germany) in 2 weeks - nope. And IF you mean exactly 2 weeks - that only nets you 11.5 days free 'on the ground'.

Organized coach tours can manage that sort of itinerary because everyone has to be packed w/ luggage in the hall very early in the AM and on the coach by 8AM (every day) and hours sitting on board watching Europe go by through the bus windows. Plus no one on the tour has to arrange things.

A group of 14 will have about 10 or 11 different requirements for meals, rest breaks, walking speeds, meal preferences . . . just everything will take MUCH longer than 2 or 3 people traveling together.

w/ just two weeks -- stay a week in London, take the train to Paris and stay 5 days. Fly home.
janisj is online now  
Sep 7th, 2015, 02:20 AM
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I suppose you think a roadtrip would be cheaper because tickets for 14 people can add up. But for visiting cities, and for the number of people, it is just not practical. For starters, renting a van in London and driving it in mainland Europe is a bad idea.
You would need 2 8-seater minivans, and even then you would not be able to fit the luggage for 14 people in those.
Count in rental fees, petrol, tolls, parking and the costs add up. If you don't return the vans in the country where you rented them, there will be a hefty drop-off charge as well.

Since you have plenty of time, look into low cost airlines. You can find very cheap air fares with Ryanair. Easyjet is good too. I would stick to 3 places at most, in 2 weeks.
Tulips is offline  
Sep 7th, 2015, 02:50 AM
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For London-Paris, try a group booking on the train:

Likewise, if you really feel you have to squeeze Amsterdam in, it is possible to get group discounts on the Thalys from Paris:
PatrickLondon is online now  
Sep 7th, 2015, 08:25 AM
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The poster wants a 14-seater bus with adequate luggage space to travel round the near Continent.

Nothing remotely odd about such a request. Ten seconds standing in a queue of vehicles waiting to board a Channel ferry or the Eurotunnel shuttle will reveal dozens of such buses leaving these shores on every ship and train.

"renting a van in London and driving it in mainland Europe is a bad idea " is technically accurate (it's practically impossible for a non-European amateur to have the appropriate licence): but hiring a small bus, with driver, in SE England for a week or more is a standard way English groups follow their own itinerary round the near Continent.

Few bus companies are going to waste time creating an itinerary for a potential no-show, though, and I doubt many are interested in acting as travel intermediary for something parties usually get one of their own members to do for free. Bus companies will happily quote to a specific brief, though.

Searching "Continental coach hire" - at - will reveal dozens of qualified businesses: it's simply not possible to hire out a bus and diver without guaranteeing that the driver has the correct licence and htat the bus is fully equipped for all the countries the party proposes visiting.

The poster cab do this for herself. Eurotrip_girl's probably left forever. But if she comes back, she MIGHT get some useful pointers about a sensible itinerary by re-posting with specific questions people can answer.

"Would London-Amsterdam-Germany-Paris be a good idea? " is not such a question.
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 7th, 2015, 08:31 AM
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I agree, a hired bus/driver is certainly possible.

The OP mentioned driving themselves . . . If that is actually what she meant, then it is definitely a no go.
janisj is online now  
Sep 7th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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Just over the border in France, there are signs in English, and there are even autoroute toll booths for handling drivers with a steering wheel on the right. After about 50km, all of this disappears.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 7th, 2015, 12:35 PM
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That's complete lunacy. You want to rent a van in a country that drives on the wrong side of the road with the steering wheel on the right and then go to various countries where they drive on the right side (literally and qualitatively) so that the driver is spatially disoriented compared to other drivers?

BigRuss is offline  
Sep 7th, 2015, 12:56 PM
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You would need to check the rules about hiring a van in England and then taking it to France, Holland and Germany. Are you intending to return the van to England? If not you need to check that you can do a one way hire and the costs of this. It could be prohibitive. With 14 people plus luggage, you really need to be looking at two vans.
ESW is offline  
Sep 7th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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This sounds like a plot for a movie. I don't know if it is "if it's Tueday This Must be Belgium" or "National Lampoons European Vacation." I would contact some of the guided tour companies and see if they will set up a dedicated tour for you. You could work with them to set your ideal itinerary.
AisleSeat is offline  
Sep 8th, 2015, 08:16 PM
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My husband's a capella men's choir spent two weeks in Wales in 2014. We planned the itinerary and found a coach company to work with. I don't know if they do smaller groups (we had about 30 people), but you could give Bullock's a try. They were great to work with.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Dec 27th, 2015, 03:52 PM
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Apologies for the very late reply. Anyway, I have finally convinced the group to consider an itinerary which would only cover 3 areas at the maximum. What we are considering is a London-Spain (we need to pick a city but Ryan Air flies to Seville only)- Paris then back to London via train. Do you recommend this itinerary?

eurotrip_girl is offline  
Dec 27th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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Sorry, correction on that. The planned itinerary is from London, we go to Scotland, then Paris then back to London. Is it still possible to squeeze in Amsterdam to the itinerary? Looking forward to your inputs. Thanks!
eurotrip_girl is offline  
Dec 27th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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Why back to London?

Fly open jaw into say London, train to Paris, fly to Spain, fly home from there.

OR - fly to Spain, fly to Paris, train to London, fly home . . . Though flying out of London can cost more because of the higher departure fees.
janisj is online now  
Dec 27th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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We were posting at the same time. Still no reason to back track to London. London to scotland by train, fly to Paris, fly home from Paris.

I certainly would not try to squeeze in Amsterdam too with your army.

How do you plan on getting around Scotland?
janisj is online now  
Dec 27th, 2015, 05:58 PM
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If you can clarify a little people can be more specific:

Exactly how many days will you have on the ground?

Who is your group made up of? Do you have small children or seniors - who can have very different traveling requirements? (There is a reason most tour groups won't take kids less than 12.)

Are you willing to break into smaller groups while in the large cities? (IMHO the only way to stay sane with so many people.)

Have any of you been to europe before? Speak any foreign language?

Have you discussed budgets for hotels and meals (people can have very different ideas on this)? And how will money be handled? (You can;t all walk into a restaurant and ask for 8 or 9 separate checks. Also - without reservations so many people can find it difficult to eat in the same places since hotels and restaurants in europe are often small and family run - not huge chain places.

For transatlantic flights definitely do open jaws - into the first city and back from the last (called multi-destination on air web sites).

For trains and/or planes in europe (I still can;t figure out your itinerary) you need to buy far in advance to get the best prices.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 27th, 2015, 06:15 PM
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Hi, thanks for your replies! Our group schedules are as follows:

Total of 12 persons. 8 are arriving on June 5 and the remaining 4 will be arriving on June 8.

While waiting for the other people in our group, we plan to go around London to see all the major tourist attractions and probably squeeze in a daytrip to Bath/Oxford. Our entry and exit is via London so we have no choice but to go back to London.

Our plan is as follows:
Depart London by June 9 via train (or should we do plane) to Edinburgh
Spend 3-4 days in Edinburgh Scotland (is this enough? What sites can we cover?)
From Scotland go to Paris for 3 days
Then back to London and spend time there

We leave London on June 23.

Looking forward to your suggestions and possible ways of transportation and possible tours. Thanks!
eurotrip_girl is offline  

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