Senior Trip to Europe

May 30th, 2002, 06:22 AM
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Senior Trip to Europe

Hi, I am planning on taking my senior trip to probably France and Italy, but I need some advice. I know I want to go to Paris, Florence, Rome, and Venice, but are there any other areas that I should not miss? What order should I go in? How long should I take in each city? How should I travel between the cities? As you can see I have many questions, so any advice at all would be appreciated, (hotels to restaurants also). I have a while to plan it but, I am exicited and want to start now. I went a year ago, But only for a short while, and I am estatic about going again. Thank you for any advice!
May 30th, 2002, 06:31 AM
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I'm a little confused. First I though you meant "senior trip" as in being a Senior Citizen -- over 65, but I suspect you mean senior as in college or high school?
The big question is how long can you go for? I could be flip and simply say you need a month in each of your cities, which of course would be wonderful -- but how much time total do you actually have? Are you traveling alone or with a companion or group of companions? Any idea of how much money you have to spend total? You say you went before, but where did you go and what did you enjoy most?
Once we have those basic questions answered, we can all give you lots of advice (much of it conflicting, I'm sure).
May 30th, 2002, 07:12 AM
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Oh, sorry I meant senior in high school.I probably want to keep the trip 2 weeks or 2 1/2 weeks long. I'll probably be traveling with my mother, and maybe another friend. Money probably won't be a problem. So any advice with this information would be appreciated ,Thanks
May 30th, 2002, 07:16 AM
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Hey A if money is no object can I come too?
May 30th, 2002, 08:15 AM
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Does your mother know money is no object? I think it is time you learned that money does matter.
May 30th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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just out of curiosity: are you doing all the planning? How much travel in Europe has your mother done? What imput does she have on this itinerary. I'm all for helping you, but who is really in charge here?
May 30th, 2002, 09:22 AM
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Obviously, my mother is in charge here she has been to Europe 10+ times, but it is my senior trip, and I just want to have fun and do some things I want to do, my mom is great so she'll be up for anything. She wants me to have a great time and thought if I wanted any extra information that this would be a great place to find some other opinions on the subject. This is kind of a big deal to me so I have been saving for a few years in hopes of making this a great trip, my family will be helping also. I would just like some helpful advice on what other people thought was great about Europe, thats all. Thank you if someone can provide that.
May 30th, 2002, 09:38 AM
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My first thought is that 2-2.5 weeks isn't enough to do justice to all 4 cities. As 3 of your chosen 4 are in Italy, logistically I think it might be better to forget Paris on this trip, and spend all your time in Italy.

May 30th, 2002, 06:24 PM
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I quite disagree that you need to limit yourself to Italy with 14-18 days to work with. Is this trip in 2002? or 2003? If it's in summer 2002, hopefully you already have air travel plans set, or nearly so.

If it's 2003, then what you need is books and more books (well, actually need them no matter when you're planning to go).

How to connect Paris with Italy - - as far as transportation withIN Europe is a question with dozens of answers. Often the best answer involves one or more destinations in between (though it wouldn't have to).

Tell us WHY you want to see the four cities you've listed, and maybe something will jump out of your descriptions that suggests a destination in between Italy and Paris. Did you take French? Latin? Italian? in school? have any family connections to either France or Italy? Why has your mother been 10 times to Europe? business? a passionate interest?

Any special interests in art, architecture, history, music or drama? Take any course on civilization in school? Interested in 500 B.C. to 500 A.D.? the middle Ages? World War II?

These are the things that will make your trip YOUR trip.

Help us help you out.

Best wishes,

May 30th, 2002, 07:28 PM
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Where did you go a year ago? With your mother? or as part of a school trip?
May 30th, 2002, 08:00 PM
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To help you out, I want to visit these cities because I have visited them before on a group tour but, only had the chance of staying 1-2 days each, I loved it but did not have the chance to experiece it fully. I have taken Spanish for many year and on the last trip was able to use it slightly in Italy, but I am in the process of learning basic Italian, and my mother is fluent in French so I hope this will not be a problem language wise. I plan on majoring in art history or anthropology as I am very interested in these fields of study. And am basically interested in the Renaissance era. So if any cities or venues have any qualities in these interests, I would like to hear others opinion on what to see,do,etc. Hope this helps, thanks
May 31st, 2002, 04:30 AM
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Sure, this helps a lot. Of course, a key question is whether your mother is a total blank canvas for this trip - - or does she want to help paint the picture with you? I would actually hope that it's the latter. You two will have fewer and fewer opportunities to share time like this together.

And I have a feeling that you will be back to Europe over and over again. For that reason, I am going to suggest that you eliminate Rome or Venice - - to make more time for gems you have not seen before - - and more time in France. Why is your mother fluent in French? Are there areas she loves? Does she have friends, family or business in France?

A trip that starts in Florence, then Venice, Verona and other Veneto will be a great first 5-10 days in Italy. Then you need to decide where to enter France (at Nice or across the Alps and head more directly for Lyon or Geneva).

There is so much Roman empire, middle ages history, art and culture in the stretch of France between Aix-en-Provence and Dijon - - that I recommend a car rental, and cover some of this area with the freedom and flexibility that you can only get by driving.

And here's a perspective you might not have considered - - any friends who could come along (at their own expense)? My family has taken senior trips with our first two daughters (number three wants to wait until next year); on the first trip we took along six cousins and two boyfriends; on the second trip, one boyfriend and three other school friends. I'm not suggesting that you need a "gaggle" to enhance your trip - - but maybe you have a 21-yr old cousin or friend who could help as a driver (you don't need to be 25 to qualify as an add-on driver in Europe).

I'll go back to my first advice: you need books, books and more books.

Keep coming back here often as your plans evolve.
May 31st, 2002, 08:20 AM
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topping for A
May 31st, 2002, 09:35 AM
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A - You've been grilled quite a bit (I think a bit to excess) as to your interests, I guess because your original question was so open-ended.

But, with your stated interests of art history and anthropology I think Paris, Florence, Venice and Rome are fine destinations for a 2 1/2 week trip.

Yes, there are many alternatives such as focusing on a more concentrated area but I think something of a 'survey' tour at your age is perfectly reasonable. Here are some ideas to go with your basic framework:

1. Consider an "open jaw" ticket flying into Paris and home from Rome or vice versa. This may be slightly more expensive than a round trip but will safe substantial time and expense to offset this.

2. Alternatively, if you get a really great deal on a roundtrip to either Paris or Rome (Typically, flying RT or even open jaw to/from Venice or Florence will be more expensive) then check out the low cost intra-European carriers for a one-way ticket back to your gateway city.

3. Here are what I believe are minimum days in each of your big 4:

Paris 3 to 4 days
Florence 3 days
Venice 2 days
Rome 3 to 4 days

This totals between 11 - 13 days so if you only have two weeks, these are pretty much the only places you'll see. If you have 2 1/2 or more weeks, then you'll have 5 to 7 additional days available for other sights, but do consider days lost in traveling oversees and between cities.

With 5 to 7 days there are a couple of obvious places you could visit by renting a car (assuming you'll use trains to connect between Paris, Venice, and Florence). By renting a car, you'll be able to see the smaller villages and balance out this, otherwise, very urban experience.

In France, you could venture out from Paris to see Giverny (Monet's Garden), Normandy, Mt. San Michele, Chartes, or the Loire Valley. If the Loire Valley and its chateaux, then consider also seeing Chartres (the cathedral is fabulous) and the little town of Amboise. In Amboise is the final home of Leonardo Da Vinci which is called Clos Luce and VERY interesting. Also, I assume you'll visit Versailles and possibly Fontainbleu and/or Vaux Le Vicomte is you like seeing splendid palaces.

Then, taking a train or flying Paris to Venice and train from Venice to Florence. The area of Tuscany and Umbria between Florence and Rome is a wonderful area to visit by car, picking up the car in Florence (or Siena) and returning it to Rome (or Orvieto). There are some many hilltowns to visit between Florence and Rome that you'll have to select just a few. I recommend you stay a couple nights in a farmhouse if you can. Siena is high on most lists and can be visited either while you have the car or as a one-day bus trip from Florence. However, if you visit Siena, study the info on parking as its really impossible to park in the historic center. You have to park outside the city and take a shuttle bus.

A great thing to do is to go to the bookstore (I like Barnes and Noble cause they have a rack of maps) and cull through the books to get ideas and then check distances on the map.

Have fun planning and have a great trip.
May 31st, 2002, 09:55 AM
Steve James
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If you're coming from the States, I guess you'll fly into either Paris or Rome, - so that would decide which order.

Would you fly into one and home from the other? That would be the easiest logistically. Then it would be Rome-Florence-Venice-Paris OR Paris-Venice-Florence-Rome.

Travelling between the Italian cities is easy enough by train if you choose not to hire a car.
Rome-Florence takes only 95 minutes by Eurostar.
Florence-Venice takes under 3 hours.

The longest journey would be between Paris and Venice. Assuming you don't want to visit places in between or 'waste' a day travelling out of your schedule, you could either take an overnight train or fly this part.

How many days do you want to spend in each of those cities, and what sightseeing are you planning? There are so many other places you could add to your itinerary, - but 2 weeks is a tight schedule when there's so much to see in those 4!


May 31st, 2002, 01:24 PM
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I don't know about the grilling to excess, and it's good that A came back and filled in a few of the blanks.

But didn't answer, when is this trip? Planning a trip for summer 2003, in leisurely mode is one thing. Scurrying to try to put this trip together for summer 2002, when it's already essentially June? That's VERRRRY different!
Jun 1st, 2002, 07:12 AM
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Thank you for all that supplied such great information! I will take it all into consideration. I am planning on taking the trip next year 03, just getting a head start on the planning. If there are any other great places to visit please inform me. I will keep posting as my trip progresses. Thanks
Jun 1st, 2002, 07:30 AM
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Congratulations - - if I didn't say it before - - on the foresight to start getting as much information as possible to participate in the planning of this trip with your mother - - now that we know when you plan to take your trip.

I will repeat for you the single best advice I know how to give: take a friends. Or several. You will not believe how much this can add to your trip.

There are often cracks made about "juveniles" who come here and post smart aleck stuff. I suspect that those juveniles are ALL way past voting age. The truth is, I think we get very few teenagers here, and so you might not find perspectives that match your own on this forum.

But many of "us" are parents of teens, and a lot of "us" have had very successful trips with their teen children. Nothing would be better than for you to allow some of "us" to "adopt" you and your trip - - and watch it grow from a blank canvas into the adventure of a lifetime, over the next 6 to 12 months.

As I said before, I hope you will come back here often with lots more questions as your plans evolve.
Jun 1st, 2002, 03:03 PM
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up again
Jun 1st, 2002, 09:13 PM
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The suggestion to explore the Rhone valley seems like very good advice. I recommend Arles, Nimes and Orange. Like going to Rome, with the added bonus of the sweet smell of Provence lavender.

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