Suggestions on Itinerary w/Teens

Sep 8th, 2009, 09:07 AM
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Suggestions on Itinerary w/Teens

My best friend and I are planning a 12 to 15 day trip to Europe with her 12 yo daughter and my 13 yo son in summer 2010.

I need help creating an itinerary that is fun and exciting for the kids since this will be their first time in Europe. Both enjoy music, history, site seeing and museums but I don't want to make this trip museum overkill.

I want this trip to be a very memorable experience for them and truly appreciate your suggestions and comments.

aireslibre is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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are you going by train, car, etc.? Makes a diff on suggested itineraries - so if flying between main cities like London and Rome you could see both something in and around London and Rome and Florence

but if taking the train or driving you would then go via Switzerland or Provence, etc. and stop off en route to you main destination and there are also overnight trains to take to cover longer distances without sitting on the train all day.

I am partial to trains so could give suggested itineraries for rail - can you narrow down your geographical preference - say Italy vs Germany or Spain vs Austria, etc.
Palenque is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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sorry i failed to note the countries you listed under the Tag - so now is it train, car or plane between countries
Palenque is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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In that amount of time I would do either 3 cities (highlights) or 2 cities with a couple of day trips. We took my stepdaughters (11 and 14) to London and patis for their first trip (with side trips to Windsor, Hampton Court, Versailles and Giverny) in 2 weeks and they loved it.

Be sure to schedule apart time - so you're not in each other's pockets every moment. One of the things they liked best was wandering Covent Garden and shopping for teen stuff while we did some galleries thay didn;t particularly want to see. Having other things to discuss makes dinner more intersting.

Strongly urge you to get the kids involved now with tour brochures and guide books - so they know what they want to see before they get there. It will make it all more exciting - and help ensure they don;t museum-out.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Palenque at this point I am starting the planning so I don't know which country or countries we will be visiting. I know we will travel by train. I have no preference in which country we go to.
aireslibre is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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nytraveler which guidebook do you suggest would for kids?
aireslibre is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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You will find lots of advice here but you need to do some preliminary work, such as deciding what countries you want to see. You don't have time to see much of France, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland in 12 to 15 days by train. Search the trip reports and posts here for the countries in which you are interested. Go to a bookstore and look through the travel guide books (and take your friend and the kids). Once you have a general idea of where you want to go and what you want to do there, post some more specific questions. This board is full of wonderful travelers to provide advice but we aren't going to plan your whole trip for you.
padams421 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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For initial trip ideas, I like to use Eyewitness guides, because they include a lot of pictures (get them from the library); you can get them on entire countries or specific cities. At the ages of your teens, you don't need kid-oriented guidebooks. My family knows I'm starting to develop ideas for a new trip when I show up from the library with a huge stack of books on a bunch of destinations!

I agree with limiting the destinations to 2-3 places. When our DS was 10yo, we took him on his first trip to Europe, and visited London, then the Loire Valley, then Paris. Do you want to visit only cities, or see the countryside? I really like visiting city and country, but sometimes that means a car rental for the rural portion, and you've said you want to stick with trains.

What are the 4 of you interested in, specifically? London was an easy first destination for DS, because he's a big Anglophile (and at the time, was very interested in spies and James Bond). France was the next choice, because DH and I love it, and we all love art. Anyway, consider what you enjoy. To help, think about what you have done and where you've gone on previous (non-European) trips - city or country, relaxed or energetic pace. For example, you mention an interest in music - that could focus your trip a lot, depending on what kind of music, and what era. Same question re art. If you four really like Renaissance art, then maybe start thinking about Florence/Italy.

Another big factor that will effect your location decision is the time of year you're planning to travel. If in July, the hottest, busiest part of summer, then consider more northern locations.
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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London and Paris, with possible day trips out of each would be a nice combo. Fly into London, fly out of Paris, take the Eurostar between the two. It's nice to land in an english speaking country, get settled, over jet lag...and then finish in a country where language and culture is that much more different.

In each city you can do a mix of country and city, world class culture, food, and shopping.

As others suggested, get them involved. Assuming 5 days in eahc city, let them read the Fodor's guide for each and pick out their favorites. Also add in the suggestions from here in regards to Paris: Fat Bike Tours, rollerblading, etc..
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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For tons of great info on European train travel and suggested itineraries i always recommend:; (you can download their free and excellent European Planning & Rail Guide that gives many suggested rail travel itineraries for each country); and - if traveling enough consider one of the dozens of different railpasses - the above sites explain them well too. But for the efficacy of a railpass it depends on what countries you will visit and of course how many trains you will take.

I would scrap Sweden as it is so remote and IMO so much like the U.S. compared to most of Europe. You could easily go from Paris via Switzerland (the Jungfraujoch near Interlaken area would be a dream for your kids and IMO the every best place for first-time travelers to go to in Switzerland - an incredible Alpine fantasy land - then hop down to Venice and Rome - easily done by train.
Palenque is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 03:14 AM
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I think teens love Paris and London, the shopping, fashion and basically just seeing how the other half go about their life, check our for suggestions on things to do in Loire Valley which is only 55 mins TGV ride from Paris, what fun staying in a chateau, also in Paris maybe a day trip to Giverny or Versailles,
aliwallace is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 03:45 AM
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If you are really open to suggestions - I would think about Germany or Austria. Those 2 places are really among the favs with my sons. They loved the scenery, the food (LOTS of weiner schnitzel!), the shopping (my younger son is the shopper), the castles, the activities (salt mine tour, Lipizzaner stallions), and the museums. We all prefer smaller towns (Salzburg, Heidelberg, etc), but also enjoyed Vienna and Munich.

We always seemed to be there in the winter, but summer would be fabulous.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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If you don't want a trip all museums and sightseeing and churches, etc then definitely consider the Swiss Alps - and the Grindelwald/Jungfrau region - where you can do some easy walks on the many hiking trails in the area - an unforgettable experience for anyone of any age - plus taking thrilling aerial cable ways to mountain tops, seeing glaciers up close, etc. Swiss Alps - just about five hours now from Paris by train and then a few hours by train to Italy or Germany or Austria
Palenque is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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Our kids have traveled a lot. A few things they really enjoy. Trains (especially night trains)- Mountians (with snow)- cable cars - Place they know of ( climbing the Leaning Tower,) the Colosseum, Eiffel tower, Statue of David etc - climbing clock towers and church towers - volcanoes - ancient ruins (Pompeii, temples.) Overnight ferries - eating at outdoor restaurants - shopping for local treats.
As far a museums, they get tired of art museums pretty quickly. Nature, science and museums with statues they like. As you can see, ours are very active. They sleep very well !
TravMimi is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 04:17 PM
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If you go to Venice, here's a treasure hunt that your kids might enjoy:
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Make it an educational process in their helping plan the trip - when i was a kid our family went on long car trips around the U.S. each summer (parents were teachers with summers off) and i and my bro would send off for tourist info for various states and then really told our parents where we wanted to go

same with Europe - perhaps study a country you want to go to - or a city like Paris and have them research what to see and do, with their interests in mind too. Or research the art in the Louvre or Orsay museums - sure would whet their appetite to really see what they have studied.
Palenque is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 10:33 PM
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The Seilpark in Pilatus (Lucerne) will have your kids talking for years!
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Yes indeedy - some thrilling outdoor adventure activities - and if they go to Interlaken area there are several companies offering paragliding, white-water rafting, etc.
"Outdoor Interlaken" - Wide range of different adventure activities .... UK - Welcome to the Club Class Party Bus in London ...
Palenque is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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I would let the kids do the research and pick the cities.

When we travel with our teen grandkids, we found it important to let them have input as to where to go. Also since you are traveling in the summer make sure you hotel always has a pool so the kids can unwind.
jnjfraz is offline  

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