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Summer 2012 trip with two boys ages 7 and 9..need suggestions!

Summer 2012 trip with two boys ages 7 and 9..need suggestions!

Dec 18th, 2011, 11:08 AM
  #1  
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Summer 2012 trip with two boys ages 7 and 9..need suggestions!

My husband is in the Marine Corps and he will be stationed in Stuttgart Germany for the next ten months. I plan to take our boys for a 2 week visit summer of 2012. First, what month would be best? We can go Mid June up until mid August when they are off school. Second...what would be the best itinerary? We would like to start or end near Stuttgart and I know we should only plan on 1-2 more countries with our time frame. I was thinking London and Paris and maybe a short stop in Austria since it is near Germany? I am not sure how much leave my husband will get so the boys and I will do some on our own in Germany but I imagine we will at least have a week to travel together. Suggestions? Cost is a concern, but luckily we can stay with him on base while near Stuttgart. Thank you!
Kelly_Gump is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Mid-June is usually pretty nice. Why not just explore Germany, and maybe a bit of France and/or Switzerland, on daytrips or 1-2 night trips from Stuttgart and make one longer 3-4 night outing to one other city - either Paris (train) or London (fly?) That would keep travel expenses down.

Daytrips from Stuttgart might include...

Hohenzollern Castle (to the south), http://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/startpage.html

Ludwigsburg Palace (just north of Stuttgart)

Black Forest villages like Schiltach and Hausach (to the southwest), home of the Vogtsbauernhof open-air museum: http://en.vogtsbauernhof.org/

And you could probably do some 1-2 night stops in Munich, in the Middle Rhine Valley (think medieval castles), in Switzerland (Alps!)
Russ is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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I would do Germany and perhaps some of France or Austria but no more given only 2 weeks. Save London for another trip.
grandmere is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 06:40 PM
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Go as early in June as you can. To avoid the summer crowds.

I have to agree with grandmere. In a week's time London and Paris and Austria are too much. And Switzerland's pretty expensive.

How do you plan to get around? Drive? Take trains? Cheap flights? Germany, in particular, has some good deals for family train trips. I'm sure the experts here will chime in. Or look at www.seat61.com or Rick Steves' site.
Mimar is offline  
Dec 19th, 2011, 09:43 PM
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Well, it all depends...
For example, London may be a costly destination re. hotels, but it could be weighed out by costs and by easy and frequent access from any intl airport in the States.

The problem is that you mix cities and whole countries as possible destinations. It's easier to get a glimpse of London in 3 nights than of the whole of Austria.

Another problem seems to be that you can't tell when and for how long exactly your husband will be available within that time frame. Again, London is probably the best-connected city within Europe by air. So it will be easier to find a low-cost airfare between London and Stuttgart at a later time if you can't commit yourself on specific dates already today.

Travelwise, it would be easy to fly into London (x nights), take direct train/Eurostar to Paris (y nights), and finally another direct TGV or ICE train to Stuttgart (1 wk, incl daytrips to castles, visits to the car museums in Stuttgart etc). And fly out of Stuttgart. Or move in opposite direction.

As Paris is another potentially high-costs destination, and I have no clue how easy traveling with your still quite young boys is for you when on your own, it could be an idea to skip Paris, and just split the time between London and Stuttgart.
And add a daytrip or two to the usual suspects around London like Oxford.
If that will be the first intl trip for your boys, the lack of language barrier may be another point for spending some time in London or the UK in general. Or, if you want it on a smaller scale, to Dublin and surroundings.
Finally, the flights to the UK/Ireland are the shortest there are between the US and Europe, and you have one hour time difference less to adjust to. Which may (or may not) be another point for less travel stress especially with your two kids in mind.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Dec 23rd, 2011, 05:22 PM
  #6  
 
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Boats and castles (e.g., Chiemsee and boat to Crazy King Ludwig's Herrenchiemsee; Salzburg and a walk up to the castle and misc. Sound Of Music theming if applicable; Venice with lots and lots of boats; Sirmione on Lake Garda with great beach and views; I've never been to Lake Como but I'm sure it has boats. Beyond that, medieval towns with steep streets (near Stuttgart, Schwabish Hall and Breisach Am Rhein come to mind - - north of Breisach is the Europapark in case they might be into theme park decadence).
dfourh is offline  
Dec 24th, 2011, 08:09 AM
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If you do find yourself in Paris, here is a fine list of activities for children: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/04...-do-with-kids/
SemiMike is offline  
Dec 24th, 2011, 08:15 AM
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if you are serious about London, remember that there are two BIG events in the UK in the summer of 2012

wk beginning Monday 4th june - queen's 60th jubilee

27 July - 12 August - the olympics.

so unless you want to attend either of these events, you might like to avoid london during these dates.
annhig is offline  
Dec 24th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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If you are heading to UK in summer 2012, you need to know the Olympics implication. While it is 7/27-8/12, the effect will stretch out both in time and space. The obvious ones are accommodations around London. But other nearby day destinations would probably attract visitors. Another impact would be the transportation.
greg is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 10:05 PM
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Thanks for the reminders, Annihig.
I think seeing London during the 4 day Jubilee Weekend will be great fun, esp'lly the day of the regatta on the Thames. Union jacks flying everywhere, the classic royalty schlock souvenirs (cheesy but fun) , etc. My grandkids havent been to London before and i've specifically picked this time to show them where I used to live, and why i still think it is the greatest city in the world.
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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good choose calinurse, though you may find cafes and restaurants a bit full - perhaps time to dust off the vacuum flasks and picnic baskets.
annhig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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European trains, especially in Germany, Austria, Switzerland (so awesome for kids so be sure to hit the Berner Oberland - Jungfrau Region with glacier-girdled peaks, a panoply of thrilling toylike mountain trains and aerial cableways, etc) and France - kids under 12 typically pay 50% of what the adults do and there may be other family deals you can get once there.

Check out these fantastic IMO web sites for help planning a rail trip - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com. For schedules of all European trains I always use www.bahn.de or German Railways official site - easiest to use for me and yes has schedules for practically any European train IME.
PalenQ is offline  
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