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Three teen boys traveling with mom in europe.

Three teen boys traveling with mom in europe.

Old Nov 12th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Three teen boys traveling with mom in europe.

My three sons ages 17, 15, and 13 and myself would like help in planning a two week trip to Europe. It is their first time. I have been several times, but it has been over 17 years ago. We would like to see Rome, Venice and Paris for sure. Need to know if we should buy eurorail pass, hotels, etc... Would like them to have fun and experience the culture more than just the museums, etc....

Any ideas?
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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Yes, sit down, all of you, with a few guidebooks and a bunch of maps, come up with a plan, and come back here with specific questions. You also need to offer up some very basic information, such as how much time do you have for this trip, what is your budget, and what are your interests.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Consider http://www.guedelon.fr/en/ although that implies having a car.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Two weeks is barely enough for those three cities, but since there will be trips in the future, it's not a big problem -- not getting around to doing certain things just gives you more incentive to return in the future.

I would recommend to plan a very small program -- for example, just two major sights a day. That makes it very easy to add on more stuff if you find you have extra time. It's much better than planning too much stuff and running around like crazy trying to fit them in no matter what.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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Yes - give us more details - especially tell us IF the two weeks is your total time? Or is that two weeks 'On the ground". This makes a very big difference.

If your trip start to finish is two weeks you really have only about 9 or 10 days free for sightseeing.

One day/night is eaten up just getting to Europe. Then your arrival day is mostly taken w/ just logistics/getting into the city/recovering from jet lag. and day 14 is spent flying home. Then you lose another 1/2 to one full day when you move from city to city.

So if it is two weeks total you could squeeze in Rome (maybe 4 days) Venice (2-ish days) and Paris (4 to 5 days)

No Eurail pass would make sense for this sort of trip.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Would like them to have fun and experience the culture more than just the museums, etc....

For whatever that means, you need to get Huey, Dewey and Louie involved in planning the trip. No teen angst or ennui allowed.

Rail pass won't do much good if you're not hopping trains every day, better off with point-to-point tickets. And it is a LONG trip from Venice to Paris by train - that's a flight.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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>

I sense that is a starting list, but I would caution that it's already an ambitious agenda for two weeks. Ambitious, but do-able. If those three are absolute must-do's I would start with checking out flight options as you will want to fly into one of those cities and out of another. For travel between cities, you can probably take trains, but you do not need a EurailPass. With four of you, looking into apartments rather than hotels is worthwhile.

I agree with kerouac's recommendation of just having two major objectives a day, and also with stcirq's suggestion to start with a few guidebooks -- they will give you lots of ideas of things to do. Definitely get your sons involved in the planning as well.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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"And it is a LONG trip from Venice to Paris by train - that's a flight."

Or a night train. Which would be an interesting experience for the kids. See http://www.seat61.com/international-...m#Venice-Paris for day train travel Venice-Paris, http://www.seat61.com/thello-train-f...s-to-italy.htm for the night train and http://www.seat61.com/index.html for other train travel info.

But agree you should get the kids to participate in the planning. At least have them come up with one thing each in each city they want to do. Maybe have them write a report on it. If you do a search here you should come up with some older threads on European travel with kids.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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"My three sons ages 17, 15, and 13 and myself would like help in planning ..."
"We would like to see Rome, Venice and Paris for sure."

I think the boys are already involved.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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Thank you for all of the good ideas. I have not planned the flights yet. We can plan for 2-3 week stay. I do not want first class lodgings but places that are clean and safe.

I like the idea of picking out 2-3 places at each location...
Paris-Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Sacre Coeur area

Venice-San Mark's Square and ??

Rome-Collesseum, Trevi Fountain, ???
I will continue to talk with the boy about details.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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>>I do not want first class lodgings but places that are clean and safe.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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This is certainly doable as a two week trip. I did a similar trip with my boys when they were about that age.
I would suggest flying into Paris,flying to Venice (look at Easyjet website), train to Rome and then fly home from Rome.
Initially, I assigned each boy a city to research. Purchase good maps now for each city (Streetwise series sold on Amazon are excellent). Each boy became an "expert" on one place. Of course, everyone was allowed input but it is not so overwhelming to them if they each specialize. In addition to sights they had to learn about transportation.
Their Christmas stockings each held the map and guidebook for their city. We had great luck with Frommers. They are small and cover basic sights very well.

Frommers and Fodors online show suggested itineraries. My boys also leaned to look at the Viatour tour website. Viatour packages popular tours in various cities. We have booked a few through them but mainly use them for ideas. You will see what the top sights are and also some different things (gladiator school in Rome).

We had a few basic rules. Everyone carries their own bag. No cell phones. iPods only when in transit. Try new food. Mom is not in charge of the map- you guys are. We get an early start, you can sleep when you get home.

My guys loved it. The thing I never realized was how they would get excited about little things like finding us a grocery store lunch, watching cartoons in French, trying escargot, etc.

They will like the museums, usually we kept that short. They wanted to see the Mona Lisa, Sistine a Chapel, and so on. They also loved walking the stairs up to Eiffel Tower, climbing to top of Notre Dame,
Seine cruise, powerboat ride in Venice, Venice "secret itineraries" tour.

I would not make them write any type of report.

You will have a wonderful time.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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I like the idea of picking out 2-3 places at each location...

For what? Do you mean just generally? That's going to leave a lot undiscovered in Rome, Venice and Paris, even with 5+ days in each.

Lodgings = clean and safe is a meaningless metric. Everyone wants that. Speak $ or Euros.
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Old Nov 12th, 2013, 04:27 PM
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Easily found out in any guidebook. Do you have some?

Safe and clean probably describes 95% of the lodging in Europe. Can you provide an actual budget? BTW, European hotels need to know exactly how many people are sleeping in the room - NO cramming 5 people into a room for 4, for example. Not suggesting you'd do that, but with your crew you'll need a triple and a single (or double).
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