Trip Ideas for 4 Older Teens

Jun 24th, 2013, 10:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Trip Ideas for 4 Older Teens

My friends and I are beginning to plan a trip for next summer, as a senior trip/graduation present. We will be 17/18 at the time of the trip. It will probably be about a week to ten days in length.

There is so much to see and do in Europe that we don't know where to begin our planning, or even what country we would like to visit. We all have varying interests so any activities or sights would be considered. Here are my questions.

1) Where is it relatively safe for unaccompanied teenagers to travel, and what places are best avoided?

2) What are some places or activities that would appeal to a younger audience? I am definitely interested in learning about a country's history and culture, but would not enjoy spending the entire week in museums. I would rather do things than see things, although preferably it would be a mixture of the two.

I may have more questions as our plans become more focused, but I think this is a good starting point. Thank you very much for any contributions.
sabernethy is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 10:59 PM
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Ah the bliss of having a totally open itinerary...and the pain of trying to decide where!

As you have 7-10 days, you'll be best choosing 1-2 destinations max. As an example, you could use somewhere like Paris as a base and do day trips to Giverny, Reims, etc.

Here are some places to get you started with research:
- You could do a little outdoor activity in the Tirol (Austria) like mountain biking, hiking or white water rafting.
- Rome could be a base for 5 days and you could do a day trip to Pompeii, then move on to another destination.
- Barcelona has beaches, food and sights which would likely interest most of your group.
- Berlin is a great city and has something for everyone, plus there are a few day trips to be had from there (Sachsenhausen, Sanssouci, etc).

An important thing to remember - this is likely your first of many trips to Europe (one you're bitten by the bug...) so try to resist the temptation to cram too much in as you'll end up seeing very little if you do that.

Happy planning!
madamtrashheap is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 11:10 PM
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Germany. Drinking age for beer is 16, hard stuff is 18.

7-10 days is not a lot of time really. Does that include your travel days?

Do any of you speak any foreign languages? What is your comfort level with regards to language barriers?

What is your budget? Some destinations are significantly more expensive than others and that will factor into your decision.

Hotels or hostels?

I'd pick two adjacent countries and explore those. Maybe Netherlands and Germany (or Belgium), or Italy and Germany, or Spain and Portugal, or Lithuania-Latvia-Estonia.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 12:22 AM
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Go to the Greek Islands, the undisputed International Mecca for summer backpackers looking for fun, parties and beautiful people, especially Ios for those your age. It will be a 24/7 party there from late June until the end of August.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 12:23 AM
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For the best time, I would pick two places in one country. Perhaps include some cycling (e.g. Bodensee, Loire Valley) or hiking. Lots of places offer walking tours. Check out special interest day tours (e.g. cooking, getting the lowdown on a particular market, kayaking, caving). There aren't really too many activities that appeal to just your age group but they'd appeal to anyone.

I'd pick one city/large town and one more rural location. Everywhere I've been in Europe is safe as long as you're as sensible as you would be in your home country. For four, consider hostels or an apartment (check any age restrictions).
dreamon is online now  
Jun 25th, 2013, 12:32 AM
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>Go to the Greek Islands, the undisputed International Mecca for summer backpackers looking for fun, parties and beautiful people, especially Ios for those your age. It will be a 24/7 party there from late June until the end of August.<

In Taras Grescoe's book "The End of Elsewhere" (highly recommended read, BTW), he had this to say about the Greek Isles:

I'd chosen it for its reputation as a paradise overrun by German package tourists and yobs in Union Jack shorts who emerged already legless from their charters to turn the Mediterranean into their personal vomitorium. Like the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Majorca, and like Ios and Mykonos in the Aegean, Corfu -- Kerkyra to the natives, "Cor, Phew" to the lads -- had the reputation of being an accessible, downtown party center, a kind of Blackpool-on-th-Med that offered moussaka-and-chips and 24-hour full English breakfast. Now that I was here, in the 40-degree-Celcius sticky heat, I realized I couldn't have chosen a more perfect hell for myself than an over-touristed island full of boozed-up louts.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 02:42 AM
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Paris or London with day trips. Do the Fat Tire cycle tour of Paris if you must do some bicycling. Arranging for more extended cycling, and packing for it is too much for a short trip like this.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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The "End of Elsewhere" was first published in 2003 when the author was 37. The OP is a teenager with a completely different set of values, experiences and expectations. One can hardly expect a seasoned adult traveler to respond to the youth-oriented party scene in the Greek islands from the same perspective as teenagers looking for fun, parties and beautiful girls & guys.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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1) Where is it relatively safe for unaccompanied teenagers to travel, and what places are best avoided?>

If you have your head tied on right there will be no problems especially for your ages - lots of European youths that age on trains, etc. But all ages face the same problems - mainly pickpockets - carry a good money belt and keep all your valuables - money - passport, etc in it at all times.

The European rail system is great - for lots of good ideas to plan a European rail trip check out; and - download the latter's free and superb IMO European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of rail itineraries and a lowdown on each country's rail system (
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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And get a copy of Let's Go Europe, the bible they say for younger/budget backpacker travelers - written by college students for their ilk - invaluable coverage of low-cost hostels, B&Bs, pensions - what few there are left, budget hotels, youth hotels, etc. Take their descriptions to heart - they call dumps dumps. By far the best guidebook for your type travel IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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Hi Sabernethy,

Most people have a very hard time narrowing down their choices in Europe, no matter what they ages and even if they have been to Europe before, and especially if they are traveling in a group.

Some things to discuss with your group that might help you narrow the choices are:

How much of the trip do you want to be about night life and today's music? Italy has very little of that, but Ireland and a few parts of Germany has more of that.

Is all the group happy with wine or will people really be looking for beer?

Are you really looking forward to hiking in places not miserably hot, or is beach and swimming and boats really what the group is dreaming of?

When it comes to history, do you mostly want castles or WW2, or do you want classical antiquity or pre-historic?

Does your group want to hook up with new people and is speaking the same language important, or would you rather have the adventure of immersing yourselves in a really foreign environment?

Gettting a group answer for those questions may automatically eliminate some places and point to others as more promising.
stevewith is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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Every one of these answers makes me think of another location or locations. However there are two things which I need to tell you at this stage as they will have quite an impact.
1. Try and give yourselves a total of two weeks in Europe then two destinations/areas will be well worthwhile.
2. From the start think about open-jaw and apply all your choices on this basis
eg I think flying into Athens spending a week in Greece , making your way to Rome and then a week around there would be a wonderful combination for people of your age who were first time in Europe. If you were to try this in 10 days it wouldn't work but 14 days on the ground and in one end and out the other makes it very possible.
Frances is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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I'm 19 and living in Rome for the summer and I love it here. I highly suggest you take a few days to visit! I have not felt uncomfortable at all walking around by myself and the city is so easy to navigate because of the various transportation methods.
Last weekend I took a trip to Naples, Pompeii and Isle of Capri.
Pompeii was really interesting and a must see. Capri is soooo beautiful, words/pictures don't do justice.
If you have any questions later on about Italy feel free to ask. I would certainly make it a point to visit the Amalfi Coast!!
mrk294 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 05:38 PM
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Suggest you start by looking at some student guides - Let's Go or Thorn Tree section of Lonely Planet - since you are likely to be traveling at a price point different than most travelers here.

Suggest you each pick your top or 2 places and then see what you can compromise on. In the limited time you have do 1 or 2 cities with day trips (those can be for cycling or hiking or whatever your want).

A couple of notes: what is your budget? (Almost all of europe is more expensive than the US and some places - Switz and Scand - are more than twice as expensive - for everything.)

It is true that the drinking age is lower in much of europe - but since many kids/families are used to drinking small amounts when younger they tend to take it more casually - and often see kids who drink too much and can;t handle it as childish and immature. (When we went to France and Spain with our teen daughter they were automatically given wine by the waiter when we ordered a bottle at dinner. This is quite common in europe.)

Budget: have you worked out a realistic rough budget? This is the first step - and you should build one from the ground up using info on hostels, train and sights you can easily find online.)

As for safety - europe is much safer than the US. However, if you wander out of a club drunk late at night do understand it;s quite possible your belongings will be stolen. And there are pickpockets at major tourist center (train stations etc) so you need to use your city smarts and stay alert at all times - just as anyplace in the US.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 08:35 PM
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NY Traveler nailed it: Let's Go Guides are written by Harvard students and are a perfect starting point.
5alive is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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PalenQ is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 04:56 PM
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I am sure I am so far out of the demo I should keep my mouth shut. That being said, I recommend picking two cities from London, Paris and Amsterdam. No need for your fears they are just like big cities back home, wherever that is. Just stay out of the dark alleys. Pick up a Rock Steves and Lonely Planet to read up on your choices. Enjoy the planning and have a great trip. Just keep in mind, pack light and bring more money than you thought you could get by on. Use the buddy system for safety and for more enjoyment of the trip. Have fun.
AisleSeat is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 04:42 PM
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If you stick with typical touristy places (and in 7-10 days you probably will), there'll be thousands of other tourists your age. Some petty crime might happen but it's pretty safe.

If budget is an isssue, a combination of Berlin and Prague might be a good idea. Both cities have great nightlife, a lot to see and are pretty cheap.

Rome is more expensive (or was at least a few years ago) but obviously it's offering sights and culture only Rome can provide plus the posssibility to go to Florence etc.

Greece offers phantastic culture plus great beaches but it wouldn't be simple to combine the two in 7-10 days.

I really like Ireland and especially Dublin but at least a few years ago it was very expensive. And if it was my first trip to Europe, I'd probably go somewhere else if I had no really strong connection to Ireland. It'd be a like chosing Portland as the destination for your first trip to the USA instead of for example New York, L.A. or a road trip to the Yellowstone Park.
Hans is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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I would recommend Munich/Salzburg/Vienna in 10 days! Or Barcelona/Paris in 10 days depending on what you would like to do...I think you guys will find a good balance of some cutlural/historical sights and a lot of relaxation time to just enjoy and explore the cities.
Ncz is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 11:49 PM
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Dublin is expensive, Ireland as a whole can be expensive but then can all the other European nations. Not to plug Ireland but they could consider Galway which is a young vibrant university city (more a big town) with many overseas visitors and some of the best Irish scenery on the door step with the Connemara, Arans and down to Clare for the Cliffs and Burren. University of Limerick (also a good location) have an Adventure Centre focused on Lough Derg for outdoor activities.
Tony2phones is offline  

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