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Under 18 and in Europe

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:07 PM
  #1
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Under 18 and in Europe

My 17 year old daughter and her friend want to pass on the school trip to Europe and do it on their own.

What do yo think about two young girls on their own for two weeks in Europe? A good idea? Safe?

We have taken our daughter to Europe five times and now she wants to do it on her own. Go figure!

More questions to follow.
fairoaksjim is offline  
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:14 PM
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"Europe" is a big place -- any countries in particular?? Could make some difference.

As for is it safe - yes, w/ normal precautions most places are totally safe. But there are 17 yo's and then there are 17 yo's.

The general answer to your very general question - relax, they should be fine.
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:16 PM
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They want to go to Rome, Venice, Nice and Paris.

Their French teacher is spending the summer in Nice.

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:40 PM
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I think your daughter and her friend should be fine on their own in Europe, especially since she's been there five times before. But then it also depends on how well she plans her trip, and whether she's used to traveling to places without a chaperon. I don't know about how safe or not-safe it could be, because it really depends on the places she and her friend plan to visit as well as their travel behavior (carrying expensive purses/luggages or electronics in public might get them more attention from thieves, but again, this could happen in any major city).
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 08:58 PM
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That is covering a lot of territory in just 2 weeks. Probably too much - 2 days flying to/from Europe, 1 day for arrival and getting acclimated/over the jet lag. Losing at least 1/2 a day every time they move from one city to the next. They are down to less than 10 days for four major cities. IMO they should cut out at least one stop. Paris (unfortunately) is the odd man out.

If it wasn't for them wanting to go to Nice and the teacher being there -- I'd say cut Nice and do open jaw into Rome/out of Paris, the train from Rome to Venice, and a budget flight from Venice to Paris.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 06:18 AM
  #6
ira
 
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Hi F,

Only you can decide if the kids are old enough to do this on their own.

>Rome, Venice, Nice and Paris.<

That's 1 city more than I would suggest, but

They can fly into Venice, train to Rome.

The train to Nice is about 9 hr. I don't thin that the night trains have good schedules.
See www.bahn.de

Look for cheap airfare at www.whichbudget.com out of FCO.

Train from Nice to Paris.

I suggest skipping Venice on this trip.



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Jan 24th, 2009, 06:39 AM
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www.seat61.com will answer all the questions you've asked - and a lot you didn't - about train travel

As for Rome to Nice there is one low cost airline that does this route -

http://www.whichbudget.com/en/cheapf...=ROM#FCOFrance
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Jan 24th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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I would want a day-by-day itinerary of where they will be and where they will be lodging.

Hopefully after being there five times with you, your daughter has her wits about her and know how to be travel smart and safe.

Personally, I would feel better if they (at 17)stayed with the group but you know your daughter and her friend better than we do.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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What do YOU think?
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Jan 24th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Oh boy. People ask this question all the time. YOU are the parent. Either let them go of don't. We don't know your child. Most people on this board would tell you to let them go. I would not let them pass on the school trip because they 'want' to do it on their own. It is your child, YOU decide. (Sorry, to sound so snarky, but I am a parent and teacher and parents can be so.....!)
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Jan 24th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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The fact that she has been there five times is good, but I agree, only you can say whether or not she is mature and responsible enough to do this trip. And also, is the friend mature and responsible as well? If you don't think they BOTH are, then don't let them go on their own.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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Would you let them go to New York on their own? San Francisco? If not, then the answer is no, it's not a good idea. If yes, then sure. I am a parent of young 20s and don't think the answer is any different for Europe than it is for the USA. My daughter went on a group tour (Contiki) when she was 19, and I would not have been likely to let her go by herself, but my son and his girlfriend went on their own (but through a language school) when they were just shy of 19 and 20, and did just fine. Depends on the kid(s).
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Jan 24th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Kids here do it all the time- there's a pass called "Interrail" They/we all do it from the end of secondary school onwards- they do stupid things like never get a bed and sleep on the trains between big cities; and they have a ball.

If they're up to it, let them go
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Jan 24th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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Even though she has been there 5 times it does not mean any thing,and it is different being with the parents,i really would not let her go if she was my daughter, because you never know what might happen in 14 days in a strange country.
Beside i think 17 years old is too yunge for two girls or two boys.
Since you are nice and generous enough to take them with you,what reason any two 17 years old teenager girls could have to travel on theire own in europe they have planty of time they have to do this once they are little older.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Sheila is spot on.
I wouldn't remember one of my ex classmates who wasn't traveling alone or with friends at the age of 16 or 17. There will be literally tens of thousands of kids on the road (or rail) each summer. It's nothing special.
If they know the language(s) a bit, have a proper rail pass and insurance, have access to funds if an emergency should arise.. why not?
BUT: It's your kid, and you will have to decide.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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My daughters, then 16 and 18, spent two weeks between Florence and Lyon last year. I found them respectable lodging online, which made me feel a lot better. They took trains and called home most days, and had a wonderful time.

They aren't the type to chat up strangers, and are as levelheaded as they come, so that helped us feel good about it.

Having the teacher in Nice as a possible continental contact might be nice.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Most of the 17 year olds I know would cope just fine travelling alone around Europe (then again, as Sheila said, it's fairly common for 17 - 18 year olds here (UK) to head off onto the mainland for the summer).

But there are some 30 year olds I know who wouldn't be able to cope!

It completely depends on how mature, sensible, savvy and capable your daughter is.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Has she planned the trip herself (i.e. where to go, what to see, how to get there and where to stay)?

2. Does she have a good sense of direction?

3. Does she cope well when met with stumbling blocks? (Meaning, when something goes wrong, does she figure out plan "B" or does she freak out and fall apart?)

My son (who's now 19) has been to Europe about 8 times, and I could only answer "yes" to question number 2. So at 17, I would have said, no way.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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There are huge differences between 17 year olds.

You said you've taken her to europe 5 times. How much time did she spend away from you, doing things on her own? How much of the planning did she do? Was she an active participant - or were all the decisions yours?

Has she traveled in the US in large cities? Is she used to organizing trips on public transportation? Is she personally reliable and mature? Is she good managing money? Is she worldly wise or naive? How are her foreign language skills?

Does they have a realistic plan and budget for the trip - or is it mostly wishful thinking?

I'm not trying to be negative at all - and think many 17 year olds would manage just fine. One of my steo-daughters went with a friend when she was 18 and I went with a boyfriend for 6 weeks when I was 19.

But we were both mature big city natives used to public transit and coping with lots of different types of situations - from our early teens. We both also had very basic skills in a couple of other languages - and were self-sufficient adults - not school kids.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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Sorry - one more thought.

In much of europe they will be old enough to drink beer or wine legally and most probably will. Do they have enough experience with alcohol to handle it responsibly?
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