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First Time Europe Trip with Teens

Potomac Falls...
Level Contributor
33 posts
11 reviews
First Time Europe Trip with Teens

So...my husband and I have both been to Europe a few times before we were parents, but we'd like to take our kids and do a family trip. Since my oldest is going into his senior year of high school soon, I'd like to try to do it this summer. Future summers may be tough with him working full-time, etc.

A little background - we have a 17-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy. Our oldest boy is passionate about history, international politics, etc. - he gets A's in all of his advanced world history and associated classes and talks about them constantly. He would love to see and explore the things related to all he has learned. Our daughter is more low-key but has just entered high school and is catching the history bug. She loves anything Roman or Greek mythology related and is artistic and well-read. Our youngest boy is a bit of an old soul and also analytical, I think he would enjoy anything. Both boys play sports and are comfortable both indoors and outdoors. They all love to eat, my older ones are expanding their palates, but my youngest is insanely picky (like me, I admit).

My husband and I have been to Madrid and the Amalfi coast together. He has been to Germany (loved it) and I've been to France (Paris and the Loire Valley) and England (London). My favorite part of Italy other than the sheer beauty of the Amalfi coast and Capri was touring Pompeii. Italy, London and France were all with tour groups (England/France was a high school trip and Italy was a vendor trip from my work). I am completely overwhelmed with the options and whether to manage it all myself or just do a managed tour for this first family trip. Or perhaps a little of both? I'm also short on planning time. I'm looking at 10 days total, including travel.

This may not happen at all this year, I may not be able to pull it together for many reasons, but I wanted to at least put my toe in the water and check in with my Trip Advisor experts. It will help in the future just to get the ball rolling. I am leaning toward Rome as one city, since we have never been and my kids are currently VERY into Roman history and architecture. Germany doesn't float my boat for a first trip, I think I'd rather stick to Italy/England? I'm open to suggestions. Feel free to redirect me to another forum if necessary. (The Europe forum was broken out into countries, so I wasn't sure where to start.)

Fire away! And thanks in advance.

10 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Mountains
Level Contributor
9,672 posts
152 reviews
1. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

I was thinking Rome also. A lot of history there and a great city. Then, i would rail to maybe Orvieto , Florence and the Tuscan countryside. Experiencing a walled hill town for the first time, is not easily forgotten.

There is also a quite large Roman Aqueduct in Spoleto in Umbria.

Summer is high season in most of Europe, so popular time to travel. Very hot in August and many Europeans take their vacation at that time.

How long and your cities of arrival and departure would help.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Family Travel, Honeymoons and Romance
Level Contributor
30,390 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

Id add Venice too... its a fasciniating city, IMO its like a living history book, with beautiful architecture— The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, ( Art Museum ) is housed in an 18th century waterside Palace right on the Grand Canal - one of the most important museums in Italy for American and European Modern art that Peggy collected while living in the palace for over 30 years- Its a must visit IMO and a learing experience for your teens...

The actual Destination Forums for Italy are the optimum area here on Tripadvisor for asking travel questions and obtaining advice ...Definitely seek assistance there so the local volunteers and designated Experts can see your questions and give you in depth information.. Also, it works this way for virtually every country/city in the world-All have their very own forum/local volunteer advisors

Family travel forum’s aim is general travel with kids advice, non destination specific - See intro to forum

Good luck with the planning

Edited: 22 March 2018, 15:47
Dubois, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Lander, Dubois, Riverton
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495 posts
49 reviews
3. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

I have lived in Europe with two children and traveled with a son who fell in love with Italy and a daughter who couldn't care less.

A few thoughts:

As they've never been to Europe, would your kids be happier in countries where they could read the signs and understand the language? England has a great deal of Roman history, and you could focus around that.

Rome is a great idea. But you might consider Italy AND southern France, to give your kids a sense of two somewhat different European cultures, rather than Italy only.

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Honeymoons and Romance
Level Contributor
3,330 posts
346 reviews
4. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

You may want to consider the following: Venice -Florence - Rome via rail. Very easy to do. A breath taking experience once you leave the train at the Venice terminal. Fly into one and out the other. If you need assistance review the web site Gotoday.com Not a travel agent. Happy travels!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
33,563 posts
62 reviews
5. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

I can give you our UK trip report for a start:


I'd focus on the second and third parts of the itinerary (northern England and Scotland). We had an absolutely fantastic trip and Chesters Roman Fort was a real highlight. UK and Italy give you nice safe food options for the picky eaters in the crowd.

We also did northern Italy a couple of years earlier, but I didn't do a good trip report. We spent 6 days in Venice, then drove to Cortona for 5 days, using that as a base for touring into Umbria and Tuscany. There's a small Roman Coleseum in Gubbio which was a favourite stop for our kids. On to Florence for 3 nights and finished with a couple of nights in Sestri Levante.

You will find traveling in Europe with three teens will be a challenge. You will have to go with serviced apartments or BnB's where you can book a couple of rooms for all of you. Finding hotels with space for all of you will be a challenge and I found that often, if there was a family room, there was only *one* in the entire hotel and if you didn't book months ahead, it was gone. AirBnB/VRBO rentals are another route to go, and I'm using those a lot for our upcoming trip to Holland, Belgium and France, but you do need to check local regulations carefully for those sorts of rentals, as many jurisdictions are making them illegal or at least putting controls in place. Make sure you get the information on what is and is not legal before proceeding with a private AirBnB style rental.

In the UK, you can also get rentals at campgrounds, where there is a cabin or RV style trailer set up that you can rent for your stay, however these are often only available for a week at a time.

6. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

Hi There!

Since you are limited on time, I would suggest a nice center point where you can take day trips out and about. As far as accommodations, I agree home sharing would be your best option. Most major cities have, including Rome (which does allow home sharing) great apartments!

Best of luck!

Arlington, Texas
1 post
7. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

If your kids are artistic or enjoy architecture then you should also consider Barcelona. My wife and I were there last Fall and it competes with Rome as far being entertaining for the kids...plus it's got a more laid back environment. They also have beaches if you're going during the warm months.

8. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

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United Kingdom
Level Contributor
834 posts
9. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

I'd love to say Spain but for what you say your children like the idea of Rome-Florence-Venice makes a lot of sense though I would try and see if it would be possible to fit Pisa in too.

Fort Myers, Florida
1 post
10. Re: First Time Europe Trip with Teens

My kids sound very similar to yours in their ages and academic interests. I am also planning a trip for this summer to Europe as I feel the time we have for longer family trips is running out (our oldest is also a Jr. in HS).

I am in the beginning planning stages and would love to share information. Mostly I'm concerned with finding places to stay for a family of 5. I think we are staying in the Italy/Switzerland area as we also love hiking and the outdoors so I think the Swiss Alps would complement the cities of Rome/Venice and Cinque Terre. Now I have to see if I can logistically make that happen! Any advice would be appreciated.

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