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Old 09-15-2012, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Meggett, SC
10,657 posts, read 9,036,543 times
Reputation: 5942

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Once my daughter graduates from high school, we will be moving from our current home and starting new jobs and a new business. We are contemplating taking three months and enjoying some time in Europe between these transitions. When I travel, I very much prefer renting homes or flats vice staying in hotels.

I am looking at two strategies for this trip. I can stay a bit on the move with a few days to a week in each location or pick one location as our 'base' and just do short trips from that location. I would very much prefer a country house if we go with the second option. We like both Southern France and the Umbria region of Italy if we stay in one place for the three months duration. I am leaning towards the second option because I really like the idea of thoroughly soaking in the local culture of one area but I wonder if we are doing ourselves a disservice. Our budget would be $15-$20K total for all lodging and about $20K for everything else (e.g. rental car, food, etc).

We are the type of people that enjoy the opportunity to really unwind and I worry three months of go, go, go would get quite tiresome. However, would just some short trips really allow me to see Europe and experience all it has to offer? Given this opportunity, which would you do and why?
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:58 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,231,932 times
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Would you consider renting a small camper van for about a month, where you can sleep and cook your own meals, and save on restaurants and accommodations. You can go where you please and see lots of spectacular places that you would never otherwise see, and meet lots of European campers, and make your itinerary on a day-to-day basis.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,354,075 times
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Your plan sounds good, given your likes and dislikes. If it was me, I'd want to shift my base of operations at least once, perhaps more, and I like stayin in cities most of the time. But your idea sounds great. Of course, you'd have to choose between the south of France and Umbria! Perhaps 6 weeks in each?
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,184,676 times
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I like the idea of 6 weeks in one place 6 weeks in another. If you want to see other places though you probably want to be in a city at least a mid-sized city or somewhat close to one because you will want to be able to get to airports and train stations and the smaller the city the more expensive travel will be. I would spend weekdays in the city that is your "base" while you can do 2-4 day trips to other cities around Europe. And if you want take a week away and go to places farther away etc.. For that reason someone fairly simple would be enough and you can probably find some apartment or something for a decent price. Your budget it good you will be able to do a lot! There are a lot of great places to see.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Meggett, SC
10,657 posts, read 9,036,543 times
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Thanks everyone. I think the idea of spending 6 weeks in two locations is a pretty good one. The reason we're picking southern and country locations as a base is because we want plenty of downtime too. After all, this is a vacation too! I think 3 or 4 days in a place like Paris is more than enough for us. We're really truly not city people. I figured having a base could allow us to travel to those locations with minimal luggage and get in and out via train. I wonder if I should pick a more northern location as the second 6 weeks. That way I would have closer proximity to Northern Europe. We will be leasing a car while there. We have taken into account the distance from train stations, etc with our search as well. I would say we're actively looking at places that are 'country' but very close to a village of some type.

As far as camping goes? Yeah, not really my thing. I absolutely must have a great kitchen. One of my hobbies is cooking and I want to do plenty of that during this vacation. French cooking, in particular, has been one of my hobbies for a few years now. Plus, we're looking for places with a pool; a request from my daughter.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
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If train is your preferred way of getting around, I guess you're investigating rail passes?

I would have a look at the cheap regional airlines, myself. Since you're going to be jaunting around with little luggage, from a central location, it might be quicker, at least to some places.

Do you have a budget for this? It sounds like a wonderful dream to me, can't imagine swinging it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Meggett, SC
10,657 posts, read 9,036,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwanderer View Post
If train is your preferred way of getting around, I guess you're investigating rail passes?

I would have a look at the cheap regional airlines, myself. Since you're going to be jaunting around with little luggage, from a central location, it might be quicker, at least to some places.

Do you have a budget for this? It sounds like a wonderful dream to me, can't imagine swinging it.
I could do either although there's something kind of nice about the comfort of train travel. I could do either though and likely will. I think I have enough budgeted. I was looking at $15-$20K for lodging and another $20K for expenses while there. I can always go up but was trying to keep it affordable. I just want to make sure that we have enough time at our 'base' location to really relax and settle in. I would prefer to see less and enjoy the local area rather than rush around and try to see everything. I like the previous suggestions of doing 6 weeks in one place and then another 6 weeks in another. Three months can go by fast though - I realize this and so am trying to be realistic as to our expectations and time to see other areas.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,354,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southbel View Post
I could do either although there's something kind of nice about the comfort of train travel. I could do either though and likely will. I think I have enough budgeted. I was looking at $15-$20K for lodging and another $20K for expenses while there. I can always go up but was trying to keep it affordable. I just want to make sure that we have enough time at our 'base' location to really relax and settle in. I would prefer to see less and enjoy the local area rather than rush around and try to see everything. I like the previous suggestions of doing 6 weeks in one place and then another 6 weeks in another. Three months can go by fast though - I realize this and so am trying to be realistic as to our expectations and time to see other areas.
Well, $20K a month sounds like you can do whatever you like, especially if you're going "shoulder" season. And yes, I'm thinking 3 months would go very fast. If it were me, I'd want to immerse myself in a place, pretend I was living there. And then jaunt off to a city for a few days. (Of course, if it were me, I'd be staying in a city, and jaunting off to the country for a few days!) Sounds fabulous.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:08 AM
 
5,798 posts, read 9,297,822 times
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You may not be "city" people, but you'll be missing out on a major part of what it means to travel in Europe if you think you can "do" great cities like Paris in 4 days. You can absolutely do many American cities in less time that that, but if you want to soak in the culture, the history, the entertainment, the shopping, the dining, and the sheer ambiance of European cities you need more time. Living in the countryside will give you the R&R that you need, but for the European "experience" you should plan on staying in at least three major cities for one week each. (And I can tell you that with 2 weeks in Paris or Rome you haven't even scratched the surface of things to see...). I would allow 4 weeks for each extended stay in Southern France and Umbria, and one month of combined big-city explorations, with travel time in-between the cities.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:43 PM
 
2,379 posts, read 2,690,381 times
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If I were you, I'd plan a 3 week trip (do a lot of research, to make the trip most meaningful), as if that were all I had, just getting a sample of the places I & my family are most interested in. I'd stay at each place minimum of 2 nights, to keep it from being too rushed.

Then, I'd make arrangements to go back to 2 of my favorite places (for aprox. 4-5 weeks each) to take in the culture more, & get involved in the community in some enjoyable &/or helpful ways.
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