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PTKeil
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Hi, all. I am a teacher, mother of two teens (17 and 15), and hubby doesn’t fly further than 4 hours. Hubby is 100% German (3rd generation) and his mother is likely to join us for the Germany section of the trip, so it is non-negotiable.
I have been to Italy for 10 days (with other family, and in charge of planning) so the year and a half of research I did for that trip has made me feel confident about searching rail routes on the different sites (thank to man in seat 61!), booking hotels etc.
Time is ticking before my oldest goes away to school, and this is it. We’re going to Europe next year before it’s too late and the opportunity is gone with college bills, time constraints, and their own lives.
My itineraries are #1 and #2 (are they linked to my post?) and I am driving myself bananas trying to nail down what I consider the best of the best….a one time shot for 3.5 weeks….probably never going to back there with them again (hope so, but not counting on it).
Can anyone give some feedback into what would you choose? With the knowledge you have, if you could only do it once, what would you do? I love all food, and am comfortable with learning new languages, etc. My itinerary concerns me because I want to make sure I’m not overlooking a better way or something not to be missed.
Thanks so much, and if my itinerary doesn’t automatically link to this, I will repost with the links shortly.

I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Frankfurt, Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 23 days
Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Bamberg, Berlin, Paris, London
I am leaving from chicago, il with $4000 for 14 days
Rome, Siena
PTKeil
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btw….hubby isn’t going….and the two itineraries posted are not the correct names. Not sure what’s going on there, because they have been published and I did save the name changed. Sigh. Thanks!

I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Frankfurt, Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 23 days
Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Bamberg, Berlin, Paris, London
I am leaving from chicago, il with $4000 for 14 days
Rome, Siena
oldlady
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London was a huge favorite for me as a teenager and for my son as a teenager. I would not skip London traveling with teens. My vote is for option 1, although the pace of option 2 seems more comfortable.

PTKeil
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Thanks, OL! That’s good to know. I did download Rick Steve’s app and went through the London walking tours (awesome) and they would love it. I agree about the pace, and don’t want to be worn ragged (hence Bacharach for 3 days….need to get adjusted and shake off the lag before we hit the ground running). I want it to be more of an exploratory overview, but I also don’t want them to feel like we’re on trains every day. I asked them (and with their little knowledge of what is there is other than city names and the basics) the only thing I got was “Paris” from my youngest. Wink Are there any recommendations for different routes, or stopping/starting places that may ease the transitions? Thanks again!

I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Frankfurt, Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 23 days
Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Bamberg, Berlin, Paris, London
I am leaving from chicago, il with $4000 for 14 days
Rome, Siena
oldlady
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My mother’s advice was to plan YOUR trip with only a few accommodations for your kids’ wants. They can always go back as adults if they miss something. My recommendation is to let the kids figure out the subway and public transit systems and lead the way for getting around at least some of the time.

My teen liked it all very closely planned. He got antsy on the relatively few occasions where we were planning on the fly.

Of course, teens differ in what they like and the exact date, time and conditions make a huge difference in how you feel about a city, but FWIW,

Venice: I loved it as a teen (still do), it was probably the least favorite of a couple of dozen cities my son visited as a teen for him.

Paris: Not as big a hit with either of us as teenagers as I expected. I liked it much more as an adult. Seriously consider arming your kids with map, transit passes, hotel address and phone number and cell phone or phone card (and clear understanding of how to use it) and letting them wander Paris for a day (or at least half) on their own.

The hop-on, hop-off bus tours worked well for us as an orientation in bigger cities. Most only take an hour or so to “just ride” the route. We did that first and then used the bus to get back to a couple of key places where there were several things in the area that day.

PTKeil
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Thanks! We did let the kids navigate the metro when we were in DC and my youngest loved it. Oldest? He was a nervous Nellie, and I would think much like your teen would be nervous on the fly without plans. Found out this morning my oldest wants to see Berlin, London, and France (but Berlin seems in the opposite direction of everything else). I do want to include them in some choices (Cinque Terre is my selfish stop), because they’re already expressing reservations at the length, and I assured them they’d have a month and a half of summer left after we get back. But I also agree with your mother’s advice (mom’s know best!) that a few accommodations will be a nice compromise. Also found out today my oldest is still a little resentful for me not taking him to Italy 6 years ago when I first went to Italy, so I placated him with the knowledge that Italy is in the plans (“OH! NOW we get to go to Italy!”) hehe.

There’s just so many awesome things to do and it never seems like enough time, especially when I insist on down time every few days or so.
Tammy

I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 25 days
Frankfurt, Bacharach, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monterosso al Mare, Wengen, Paris
I am leaving from Chicago with $9000 for 23 days
Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Bamberg, Berlin, Paris, London
I am leaving from chicago, il with $4000 for 14 days
Rome, Siena
cristinaposa
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Thanks for sharing this nice post here with us.

Tuscany Farmhouses are perfect holiday accommodation for your Italy visit.