Family of 6 - need guidance

Want to go to London, Paris, and Zurich in late May. Flying into London and out of Zurich. Family of 6 (4 kids, 2 adults. Kids 9-16) All girls ... won't have fun if its too much 'roughing it'. Appreciate your thoughts re: - How to find accommodations for 6. Usually like 4-5 star locations. - Things to do in each of the three places.
In the past - our successful vacations have been about 1/2 adventure and 1/2 sightseeing. Probably won't do the historic sites for more than 1 day in each place.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1328 posts

hi, I travel solo, so im giving you my way of doing thing. Accomodations: > list/plot on a map of activities. then try to find a central location to minizme my travel to/from activities. it works for me. also try to find one close to public trainsportation. > use booking.com to find accomodations in my price range if possible and in the area i want. Activities:
> Get RS travel books on each place (if possible) i want to go and readup on stuff there including how to get around and also places to stay. I also google "things do to and see in (name of place)" and see whats in that list that isnt in RS books. Also i google "city name" to see what pops up. most countries/citys have their own toursim web site, its just that you have to look for it. i really dont know what you and your family likes to do, so i would just be spinning my wheels making any recommendations. hopefully this will give you a start. if not, maybe the rest of the responses will. happy trails.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10841 posts

If you don't do two rooms, then you need to look for places offering family rooms. Find accommodation for six will be a bit more challenging as European hotel rooms tend to run smaller. Get a good guidebook and watch DVDs to get an idea of what appeals to you in those locations. Only you can decide that.

Posted by Beatrix
Calgary
1974 posts

Alternatively, consider renting vacation apartments. They give you more room to spread out, often for less money than 2 hotel rooms, and that definitely helps to keep teens and preteens happy ;-)

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

If you give us some details, it will be easier to make suggestions. How many days in each city? What kind of adventures? What's your budget for lodgings?

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

For a rough cut at it, go to booking.com and try finding a room that will accomodate 6 people. They'll also let you enter 2 rooms. You can decide if you want to allocate the people in each room. You'll find tons to do in each city in a guide book and on websites like TripAdvisor. Everyone has their favorites. Without knowing the types of things you are interested in (art? theater? hiking?) it's hard for people to make suggestions.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3058 posts

Either call or email the hotels directly and ask for a family room. That's the simplest thing to do.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

My 2 cents.....spend one day, the day before you fly out? In Zurich. I would suggest taking 1 hour train to Luzern and let that be your Zurich portion of trip.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7181 posts

Some thoughts: Renting apartments is a decent idea for 6. You have a little more room to spread out plus a kitchen that can make your food budget go further. Consider alternatives to booking online. I have four kids but never traveled with more than three at a time (because of their age range). I like calling lodging and letting them offer me accommodations rather than deciding ahead of time what I need. When I call it's, "I'm looking for a place for my wife, three children 16, 12 and 8, and I for three nights, do you have anything available?" (I normally travel without reservations and call ahead in the morning). Sometimes we ended up in two rooms, sometimes in a family room, and sometimes in a nearby apartment that was owned by the owners of the hotel - always at a great price. With that many girls (maybe your girls aren't like mine) consider lodging with bathrooms down the hall. Not only does it expand your space, but the girls can be showering at the same time rather than taking turns - which extends your time to explore and sight-see.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1581 posts

Since Scott specified 4* or 5* places and no "roughing it", I doubt a place with bathrooms down the hall will work. With 6 people,. apartments are the best way to go. Family rooms are hard to find in London and Paris for even 4 people, let alone six. In Paris, we found a nice apartment from VacationsInParis.com. This is an American company with apartments of various sizes all over Paris. Good reputation and very easy to deal with. There is no weekly minimum; you rent by th enight, althou some have a3-night minimum. (Why would you go to Paris for less time than that anyway?) In London, maybe try Vancouver Studios, which has one 6-person apartment, with a 3-night minimum: http://www.vancouverstudios.co.uk/apartments.php You may be late booking for May, but VacationInParis has lots of apartment so there whould be something.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3194 posts

Another benefit of renting an apartment is having a washer/dryer. Very convenient, especially with 5 females. Won't have to pack as many clothes, won't have to wash things out in a sink at night and won't have to spend time at a laundromat.

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
503 posts

Expense may be no object to you, but 4 and 5* hotels in Europe for a family of 6 will be really super duper expensive, and in my opinion not nearly as enjoyable for the European experience as nice, small, independent, eclectic hotels. Even if I had the money for the big fine hotels, I wouldn't do it. The small places are part of the experience. You can easily check prices these days on hotel search sites. You will have to have 2 rooms in most places, possibly 3. I have traveled with a family of 5. It is fun and worth the effort. For things to do, I would buy a good book for each location and use such sites are Tripadvisor.com. The Rick Steves DVDs are great. You can buy them from this site. How long is your trip, by the way?