Itinerary for family trip

Im trying to plan a 3 week trip for my family of 4 (2 daughters ages 7 and 15). This trip will be in August. This is what I am thinking so far: 4 nights in London 4 nights in Paris 1 night in Milan 3 nights in Venice 4-5 nights in Rome So I have 3-4 nights left to work with. Should I add more nights to the places I've already planned to see? Go someplace else? Perhaps Bath? Ravenna? Sorrento? Someplace in Switzerland?
Thanks in advance for any help!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

I wouldn't add more destinations, but add days to places and then perhaps do daytrips from them. For London I suggest Brighton, a beach day may be nice if weather is good, if weather is not so good, add Bath instead, I like both. For Paris add Versailles or Disney. I wouldn't bother with a one night stay, so add a night to Milan, since you need to account for travel time, and when you stay two nights in one place it only equals one full day of touring, one night is just a transit stop.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

My only comment would be is all you have are big cities. It will be hot and lots of tourists and lots of chaos with no real break. Unless you really want to visit Milan I would take that day and add it to the others you have available and either think about the Cotswolds, Tuscany or Provence just for a change of pace. You could also take a day trip to Burano from Venice, but I think the whole family might enjoy some downtime in the countryside . There is still lots to see and do in villages and small markets.

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
149 posts

Hello Angela, A few things you might want to consider regarding your itinerary. London, Paris and Rome each have a tremendous amount of things to see and do so how long you spend in each city really depends upon what you want to see/do in each. That is what I would start with - ask yourself "what is it that we want to see/do/experience in each city and then plan your days accordingly. Also, bear in mind that when you travel from country to country or even city to city you will lose approximately 1/2 - 3/4 of a day when you take into consideration packing/checking out/getting to the train station/airport/checking in and then the travel time itself.
Finally, consider your "style" of travel - do you hit the ground running every morning or do you prefer to get up, have a leisurely morning, etc. etc.? Do you like to fully explore a city and feel that you get to know it, or are you happier with a brief overview? There are, of course, no "right" answers to these questions (or rather, the "right" answer is whatever approach makes you happiest!) but I think you will get the most enjoyment from your trip if you plan your trip taking your answers to these questions into consideration!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1337 posts

just an fyi, if you dont have or plan for some down time, you can get burned out real fast. happy trails

Posted by Angela
Vancouver, Wa, Usa
233 posts

Thanks for all the input so far! My typical style of travel is usually to zip thru a bunch of places quickly, and I'm sure my husband will be unhappy with the "slow" pace I am trying to set for this trip. I figure with the kids in tow we ought to slow down a bit, and try to stick to places that will be interesting to them. I've already been to all these places, but none of my family has. I'm only going to Milan because hubby INSISTS on seeing the Last Supper, otherwise I would skip it entirely and go straight to Verona or Venice. Paris is going to be included because my older daughter is learning French. I thought London would be a great place to start because there is so much fun stuff for kids there. Venice is so unique, and Rome has tons of history. Maybe I should add some more time in France? Any ideas for places in the south of France that would perhaps interest my family? I've only been to Paris, so I don't know much about the rest of the country other than what little I've read.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1337 posts

when i go back to France my current plan is: > Versailles > Dordogne (lascaux caves) > Carcassonne
> Nice then to Spain and beyond.

Posted by Angela
Vancouver, Wa, Usa
233 posts

Well, I heard hubby dear talking with the oldest daughter this morning about the trip. Apparently his idea is to spend 2 weeks in France, and one week in Italy. Also, our younger daughter will not be going so we don't have to stick to kiddie friendly locations. Nice of him to clue me in on this, since he expects me to plan the trip! So I definately need more help on the itinerary for France! Assuming 20 nights, this is what I am looking at now: 4-5 nights Paris 7-9 nights ??? Lyon? Avignon? Dijon? Colmar? Marsailles? Nice? I like architecture, gardens, nature, some history... Perhaps someplace lovely in the French alps where we can hike for a few of those days? 1 night Milan 2-3 nights Venice 4 nights Rome
I'd like to do a day trip to Monets garden in Giverny... How feasible is that from Paris? Or should we try and stay in the area for a few days? We will also see Versailles from Paris for sure. Disney, no. Thanks for all the help so far! Please keep the ideas flowing! Thank goodness I have more than a year to plan this all...

Posted by Angela
Vancouver, Wa, Usa
233 posts

Oh, one more thing... Would the three of us be better off renting a car after Paris and returning it before we go to Italy, or take trains everywhere? Are issues the same with driving in France as they are in Italy? Will we need international drivers licenses like in Italy? I didn't drive while there last May after reading all the horror stories about huge fines, etc., and I was staying in places where I didn't need a car anyway. Thanks!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1337 posts

@angela Oh, one more thing... Would the three of us be better off renting a car after Paris and returning it before we go to Italy, or take trains everywhere? Are issues the same with driving in France as they are in Italy? Will we need international drivers licenses like in Italy? I didn't drive while there last May after reading all the horror stories about huge fines, etc., and I was staying in places where I didn't need a car anyway. Thanks! this would depend on how you want to travel. Personally i hate driving, even in the US. If youre just going from A to B, then imo/ime trains are real sweet, convenient and easy. If you plan on having alot of stops between A and B, then a car maybe better, but again, it would depend on how many stops you plan on. Of course it will allow you to see more of whats in between A and B but i leave that for the next time. also, i like to leave the driving to them since it allows me to get some rest, readup on whats next and then be refreshed once i get into town. just an fyi, i would NOT want to drive in Paris or London or any of the big citys. I drove over London, southampton and to Calais for work and it wasnt fun. If you have a good navigator it isnt bad. even with GPS i woudlnt 100% trust it since weve had some deaths due to people believing their GPS over common since. Its not to say i wont drive over there, but i will avoid it as much as i can. I expect to drive in the Dordogne region when i make it back to Fr, but that is about it. afa internation DL, i used mine USA one. Since my rental car was from the UK they didnt seem to have an issue with it, they reminded me to adjust the headlights once i crossed the channel. Some cars have switches, some dont. Since i didnt plan on driving @ night, i left it alone. also, just an fyi, those Round Abouts are real sweet if you know how to navigate them.

Posted by Angela
Vancouver, Wa, Usa
233 posts

Thanks Ray! So I'm starting to come up with ideas where to go between Paris and Italy. I'm wondering if it's a bit too ambitious... Giverny to see Monets garden. Chambord for exploring a few chateau. Dordogne for the caves. Carcassone. Pont du gard. Arles or Avignon. I have no idea how long it would take to see all that... Would 7-9 days be enough? I imagine it would be easier with a car. What towns would work best as a base for exploring such places as Dordogne and Carcassone? Im betting either Arles or Avignon would for Pont Du Gard.