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European Vacation

robav8r

Future performance not guaranteed . . .
None
Contributor
World Travelers,

Has anyone had a good (recent) experience with a travel agent / service for a European vacation? Looking to take my family to Italy/Germany/France next spring and trying to find someone who won't rip me off and will give me the gouge on where to stay, go, etc. Thanks in advance for your suggestions . . .
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
World Travelers,

Has anyone had a good (recent) experience with a travel agent / service for a European vacation? Looking to take my family to Italy/Germany/France next spring and trying to find someone who won't rip me off and will give me the gouge on where to stay, go, etc. Thanks in advance for your suggestions . . .
Assuming you are a member of USAA, just log on & follow the "bouncing ball" to their Travel Assistance Section. If not a member, google USAA and sign up.:cool:
BzB
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
Haven't been to the continent outside a big grey boat. Have been to England/Ireland a number of times without the aid of a big grey boat. Have you thought about a cruise? Norwegian Cruise Lines (and others) have Med cruises all the time, and they run specials as well (category upgrades, on board credit, etc). You get to see Europe during the day - and then enjoy the ship at night. And there's A LOT to enjoy on the ship. Food, booze, food, hot tubs, food, pools, food, spas, food, shopping, food, and there's usually a place to drop kids off so you can have some mom & dad alone time. It's probably the most economical way to see multiple countries as well.
 

robav8r

Future performance not guaranteed . . .
None
Contributor
Thanks fellas. We have narrowed our search to the Amalfi Coast & Tuscany in Italy - gonna have about 8-9 days total including air transportation there and back. A good friend recommended renting a car iot see all the appropriate sights & Tourist traps, but I have heard that theft and Ins issues are cause for concern - any recommendations? Will probably fly direct to Rome and then car/train to Tuscany & Amalfi. Will welcome any gouge on accomodations and transportation. Thanks again for your input . . .
 

phrogpilot73

Well-Known Member
The only recommendation I have with respect to a rental vehicle in Europe - rent the smallest vehicle you can reasonably fit your family into. I rented a midsize on my last trip to Ireland, and had occasional problems parking it - and fitting it down certain roads. Smaller is better over there. Any one of the big rental agencies will rent to you over there with similar coverage (I think I rented from Hertz last time I did), and if your insurance is with USAA - your valuables will be protected under you homeowner's plan.
 

scoolbubba

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
The shittiest chevy Geo is your chariot. You'll blend in, and you won't have to worry about hitting dumpsters, corners of houses, curbs, or lightpoles while you're driving around Italy in a Renault van at 180 KPH, which I think is in the ballpark of 22 MPH.

I hit all of these things, and out of our group, I hit the least amount of stuff.
 

KBayDog

Well-Known Member
World Travelers,

Has anyone had a good (recent) experience with a travel agent / service for a European vacation? Looking to take my family to Italy/Germany/France next spring and trying to find someone who won't rip me off and will give me the gouge on where to stay, go, etc. Thanks in advance for your suggestions . . .
Have you tried the game show circuit?

 

Rocketman

Rockets Up
Contributor
I've been to Europe several times in the past. England, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. Spent about 5 weeks total on two different occasions in and around Germany and France. We always rented a car when in Germany and France. To me that's a big part of the total experience. We did a Rhine river cruise once that was fantastic. I also did a 10 day Southern Med cruise with Royal Caribbean where we made runs at Rome, Tuscany/Florence, Naples and the Amalfi area.

By far the best trip I've ever taken was flying into Rome, renting a car and running down through Naples to the Amalfi coast. We rented a villa in Poisitano from the folks at the link below. They have places in Italy, France, Spain and Greece. For us renting your own place was completely a positive experience. It's not as expensive as you would think and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The view on the drive down the Amalfi coast was stunning. The view from our patio above Poisitano was even better. I got about 3 years worth of brownie points out of the wife over the view alone.

It's true that we only used the car a couple of times after we got to Poisitano but the drive in and out of there was stimulating to say the least. Really an increadable drive. In comparison, the drive down Hwy 1 in So Cali doesn't even come close. Rent a car, buy the insurance and do it.

http://www.rentvillas.com/PropertyListing.aspx?Location=13553

I'll post a couple of pics as soon as I can find em on my HD.
 

robav8r

Future performance not guaranteed . . .
None
Contributor
^^^ Rocketman - thanks for the intel, good stuff !
 

SynixMan

Space Cadet
pilot
Contributor
Rocketman, did you need to speak fluent Italian to get by there, or were they relatively friendly to english speakers?
 

Rocketman

Rockets Up
Contributor
Rocketman, did you need to speak fluent Italian to get by there, or were they relatively friendly to english speakers?
I don't speak any Italian at all. I understand and speak a very few words of Spanish from my high school days but that's it. Unlike some Germans and many of the French, the Italians seemed very friendly to english speakers. (IMHO more so than many Americans are to non-english speakers)

Even in France most of the time you can find someone that speaks a little english or who at least wants to help you communicate. I always had a little phrase book with me but I seldom used it, at least while I was trying to "talk" to someone. I found a smile and an appology for not speaking their language followed by lots of pointing etc goes a long way.

In general I thought the Germans were too structured for my personality and the French were boardline rude. The Italiasn seemed to be the most open and friendly by far.

If I ever go back I'd spend some more time in Tuscany and visit Northern Italy

Positano pics from a trip in '04

Amalfi Coastline
008_5A2[1].jpg
Our villa
023_20A (2) Villa.jpg
Patio
022_19A2[1].jpg
The beach
014_11A2[1].jpg
The Domo (church)
013_10A2[1].jpg
Street the villa was on (small cars are best for sure)
023_20A21[1].jpg
Side street
019_16A2-1[1].jpg
Biggest lemons and best lemoncello
018_15A2-1[1].jpg
 

Attachments

scoolbubba

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
I would like to see mainland Italy. I wasn't terribly impressed with Sicily, outside of Agrigento.
 

robav8r

Future performance not guaranteed . . .
None
Contributor
Rocketman - did you use a GPS to get around the countryside?
 

TheBubba

I Can Has Leadership!
None
I would like to see mainland Italy. I wasn't terribly impressed with Sicily, outside of Agrigento.
Really?!?! I've been to Sicily thrice over the past couple of years... Loved it. Stayed in Catania all three times. Saw Taormina, Sircusa and a few other places. None too shabby and a good time to boot.

I've yet to go to mainland Italy, but want to in the near future.
 

Rocketman

Rockets Up
Contributor
No but if I go back I will. I actually didn't have too much trouble finding my way around with map sespecially in Germany. France and Italy were a little more more confusing. In general the city maps I used from travel guides were pretty good but GPS would have been helpful.
 
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