Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Have I been tasked with the impossible?




Every year we spend a week at the same ranch-y place in central Oregon to get some sun and relax. Our friends Tom and Chris and their 3 kids also go, through rarely the same week. We always go with my fiance's brother his 2 awesome kids and his hysterical girlfriend. Separately a certain amount is spend renting a place to stay, feeding the troops, etc etc. All in all, that's 12 people.

After a little too much wine I opened my mouth suggesting that we switch it up, since the kids are between 6 - 18, and take this show on the road - - to Europe - - for two weeks next summer. I volunteered to plan a few options to see if this is even possible.

So, I guess we're betting at least $1000 per person for airfare. Fine. And then there is a small matter of finding a place large enough to house us all. This is not at all hard - if you're cool paying $22,000 a week for a place overlooking the Amalfi coast.

The tab, as you can see, is rising. I started looking at litle villas in Tuscany. MUCH more affordable (a bargain, really, once you shake down the adults and kids for a few hundred bucks each...). But then, despite having a lovely pool, you have no beach action.

So then I thought, south of France. This is looking to be a slightly better option. I think I would prefer the kids to see chic little Italians zipping around on their scooters in Italy, rather than suffer the sight of leathery old eurotrash on the beaches of the French riviera, but budget travelers can't always be choosers. France seems to offer the quaintness we seek with more affordable options that get us much closer to the sea.

My fiance thinks this is the wrong kind of vacation... he thinks we need to do a multi-city trip with the kids - London, Paris, Rome, etc... maybe that would be better for them. But who wants to schlep around with 12 people ages ranging 6 - 47? Oy.

Ideas? Tips? Links? Thoughts?

21 comments:

MAds said...

From the 21st Im on vacation and when Im on vacation I get bored. When I get bored I turn into an insomniac. I could look into some things in Italy for you. Tell me what you are looking for...

PS I DO actually have better things to do with my time, but you entertain me, so I dont mind giving back.

Anonymous said...

The "greatest hits" vacation your fiance proposes gives me a migraine.

decorno.blogspot.com said...

Anon - - I suppose too many stops might be trouble... but considering that he's only suggesting 3 cities in a span of 2 weeks, that's pretty do-able. Especially considering that we already drive 6 hours to our vacation spot here in the NW... Europe is so concentrated that it's really not too huge a deal to hop to 3 difference cities in 2 weeks... then again, ask me after I've done it with 12 people and then I will have probably changed my tune. :)

Lisa Hunter said...

Try Central or South America for your beach getaway. The dollar goes a long way in many countries, and you can find beautiful colonial and indigenous architecture.

decorno.blogspot.com said...

Went to Argentina and Uruguay this year... you are right. The dollar goes a long way. :)

Not looking to go back next year, though, so we're definitely interested in Europe.

Habitually Chic said...

You could try Rome, Venice and Florence instead of trying to hit many different countries. There's a great hotel in Venice, the San Clemente, that is on it's own island, has a great pool and free shuttle to St. Mark's.

kaija said...

what about eastern europe? croatia? Or tunsia? I know thats not europe, but supposed to be amazing.

decorno.blogspot.com said...

Tunisia is definitely on my list (see a few posts ago...) but the family, I think, wants something a little more conventional.

The best deal is Malta. But then you spend the next 3 weeks explaining to everyone when you get home where the hell Malta is. :)

decorno.blogspot.com said...

MADS - I await your excellent travel recommendations! :)

Courtney said...

Maybe you could hit one big city and then spend a week in the country or at the beach- have a little of both worlds. I don't know if you ever look at Wimco, but that is often where I go to dream of vacations I'd like to take one day... some of the rentals really are pretty reasonable if you are dividing among a group.

JJ said...

I think
a. I am going with.
b. the kids will much more appreciate 2 weeks in one really bitchin' place (i.e. Malta, screw the geography lesson) when they grow up. They can do anon's "greatest hits" tour with the high school French Club.

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't be so negative about the Euro-greatest hits. It's just that when I was a kid, I hated vacations that were supposed to be good for you--you know, vacations based on learning things or expanding your horizons or what-have-you.

Fairfax said...

My sister's family and my cousins rented two adjacent farmhouses in Tuscany last summer. There were 10 of them. Place had a pool and was well-located. Let me know if you want me to find the name of the agency. mfairfaxf at juno dot com

MAds said...

It really all depends on what you want and when you want it. For example, if you plan on travelling in August, then you should cross off western Europe completely. We all have sanctioned holidays in August so most places are closed and the crowds are unbearable. We always get the hell outta here and hit Eastern Europe or the states in August. So if we are talking June, July, September you just need to scale things. My best friend rents a villa in the south of Italy for about 15,000euro a week complete with maid, butler, cook, etc. Or he goes to the Tenerife at a private villa and beach for about 12,000euro a week, complete with complimentary yacht and skipper. I can get the info on those places if you want. Otherwise, you can rent a beautiful villa near the sea in any Italian town for about 2,000-4,000euro minus the staff and yacht. Anyway, I’ve already started my hunt for an apartment for next summer as I always travel with Eva, so maybe I’ll post some of the hot finds on my blog. Or just send me a mail Madison.adams at yahoo dot com.

Fairfax said...

funnily enough, this was on my e-mail from fodor's this morning

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=35094431

Melanie said...

Wow, that's gotta be tough. Being able to only afford to rent a villa in Tuscany instead of Amalfi. I feel your pain! Sometimes I can only afford to fill my hot tub with domestic champagne.

decorno.blogspot.com said...

Well, we don't live extravagant lives and we see this as a one-time big vacation for our group.

Renting a home is actually more affordable than hotels. Per-person it will probably be less than if I were to go to Paris with my fiance on some deal through go-today.com so it's not like this is our Big Pimpin' vacation on a yacht with Jay Z.

MAds said...

Ha! Love that Melanie.
Serioulsy though, you can do it any style you like. If you are going to come all the way out here you dont want to stay in a dump, but you dont need to break the bank. Avoid August and you'll be fine. Plus you are dead on about the hotel thing. You can definately make things stretch by getting an apartment or villa (which actually just means a house). If have never been to Italy you have to come. Period. Plus if you are in Tuscanny or Luguria you can drive easily to France or Milan, for example. I live in Liguria and its 2 hours in various directions to Nice, Milan, and Florence. You can really get a bang for your buck around here and for example take 2/3 days off from the group to take a small trip with your man...

decorno.blogspot.com said...

I am getting such great advice from all of you - - thanks so much!

Suzy said...

I stayed in a villa (yes, a villa nonetheless) in the south of spain with a group of friends some years back. It had 4 (possibly more) bedrooms, and a pool. The cliffhanger is, well its literally on a cliff overlooking the mediterranean. Not much to do in town, but a pool usually keeps the troops happy - and itsn't that what a holiday's for? There were loads of local food places around, and its within driving distance of some awesome sights (i.e. Alhambra). The house cost us a bit more than $100 per night (That's aussie dollars, mind you). It was the most awesome holiday I've ever had. I'm sure you could get cheap flights from the US to say Madrid and then cheaper local flights. It was so beautiful, and you really do get into the siesta thing. Well, I did, but after loads of Sangria I dare you not to!

Tara said...

I did this trip with about the same amount of people with about the same age range--at Disney! Truly, it is difficult to travel with such a band and I swore I'd never do that size again because just moving that amount of people in a theme park was tough...and the oldest and youngest had needs, like they both melted down around 4 pm...we wound up doing alot of day splitting up and meeting up for dinner. This kinda happened on a daily basis. I'm pretty easy going but my nerves were shot after awhile...