• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 29 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Come check it out for a chance to win a Free TUG membership (or renewal) just for helping out!

    Read more here
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $19,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $19 Million dollars
  • Our 2022 Timeshare Survey is now complete and the full results as well as our expert and witty analysis of each question is available here: Here We hope you enjoy reading the results as much as we did!
  • Follow the TUG Member Banner as it travels the world on vacation with Timeshare owners! Also sign up to get the banner sent to you so you can submit a photo of your vacation with the banner to share with TUG! Banner Thread
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free! 50,000+ subscribers! Latest resort reviews and the most important topics discussed by owners during the week!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    Read more Here
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Need help planning European trip

JackieD

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
452
Reaction score
13
Points
379
Location
Colorado
Just starting the process of trying to plan a trip to Europe for next summer. I know the Euro exchange stinks right now but we are ready to bite the bullet. I just don't know where to start. My husband and I are all over the place with ideas but don't know what's feasible. If you were to go for two weeks of timeshare using, where would you go that would be most central to traveling to different sites and not impossible trades. I am very nervous about being the planner for this because I don't know the first thing about how to do it. My mother is from Spain and I've toured Barcelona, Madrid, Seville & Granada but that was with an experienced tourguide --dear Mom--

My family includes me, dh, and 3 girls who'll be 16, 13, 9 (at the time).

A big factor will be airfare and which city is economically best from Denver. My kids get out of school May 28th so we could get a jump on the summer traffic. Will it make a difference in trading or airfare? I always feel like which came first the timeshare or the egg err I mean airfare :shrug: Do you fly in one city and out another? :hysterical:

Countries we are interested in are Italy, France & Spain but are open to other suggestions. We're thinking 2-3 weeks and maybe even a cruise in between timeshares??? Will probably rent a car/van vs. taking trains. Can you go between countries with rental vehicles.

I know Tuggers are a wealth of information on so many subjects so any help on where to start is GREATLY appreciated!!
Thanks,
Jackie
 

x3 skier

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
5,080
Reaction score
2,041
Points
649
Location
Ohio and Colorado
Resorts Owned
Steamboat Grand, The West,
Raintree and, formerly, The Allen House
I would start with getting the timeshares lined up first. Then you can start on airfares across the pond to somewhere and use Low Cost Carriers to get to your final destination if you cannot find a cheap fare top your timeshare location.

You can get an "Open Jaw" ticket with no real problem that allows you to fly into one city and out of another across the pond.

Try www.whichbudget.com to find the LCC's There are two drawbacks to using LCC's, very strict baggage allowances and the airports they use are sometimes miles from the major city they say they are flying to/from.

I would also look for time shares in the central Europe region since you can then explore many countries if you have a rental car. Just remember, gas is NOT CHEAP in Europe. Train travel used to be a really good deal but not so much any more, IMHO.

One last suggestion. If you need (or want) a new car, you can get European Delivery of any number of European cars at a substantial saving from MSRP. I know of many people who have picked up a car in, say Munich for BMW, drove all around Europe for a couple of weeks and then flew home. The price includes shipping and a lot of other items depending if you choose BMW, Volvo, Mercedes or others and is generally about 7% lower than the sticker (plus whatever you can negotiate). I have done it once and will get my next car the same way. If you want more info on European Delivery, send me a PM.

Cheers
 

Carol C

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
3,875
Reaction score
264
Points
418
Location
USA
OK, I'm going to sound like I'm trying to put a damper on things, but, unless you have a tiger trader it's going to be hard to get a 2 br for next summer in France or Italy. Your best bet is Spain...either the Costa del Sol or Mallorca. I love the Cala Pi resort on Mallorca which exchanges via both RCI and II and do believe you'll get a 2 br there since you can leave end of May/into June. You'll definitely need a car on Mallorca. You could fly out of Barcelona, where you've been and might want to overnight a couple nights if it's been awhile. Then maybe have a car for a week and go to places in Spain where you've never been...Toledo and Sevilla are two of my favorite destinations. With a family of five you might consider staying in a parador. You could fly into Madrid and out of Barcelona or vice versa and do a whole circuit of Spain...with one week in a t/s and the other week town-hopping. I love Spain and really loved Mallorca (another good resort I stayed at there was Cala de Mar, but I preferred Cala Pi because of its unique clifftop location and wonderful food & entertainment onsite.)

Whatever you decide to do...enjoy! :wave:
 

geekette

Guest
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
10,693
Reaction score
5,369
Points
848
I agree you're probably way too late to get the popular European destinations for next summer, but I would not line up the timeshares and then look at air = I'd do them at the same time.

When you find a good ts candidate, check air for it right then. I would book the best combo of ts location and air.
 

vacationhopeful

TUG Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2007
Messages
12,760
Reaction score
1,695
Points
498
Location
Northeast USA
I believe you would enjoy Eastern Europe as much or more than Italy and other expensive Western Europe cities.

I have been to London, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, Scotland, Ireland - western Europe. I have also been to Prague, Budapest, Krakow. The churches were just as big and with just as many crypts and stain glass windows. I saw the early Effiel Tower and my picture got my nephew extra credit from his teacher (it is in Prague). Budapest was the co-capital city with Vienna - just a little small opera house, but Prague's is as pretty ... Krakow has a dragon history, but the 1000 yo salt mine has almost 1000000 visitors a year. Plus, Krakow has a daVinci, just like Paris (and was a study compared to the Mona LIsa) and without the lines & crowds. I got to really look at it for 20+ minutes, alone. And Aushwitz is just a few miles down the road, although no one under 14 is allow to visit - but is a required Polish school trip for older teens.

The multiple favors of beers in the Czech Republic is not much different than Germany's as they are all part of Bohemia (like in the Black Forest). Budapest has public mineral water spas - year round water parks to Europeans at only $6-7 admission. Queen Latiffa (Last Holiday) and James Bond (last movie) both filmed in Karlovy Vary, CZ.

Why think about Eastern Europe - the favor is the same, the dollar is stronger as many countries are not yet on the Euro, and Americans are popular with the locals. These cities are all connected by rail which is cheaper than the Western Europe railways and intercity buses are also very popular (and may be cheaper than some rail connections).

Just my thoughts. Have a good trip.:)
 
Last edited:

PStreet1

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,077
Reaction score
43
Points
48
Location
Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mex., & Phx
I believe you are going to find that almost 100% of the timeshares are NOT in cities; they are in resort areas: sea coast, mountains. I suspect you will want to do most of your sightseeing in cities. In my opinion, that essentially means timeshares are not a logical choice for you in Europe. We've stayed at timeshares in London, outside Rome (end of the subway line), outside of Assissi, Nice, outside of Glasgow and outside of Dublin (end of the subway line). The ones at the end of the subway line weren't bad for seeing the cities, but they certainly aren't as convenient as actually being in the city. London was good because it was in the city. In other European cities, we've rented apartments or stayed in hotels. You might look on www.vrbo.com or www.homeaway.com, or www.cyberrentals.com. There are lots of other places where owners advertise their own homes, and you'll certainly stand a better chance of getting one than you will of getting a timeshare, which probably won't be located in a good spot.

In my opinion, the suggestion to try Eastern Europe is a good one: food will be less expensive, hugely less expensive, and lodging will be less expensive.
 

scotlass

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
660
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
New England
A lot depends on whether this is a one-shot deal or the beginning of several trips to Europe. If it's the former, I would look for a package deal that takes you to multiple cities. Skyauction.com usually has package deals you can bid on and if you win, can be booked for several people. A timeshare can be rather confining if you want to see places that are far away from it. Moving around might be better.
 

Carolinian

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
9,783
Reaction score
353
Points
518
Location
eastern Europe
Of the three countries you mention, timeshare is an easy trade in Spain, but much more difficult in Italy and France outside the Alps.

For sightseeing, with gas prices these days using a timeshare as a base to travel in the area is not so practical anymore. Travelling point to point works better.

I agree with the comment on eastern Europe, especially since this advantage will be going away in a few years.
 

Kola

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
1,335
Reaction score
1
Points
36
Sounds to me like you want to do too many things all at the same time. Since you have been to Spain I suggest you refocus on Austria, Czech Rep. possibly Hungary, Poland or Croatia. The variety and scenery is fantastic. Set aside three weeks to get your money worth and forget about a cruise. Get as much info as possible about train travel, its comfortable, safe and offers convenient sightseeing. Car rentals offer convenience but are expensive with gas or diesel fuel in Europe sky high. For reasons already stated summer T/S weeks in France, Germany and Italy are next to impossible to get. I would explore guesthouses and tourist hotels in cities or towns where you really want to be, not at some secluded resorts where you will feel isolated.

K.
 

PStreet1

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,077
Reaction score
43
Points
48
Location
Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mex., & Phx
The gasoline factor is not to be ignored. We rented a car in London and drove to Glasgow because I figured since we were renting a car anyway, we'd just rent a day early and save the airfare. Was I ever wrong! Before we were across the border into Scotland we had already spent more money on gasoline than we would have spent for two round trip plane tickets from London to Gasgow--and we still had to drive back to London. I enjoyed seeing the countryside, but had I realized the price of gasoline, I would have altered my plan.....perhaps a train? Not sure how much gasoline is in England now, but I THINK around $9.00 a gallon, and I think it's about the same in Germany, which means the rest of Europe can't be far behind.
 

JackieD

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
452
Reaction score
13
Points
379
Location
Colorado
Thank you, thank you!

Oh boy, so much to think about...I knew this would give me brain damage!! I really appreciate all the insightful replies to my questions. I need to look into all these options. I find it really tough to try to fit 5 people into anything but a timeshare. The thought of having to get 2 rooms at each hotel and splitting up is daunting and expensive. I have used VRBO in the past and I can look into that and guesthouses too. Sounds like I need to look into the northern areas of Europe more since it sounds great too. Maybe timeshares are not a great option for this type of trip or at least I have to be more focused on one country.... Thank you again.
 

vacationhopeful

TUG Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2007
Messages
12,760
Reaction score
1,695
Points
498
Location
Northeast USA
Jackie - here is something else to ponder ... your interests of timeshares, renting a car, travelling around sounds like a typical American's vacation.

You should try to do Europe as a local. Take their trains, stay in pensions, eat at restrauants that look different, respect their traditions. I have ordered food by pointing to someone else's lunch; seen chicken listed under 5 different listings on a menu and ordered not knowing which style of chicken would appear; eaten takeout from a window as the longer the line, the better the food must be. I have slept in couchettes with five or with two unknown persons on the overnight trains. I learn to sing the Gilligan's Island theme song before boarding the 3 hour city bus tours ... Budapest. Have taken Metros in more European cities than American cities, and surely could not pronounce most of the names of stations or stops ==> but their maps and diagrams are so good, I never got lost. And old in Europe some not mean broken or dirty or smelly - they appreciate style in the clothes, their decor, their environment. The foods are different. The locals are more fit and slim. When I stayed 2+ weeks with a French family near Chartres and ate Martin's cooking, I lost 5 pounds ... their daughter had stayed in my home months earlier.

I would love to take my young nephews and nieces (close in age to your kids) on a European vacation, but my sisters perfer their kids to stay in the same time zone. :shrug:
 

hibbeln

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
1,260
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Rochester, Michigan
We've made several trips to Europe over the years with our kids (now 13 & 10) starting when the youngest was in kindergarten. We started with Rome/Pompeii/Sicily, then went to Paris, then the Costa del Sol in Spain (toured around Andalusia, Gibraltar and Morocco), then Normandy in France (and a few days again in Paris), then just got back from the Bavarian Alps 1 week ago. Next spring break we go to Greece. Only twice (Costa del Sol & Bavarian Alps) have we used the timeshare. We just never found the timeshares to be "in the right place" otherwise, or else we didn't want to stay in one spot for a whole week!

What we did do is rent apartments....and we have had great luck with them. It gives you room to stretch out (and get away from each other) and make breakfast and snacks, etc.

If you do need to get a room, don't be daunted by looking online and not finding rooms for 5. We often have a grandparent along as a 5th person and I've found repeatedly that if you find a hotel you like and CONTACT THEM and ask if they can do a room for 5 or a "family room" or "family suite", more often than not, they can and do. They just don't list it as a standard room.

If you'd like to private message me directly, please do!
 

pianodinosaur

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
239
Points
273
Location
Texas
Resorts Owned
HGVC SeaWorld x 2, HGVC Las Vegas Strip x 2, MVC Mountain Valley Lodge, MVC Legend’s Edge
If you want to visit the big cities, your best bet would be with either a guided tour or a cruise. If you are planning multiple trips to Europe and are happy to stay outside a major metropolitan area, consider Malaga, Spain. There are numerous time share resorts between Malaga and Marbella. Both locations are close to Seville, Granada, and Cordova.
 

RDB

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
888
Reaction score
3
Points
226
Location
NC/VA
Jackie - here is something else to ponder ... your interests of timeshares, renting a car, travelling around sounds like a typical American's vacation.

You should try to do Europe as a local. Take their trains, stay in pensions, eat at restrauants that look different, respect their traditions. I have ordered food by pointing to someone else's lunch; seen chicken listed under 5 different listings on a menu and ordered not knowing which style of chicken would appear; eaten takeout from a window as the longer the line, the better the food must be. I have slept in couchettes with five or with two unknown persons on the overnight trains. I learn to sing the Gilligan's Island theme song before boarding the 3 hour city bus tours ... Budapest. Have taken Metros in more European cities than American cities, and surely could not pronounce most of the names of stations or stops ==> but their maps and diagrams are so good, I never got lost. And old in Europe some not mean broken or dirty or smelly - they appreciate style in the clothes, their decor, their environment. The foods are different. The locals are more fit and slim. When I stayed 2+ weeks with a French family near Chartres and ate Martin's cooking, I lost 5 pounds ... QUOTE]

I ditto this as the way to really get a taste of anywhere.

Something to keep in mind, temperatures for the time of year you are planning.
 

PStreet1

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,077
Reaction score
43
Points
48
Location
Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mex., & Phx
I agree. Get good guide books on the countries/cities you want to visit (your library will have lots, and you can see which ones suit your style). Try to list what you really want to see in each locale, and plan how much time would be needed to do it. Then you can make an estimate on how many nights you want in each spot. Some people are "museum people," some are "art people", some are "people watching people," etc. You need to be honest with yourself about what you are looking for and will enjoy. There's no point in planning to visit 16 cathedrals if you know that after the first two you'll be zoning out. The guide books will help you a lot in determining what kind of vacation will please you the most.

I'm not a fan of guided tours because I prefer being in charge of what I see and where I go. I want the freedom to stay in one place 5 hours if that's what's important to me and he ability to leave after 30 minutes if it isn't important to me.
 

lprstn

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Messages
2,654
Reaction score
22
Points
423
I totally know your situation...

I put in a request for London/France and just let the chips fall where they may (used a 1 bedroom week with Wyndham), and got

Barnsdale Country Club (#2932)
Be the first to write a review
Barnsdale
Rutland, LE15 8AB
England
www.barnsdalehotel.co.uk
1572-757901

Which I was told was an easy trade, by a TUGr

The benefit of this location is:

- Its in the English countryside with quite a bit to see nearby
- An easy trade in RCI
- Its a 3 bedroom/2 full bath
- Its close to the trainstation and a 1 hour by train to London

- We are also staying in London 2 days (touring independently) then taking a 3 Day tour of Paris / Disneyland Paris through a tour company that includes our hotel rooms, which takes out the guess work with our French. Since I am going to have 4 kids with me and my DH it helps my frustration to have a guided tour who speaks both French and English.

http://www.phoenixtours.co.uk/weekends-holidays/paris-disneyland-3-days.php or http://www.londonenglandtours.net/tours/tourType.cfm?ttid2=5267&gclid=CMbP2ubUmpUCFQNfFQoduQGAfQ
 
Last edited:

JackieD

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
452
Reaction score
13
Points
379
Location
Colorado
Thanks for all the insightful replies. I really need to sit down and plot things out. We travel all the time with our kids...in the U.S...exploring the nooks and crannies of the area we're in. I was an Airforce brat and my husband a Navy brat and we travelled & moved all the time. My mom was born and raised in Seville. They met there and lived in different countries. My parents go back to Spain yearly and also travel around Europe and do things exactly as you describe, submerged into the culture. I, on the otherhand, am more cautious (ie scared) to branch out. Unfortunately, because they have limited income and they fly via military planes, they don't want to go when we can (summer) because of the higher costs. I need to spread my wings and let go of what we know! I am not opposed to moving around and renting, just wanted to use up some timeshare weeks. That route does sound limiting after reading your suggestions.

Have to figure out what works best for us.

Anyway, thanks for all the advice. Now to move forward and start planning!!!
 

PeelBoy

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
727
Reaction score
2
Points
228
Location
Toronto, Ontario
I love Europe, so usually go there once a year or sometimes twice a year, exclusively on time share properties only, because hotels are too expensive.

Traveling in Europe by train hopping from cities to cities and sleeping in pension are cool, but personally I won't do it with 3 active teenagers.

Do you have RCI or II, which may make a difference. You should start your trip as soon as your kids get out from school on May 28, to avoid the crowd, the heat and to take advantage of the shoulder season airfare.

Availability wise, Spain is not a problem at all. The second is Austria mountain where you do day trips to Munich, Innsbuck and quite a number of towns. You may try UK via DAE. Don't forget Normandy. There are a few resorts northwest of Paris (90 minutes drive) not hard to find via II.

Budget wise, Eastern Europe still is a bargain. I just came back from Hungary in June, where you can find a decent lunch or dinner in a nice restaurant for about $10.

I am planning my next trip to Europe:

1. fly into Vienna
2. drive into Lake Balaton where I can do day trips to towns in Hungary, Budapest and even Vienna. Stay here for a week. Resorts are quite abundant via both RCI and II.
3. Drive to Croatia and spend a week at a resort on the seaside via DAE.
4. Drive back to Hungary. Hope to stay at a resort near Budapest from II.
 

MaryH

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
0
Points
396
Location
Ottawa, Canada
Jackie,

I lived and worked in Europe for 10 years and do several trips to London / Europe each year either on business or visiting friends.

I helped my sister plan her trip with her 2 kids 2 years ago and we end up analyzing where she wanted to go back to and show her kids. She tagged along with me on 3-4 European trips before where I did the majority of the organizing.

We narrowed it down to London/UK, Paris/France, Benelux (brussels, Amsterdam), Germany and Austria. They don't travel that well and I told her that what we used to do of 2-3 days for a small city and 4-5+ days for a larger city would not work for them so she decided that they would pick 2 major cities to spend a week each and then 1-2 cities to spent part of a week. We ended up setting up an itinery for a week in London in hotel, a week in Paris in a rental and 3 days in an hotel with 2 rooms in Brussels which I redeemed some hilton points for. It ended up that they decided on 2.5 weeks rather than 3 due to cost considerations since they would rather enjoy it then watch the money on 3 weeks.

If you mom is from Spain and your kids are 1 quarter Spanish, it may be interesting to go to Spain for part of your trip. Barcelona is great and I liked Serville too and there are a lot of interesting things in Madrid. If some of you speaks some Spanish, it would also help with the language.

Allen House has some 2 bdrm but you would have a better chance of getting that from an owner then via exchange. Sometimes you can get Marriott at Disneyland in 2 bdrm. It is not really in Paris but close enough at 45 mins by RER and it may be nice for the younger kids.

I lived and worked in Prague and have a soft spot for it and it could be easily combined with Hungary or Vienna which are also nice cities.

I know several people that found nice places via vrbo..
 

Zac495

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
3,108
Reaction score
103
Points
448
Location
Philadelphia, PA
I loved the Marbella area. There is a TON to do there. Honestly, sightseeing is tiring - why not get 2 weeks in one place and stay there? Your kids would enjoy that area. Check out my picture trail - we even went to Morocco from there - and Gibraltar with the monkeys would be a blast for the kids - I wished we had our kids with us for that.

Have fun.
 
Top