Is international travel safe and inexpensive?

I am a single mom of a teenager. We live in SoCal, and every two years or so, spend about three days at Disneyland Resort. We want to broaden our travel experience. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Italy, and my daughter has ALWAYS wanted to go to Paris. But I've rarely flown on a plane, and going overseas intimidates me.
Are those countries safe for Americans who don't speak Italian/French? We're strictly white, English-speaking, conservatives. Should we go with a tour guide plan? How expensive would a good trip be, and how long should it be? A week? Two weeks? A month? What time of year is best to go? ANY information would be really great. Thanks so much, and Buon Jour!

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ChefMom94

Asked by ChefMom94 at 12:08 PM on Oct. 6, 2008 in Travel

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Answers (6)
  • I lived in Spain for a while. I absolutely love Europe!!! It's so romantic there because it's sooo old.

    I did and do speak Spanish. The thing I find is that if you at least try to speak their language, they will respect you more. After all, you are in their country. Even if you said in French or Italian, "I'm sorry I don't speak your language, do you speak English? Can you help me?" They will be more respectful to you because at least you tried to speak their language. Also, learning a couple of phrases like, "Where's the bathroom?" "Where's the tourist information center" Can be life savers.

    Hey, I love to talk about Europe and would love to answer anymore questions you might have. I have so many suggestions that might help you. Just go to my Cafemom's page and invite me to be your friend. Then I will take it from there.

    P.S. I do agree with the previous post--Spring is the best time to go--around March
    yowza

    Answer by yowza at 1:12 AM on Oct. 7, 2008

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  • Hey :)

    I live in Germany, I traveled a lot in the past few years. To book a cheap flight I recommend www.abctravel.de (u can change page to US english on the top left). I always book flights there, never had any problems. I cant really help you with Hotels ect. though :-/ .

    France, specially Paris is VERY expensive. Same is Italy. As soon as you dont speak their language fluent without an accent then they will charge you more for e.g. foods in restaurants, bars ect. I cant say if those countries are save, because every country has its criminals.

    If you travel to europe you should spend at least 2 weeks here. Everything less is too much stress. You wont have time to see much of the country/cities.

    France and Italy is beautiful in the summer or even spring. Fall and winter isnt that great there. Its cold ;)

    And yes, tourguide sounds great.

    Have a nice trip :D
    m.robertson811

    Answer by m.robertson811 at 12:20 PM on Oct. 6, 2008

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  • When my hubby and i were planning our honeymoon last year we looked into italy and europe.... just to warn you.... it is SUPER expensive. we looked into some hotels in italy that were like $700 a night! yikes!!! but if you arent bothered by the money... i say go for a month that way you can see everything and can spend your time really looking at all the history and architectural history there.
    BabyBugsmama

    Answer by BabyBugsmama at 11:00 AM on Oct. 7, 2008

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  • The way the economy is and the exchange rate with the dollar, I would consider staying a little closer to home. There are so many good travel deals out there right now just in the US. Hawaii is hurting for tourists and this is bad for them, but good for us as consumers. You can learn about the culture of the islands. Flight isn't too long, you savemoney, and would still be making awesome memories with your daughter. I'm one of the mamas at TravelingMamas.com and I recently went on a trip to the Florida Keys with my daughter. There were so many international visitors because it is cheaper for Europeans to visit the US, that she made new friends from Spain and Amsterdam.

    International travel is very educational for our children, but for the moment it is just way too expensive. Good luck, no matter what you decide to do.

    CajunMama2

    Answer by CajunMama2 at 3:08 PM on Oct. 7, 2008

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  • my mom is a single mom too, and we traveled all the time together.. just as you, Disneyland resorts, etc, but then we started going to Hawaii... what an adventure that was. We have gone several times, but then, we did the ultimate, a cruise.. we went along with 4 other gf's, and we had so much fun. The cruise is all inclusive, i recommend saving the money for a balcony room, if you check orbitz and travelocity and expedia, you can find great cruise deals. In a few days I will beloading some photos of my last cruise, just before my son arrived... we had a blast, went to Puerto Rico, The US virgin isl. St Maarten, and the Bahamas, as for spending wise, i went cheap, and brought home lots ofstuff..
    sweetscrappin

    Answer by sweetscrappin at 12:35 AM on Oct. 8, 2008

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  • also, one thing we did, was buy charms for bracelets at each place we visited, and i now have a charm bracelet with about 40 charms on it. The people were so friendly in the caribbean, we are also, talking about going on another cruise, she goes every year, i would be going this next time, but my son wont even be a year old. also, on the cruise ship, they have a teen club, and you have to be under 18 to get into it.. tons of stuff to do at sea. And its all included, you just pay for your shore excursions, but oddly, we paid 20 bucks and had a cab take us to the beach at magen's bay in st thomas, and we swam all day, that was so relaxing.. if you wantto know more, msg me..
    sweetscrappin

    Answer by sweetscrappin at 12:37 AM on Oct. 8, 2008

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