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10 Dec 2010
Sharon
Posts:13
Bringing a minivan to Naples

Hi!

We are pcsing to Naples this February and are wondering if it is practical to bring our Honda Odysse.  WE have 4 kids (6,3 and 2yo twins).  I have heard that an American minivan is too wide to drive around in.  Would it be better to buy a used European style minivan? 

WE are planning on living off base, if possible.  Money is an issue.  DH is O-5, but we have a lot of mouths to feed :-)

Thanks so much for any advice!

Sharon

10 Dec 2010
Aaron
Posts:1
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

Definitely!! I was advised NOT to bring my big car, and I have been very sorry I didn't. The highways, and the roads in general are fine for a minivan. Downtown driving would be challenging, and should be avoided, but I avoid it in my smaller cars also. Bring your minvan, you will need it, and many many big families have them. An italian minivan will not make you happy IMO, as they are not as well built as your Honda and do not have the accessories you are used to having. Good luck!

10 Dec 2010
Jeannie
More than 50 messages post
Posts:59
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

I have a Toyota minivan, live off-base and get around just fine. I have seen many, many minivans at the soccer games, including Honda Oddyseys so you'll be fine! And, it's very handy to have something to haul stuff such as secondhand furniture purchases etc. should the need arise. 

And you won't be the biggest car on the block either. I've seen Suburbans, Nissan Armadas, and even a Lincoln here!

Ciao!

 

10 Dec 2010
Mary Jane
Posts:36
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

We have a minivan and have no issue with the size here.  It's especially handy for travel.

I have to admit though that we picked up an inexpensive second car and it's a huge benefit for running around town.  It's a four-door alpha romeo Italian car (Easily fits 5, including 3 adults, a car seat, and a booster).  Not only is it smaller (but not small by Italian means) and convenient for running errands anytime you need to parallel park in town (at any market or trip into Naples, you'll have a more difficult time finding a spot big enough for a van; you'll find one, but it might take a while), but I like using it around town is that it doesn't stick out as an American car (in the mall parking lot for example).

But I don't know what I would do without our van for trips.  I have also used the minivan to drive around town. It's tighter down some alleyways, but your sense of 'enough room' is about to shrink dramatically anyway (don't worry, you'll get used to it quickly).

A nice second car can be bought for a couple thousand dollars. There is a lemon lot on base and a local dealer nearby that is pretty well-respected by the Americans here.

11 Dec 2010
Cheryl
Posts:36
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

I was advised not to bring my Honda Odyssey but I did and I am glad I did. 5 hour trips to places like Florence and having plenty of space for all has been a blessing. Driving is crazy here but I go everywhere in my van not to mention feel safer. You might want to bring a couple of extra filters to have on hand and make sure the tires are in good shape, my Odyssey is the 05 model and they do not sell the tires here to fit it. Like others on here, we purchased a 2nd little car, ours is only used for my husband to travel to and from work. If you live of base you will need the 2nd car unless your spouse plans on taking the Odyssey. On base they have a bus that runs to and from JFC and Capo.


Good luck with the move & safe travels

11 Dec 2010
Mary Jane
Posts:36
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

Cheryl brings up a really good point.  I also highly recommend bringing basic spare parts with you (belts/hoses/sparkplug wires/filters) and making sure your tires are in good shpae (or put an extra set in your shipment, you'd be surprised how many people do it here).  If you or your husband are the handyman-type for a car, it will go a long way for you here.  If you break down, towing is VERY expensive here and I don't know of anyone that has found a garage that they would recommend.

12 Dec 2010
Sharon
Posts:13
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

Thank you so much for the responses!  This is great advice that I haven't heard before.  I'm so happy that I found this forum before leaving.

 

13 Dec 2010
Jeannie
More than 50 messages post
Posts:59
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

In regards to maintenance, have your brakes checked and replaced if need be, before you leave.  They do not "turn rotors" here, so it's very expensive to have brakes replaced, as they replace the rotors rather than lathe them, as they would in the States.  I also recommend bringing a set of rotors and brake pads with you, in addition to all other maintenance items for your van: wiper blade inserts, fuel and gas filters etc. You can access this info in your owner's manual, or check with your mechanic for a shopping list. Otherwise you end up ordering them online or thru the NEX autoport, which is more expensive.

The tire suggestion was a good one. Make sure yours are in good condition before you leave. We found a good online tire source with free shipping, so ordering them is not a big hassle, but you will have to wait for them to arrive.  Since Hondas do not have a full-size spare, you may want to bring along at least one new tire, just in case you need it in a pinch.

Hope that helps; enjoy your stay here and have fun travelling in your van!

17 Dec 2011
Chris
Posts:3
Re: Bringing a minivan to Naples

Yes, you can definitely bring a minivan. If you want to explore inner city or off the highway i would invest in a small Naples beater due to tight spaces, damage, break-ins, etc. And a Naples car to help you blend in is great. There are definitely bigger vehicles here that travel fine. As for spare parts, bringing extra is a good idea, however there are lots of good online stores to buy from and if you know you will be in need you can order early and be fine. There is an Auto Shop on base that has limited supplies and they do offer mechanical work, but with my experience and several others their work is often terrible and causes more problems. I have heard 1 or 2 people say they had good experiences but the majority is bad. There are good mechanics here that people can recommend. I take all my vehicles out in town for work to the same guy. Good tires are a must here, so if they are close or needing to be replaced get them before you arrive. The roads here are alot slicker than in the states due to the mixture they use for pavement. Also, a good tune up would be a good idea before you get here, as gas isnt the cheapest here (about 5.35+/- a gal) and you only get 300 liters (65.99 gal) a month which is what you should recieve if your minivan is your primary vehicle here. This gets me and my wife by every month and i have 2 cars and a bike, with some to spare but it is definitely not something you want to waste.