Are we to old to go alone?

Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Are we to old to go alone?

I would like for my husband and I to take a trip to Europe. He is 73 and I am 64. He is in good health (runs 3 miles everyday) I need a new hip and will get one in March 2011.

For my question. Do you think we can take the pace of a tour through Europe on our own. We don't really want to go on one of those bus tours (Globus, etc.) they are extremely expensive even though you don't have to worry about carrying your luggage. We would like to be free enough to stay in a place as long as we want. I know the train is a great transportation method. Can you still find reasonable hotels? We are retired and would like this to be an inexpensive trip (not so cheap we would stay in 4th class hotels). Do you think it is do able?

Our plan is to fly into Paris, after a few days head south to either Spain or the French Rivera, then on to Italy; Florence, Pisa, Rome, Napels, Capri; up to Austria, maybe that crazy Kings castle, and Germany. We would like to travel throughout these different cities and countries. What do you think of the Eurail Pass?

Thanks for all your help.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:20 PM
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From your thread's title I assumed you were in your late 80's or 90's

64 too old?? OMG

And it sounds like your husband is as fit as many 40-50 yo. You have nothing to worry about - honest.

One thing though - to cover that much territory (whether aged 24 or 74) you would need about 6-8 weeks.

How long were you thinking of?
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:24 PM
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We have no time table as to how long we should be gone. That's one of the perks of being retired. Yes, he is fit and I want to keep him that way. No sense in pushing the envelope.

Thanks
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:29 PM
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You can certainly go on your own--that lets you travel at your own pace. Another option would be a river-boat tour, which makes travel very easy and pleasant. We've done both over the years and enjoyed travel by car and train in Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, and especially France. On a Grand Circle Christmas Markets cruise I visited Vienna, Passau, Regensburg, and Nuremberg, and I had to trot along to keep up with my fellow passengers--some of whom were in their 80s.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:41 PM
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What about reasonable hotels and the eurail pass. Can we make it on the cheap side.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:43 PM
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No your not to old to go alone. Maybe do a car rail pass.Just pack light so you dnt have to haul a heavy suitcase around.That becomes a pain when travelng.Especially when hopping trains and climbing stairs.
Have a great trip,
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Of course you can. We are older than you. Just do some searching for good air fares, good hotel recommendations, and go on your own. if you want a tour in the town you're in, there are always city tours. go at your own pace. I need two new knees. We sightsee, have a nice lunch, do some more, find a cafe to people watch, etc.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 03:44 PM
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I don't know if you have been to Europe before. From the breadth of the destinations mentioned, it appears this is your first trip.

Whether it is too old or not is a matter of mental and physical limiations. Your husband does not seem to have the latter issue.

In case you have not traveled on trains before, it REALLY helps to travel light. That is no more than a carry-on size luggage per person. Train floors are often well above the platform level. While there are "supposedly" elevators somewhere, the quickest way between the platform and the city is to carry your luggage up and down stairs. Sometime several flights if the escalators are not working.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:05 PM
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a few things

- your husband may be too old to get travel medical insurance. DO you have resources to cover unexpected medical expenses?
– what is your idea of "inexpensive"? That will make a big difference. The older i get the more important a comfortable bed and is to me.

-  have you traveled much before? Travel is exciting but can be tiring especially when away from routines, familiar foods etc. I don;t know that I'd make my first trip to Europe an openended exteneded affair.

- if you haven't traveled much before your idea of "packing light" may not be what fodorites consider "packing light."

– Eurail pass has its ups and downs. for popular trains and sleepers you still have to make reservations.

I'm actually not against your trip, it's just you seem to be asking a lot of very naive questions without giving info on how much you want to spend, how you will deal with any challenges etc. I would probably go with a short tour first and see if I wanted to spend an extended time on my own.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:06 PM
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You can definitely travel on your own. We're hoping to be travelling when we reach your age (which is definitely not that far in the future!). Good advice above is to travel light, give yourselves plenty of time to enjoy the the places you choose and have a wonderful time!
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:10 PM
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My parents traveled to Europe regularly well into their 80s. You've got plenty of years of traveling abroad left.

If you are Americans, you cannot stay in the countries you mentioned for more than 3 months without a long-term visa, so I would plan accordingly, as you want to cover a LOT of ground!

A rail pass is probably going to work out for you with that many destinations, but you should certainly price point-to-point tickets as well and look at short-haul flights within Europe.

And yes, you can keep costs down - though the exchange rate is a bit of a hurdle right now - especially if you stay in small towns and the countryside as opposed to all big cities and buy food from grocery stores and fresh markets and street stands instead of having restaurant meals all the time.

Good luck in your planning!
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:20 PM
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By bf's parents regularly travel from Oz to Europe and on cruises and are now both 81, and still travelling. They have both had travel insurance claims in Europe and still get insurance.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Well, we are 73 and 72 and travel to Europe on our own every year. Next year will be our 27th to Europe---16 of those to Italy. The key is preparation and planning---which is half the fun anyway. Do not bite off too much at a time. Some people hit a wall at about 18 days. We did 56 days one time and 19 days twice. But, you are not as experienced. Holler if you want some itinerary help---I have done it before.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Agree that you shouldn't have any trouble traveling on your own. As far as budget is concerned, I'd recommend searching for hotels in some of the main cities you're interested in so you can determine if you'll find hotels you like the look of within your budget. Try sites like Expedia.com, Orbitz.com or Venere.com.

Also, check Rick Steve's website for railpass pricing and options. I think you can do most of your trip, if not all, via train. But consider adding in a car rental if you want to hit areas that aren't easily arrived at by train. Many people buy a GPS navigation device to take with them for use in the rental car.

IMO, if you're interested in traveling in the off-season it will make it easier to make your plans on the fly, as it sounds like is your intent. It's easier to find available hotels at good prices, last minute availability, etc.

Good luck with your research and planning, and don't hesitate to come back here with more questions.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:43 PM
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By all means, please do travel to Europe and don't worry about having to be part of an organized tour. Without the constraints of a tour group, you can spend as much or as little time at a particular sight as you wish. If you're reasonably fit and respect whatever physical limits you may have, there's no reason why you shouldn't travel to Europe as a couple.

I'm one who likes to plan itineraries before going, so that's probably a good idea to do before leaving. With all these destinations listed above, you may find that your reach is a little long for a single trip, depending on how thorough you may want to be in each city. For example, you can easily spend a week each in Paris, Florence, Rome, Vienna, and the French Riviera if you really want to see a lot.

And yes, if you're going to spend this much time in Europe, getting a Eurail Pass makes a lot of sense.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 04:55 PM
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You may find staying in several of your locations for a longer time will be a good experience, slow travel. We also find driving much easier than taking trains due to carrying luggage on and off the trains. We pack very lightly but it still causes us trouble on trains. At times, it makes sense to take a train of course but primarily we drive a reatal car.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 05:07 PM
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Hello BeBeRose, I assume that you know that Medicare will not cover your husband outside of the US. I would suggest you go to: insuremytrip.com to check out the available insurance policies for coverage for both of you.

You will be allowed 90 days within an 180 day period for the countries you want to visit.

As one gets a bit older it is good to have a hotel room centrally located so if the desire to return to the hotel for a rest happens it is easy to do.

I would pack as little as possible. You can have laundry done at a laundromat, either you do it or have it done at a wash and fold type of place. And of course some things can be washed by hand at the hotel you are staying at. I would suggest, especially with taking trains, you each take a 21 inch suitcase along with a small carryon. You can always buy something if you need it.

If you are going to stay several days in various cities you might want to check out renting an apartment. Again if you go that route I would book a centrally located apartment. Many people do that and like the convenience of having a bit more room plus a small kitchen for breakfast, snacks or even a light dinner.

Best wishes, you both sound in good health and no doubt as many other seniors have found you should have a wonderful trip. And post back here on this thread when you have questions as Fodorites are so willing to share their knowledge.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 05:31 PM
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Just a word about the hip: i hope you are planning on several months' recuperation after the surgery before you go off on a big trip. My hip was replaced last Sept and though it was atrue miracle my doc suggested 6 months before counting on doing a lot of walking, staying in strange beds etc.
Have a great trip. You have a chance to design it however you want.
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 05:41 PM
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How many days is your trip?? Your wish list (3rd paragraph) would take 5-6 weeks at a relatively easy pace. That's a long time to be on the road at any age.

What time of year (if you know)??
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Old Oct 31st, 2010, 06:17 PM
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We are both older than your husband and do it (go to Europe) almost yearly. The above suggestions are good ones.
Pack very lightly. Go rather slowly. No one night stands (or few of them, spaced out.) Trains are fine, as long as you packed lightly. Stay in an area where you can come back to the room to have a rest and can walk to dinner. Also, enjoy those sidewalk cafes and benches in parks - great people-watching. My husband hits a wall at about 18 days (as someone said.) Have a great time. CJ
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