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Costsaver's Italian Scene vs. Splendours of Italy

Costsaver's Italian Scene vs. Splendours of Italy

Oct 9th, 2019, 06:32 PM
  #1  
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Costsaver's Italian Scene vs. Splendours of Italy

I plan to visit Italy in June 2020 with my husband and our 9 year old. It will be our first time and we are looking into joining a tour rather than going at it on our own. Has anyone joined Trafalgar's COSTSAVER ITALIAN SCENE? How does it fare against SPLENDOURS OF ITALY? They differ by 3 day (10 and 13 day tours consecutively) and by 2 more points of destination. I just want to know if it's a good idea to book with them. Please share your thoughts, experience, and tips. Thanks!
JazzyC is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 06:56 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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If you want to take a tour, by all means, do! But FWIW, it is very easy to visit Italy on your own, and people here on Fodor's will be glad to help if you choose to do so.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on either tour option you mention -- I hope you don't mind that I commented despite that!
kja is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:23 PM
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Can you tell us why you'd rather be on a tour?

Neither tour appeals to me. Too many places and too much moving around squeezed into the time in the country. None of the hotels are where you think they are but easily 30-60 minutes from the main sightseeing areas. They're not even IN the cities the itinerary identifies as the stops for the night. (I suggest you search their locations on maps.google.com to see what I mean. Oriago is not in Venice, Saronno is not on Lake Como, the Florence hotel is in Prato, etc.) The excursions, some of which you might feel compelled to do because of remoteness of your hotels, are fairly expensive, esp. when multiplied by 2 (or 3). In that respect, have you inquired about the tour cost for your son and/or any additional cost for a triple room?

Tours in general involve long days that start very early. Is your 9 y.o. up for that?
Jean is online now  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:36 PM
  #4  
 
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To piggyback a bit on Jean's post, have you looked into whether this tour is age-appropriate? So often, much of the travelers could be older, which your 9yo may find boring to be around (not saying this is absolute). Also, check for how big the group is. A coach tour usually involves 30+ travelers. More than 15 slows EVERYONE down...and you will miss things because of it. They will have to adjust the schedule and take out things that could interest you.

Pay attention to the words they use in the descriptions: "stop" usually means a photo stop, "visit" is usually a short 15-30 minutes at a landmark/sight, "tour" is often a guided tour somewhere but only hitting the highlights. If there are any free times at a landmark, it may only be an hour - some places that's ok, others, not so much. Sometimes you may get a few hours of free time in a city, but once you've navigated where to go and how, your time is shot unless you pre-plan.

Meals usually are dinners at chain restaurants or cafeteria-style establishments where you get no choice in the meal served and is frankly, not great. In one of the most gastronomic areas of the world, this would not be ideal.

Not trying to dissuade you. If you really want to travel via tour, so be it, but take a hard look to see if this is what you truly want to experience.
Travel_Nerd is online now  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:49 PM
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There aren't many meals included in either tour.
Jean is online now  
Oct 9th, 2019, 10:06 PM
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OK -- Tours have their place, but almost no mass market (i.e. budget) tours like these are appropriate for a 9yo. The average of the group will be in their 60's with some 40-somethings and a smattering of octogenarians. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with a multigenerational experience, but it is likely your son will be the only child on the tour (or even teenager). And there will be NO catering to a child's needs - like blowing off steam time, or playing in a park, or a casual gelato stop . . .

Some Rick Steves tours and a few other companies do cater to families but they will be pricier.

WHY do you think you need/want a tour? You can independently visit any cities you want and tale local walking tours or some day tours if you want.
janisj is online now  
Oct 10th, 2019, 02:56 AM
  #7  
 
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If I were a 9-year-old I'd run away from home before I'd go on either of these. It would be like spending 10 days on a mobile old-age home with potty stops. Nowhere to play, nowhere to meet other young people, nowhere to get a slice of pizza or a gelato....pure hell. He'll never forget Italy, and not in a good way.

There is absolutely nothing difficult about planning your own trip to Italy to suit your own needs and desires. Hundreds of thousands of people manage to do it every year. As noted, there are a few tour companies that cater to families, but they cost more, and you don't really need one.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 06:33 AM
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Sorry to pile on, but I have to agree with the others. Although I usually travel on my own, I have taken a few tours, and I do read tour brochures. You couldn't pay me to take one of these tours, even without a child.

Look up the hotels on Tripadvisor, and then look at the locations on google maps. they are terrible locations, nowhere near the sights. They are also cheap.

Look at the sightseeing that is actually included, as opposed to being extra. One reason the base price is low is because it includes very little besides transport (crowded coach), and hotels (see above). There are only five dinners included on Splendourts of Italy. Given the location of the hotels, where will you eat the other nights?

Look at how little time you have anywhere? A jet-lagged afternoon in Rome, and then one day before you move on? One day for magical Venice?

With ten days for Italy, you could comfortably visit Venice, Florence and Rome, or Venice, the lakes and Rome, or Venice, Rome and the Amalfi Coast, connected by train. Or, with a child, maybe Venice, the Dolomites and the lakes, flying home from Milan. Go here for info on traveling by train in Europe: https://www.seat61.com/index.html and use https://www.booking.com/ for hotels.

Or consider this Rick Steves' tour: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/my-way-italy It doesn't include sightseeing, but the tours you are looking at don't include much, and it is cheaper than his "full" tours.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 05:37 PM
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Both look absolutely horrible. You spend most of your time in a bus or a poorly located hotel. I suppose that as a therapist I should endorse your plans as it will virtually guarantee the 9 year old will require significant amounts of therapy later in life.
Seriously, if you want Fodorite assistance to plan a trip to Italy, come back with a description of what you see as the priorities for the trip (where, what when do you want to visit?) and a general sense of budget and you'll get loads of help.
Seamus is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 09:20 PM
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Personally, I think both of those tours are simply terrible for adults and worse for a child.

I took high school students on tours with similar itineraries. However, trips were geared to teens with guides who worked with kids and activities for teens. The kids were older and well prepped on what they would see. Because they were with other kids, they did not mind time on the bus. They played games, sang, etc.

IMHO, you would do better to pick a much smaller area and besides some major sights, plan things of special interests for your child. Plan things for him/her to do. Experiences make more memories than just sightseeing. My kids at that age liked the cats in Rome, climbing to the top of St Peters and riding in a gondola. Not in Italy, but they liked and remember staying on a working farm in Germany, going to plays in London, sailing boats in Paris, etc.

What are you most interested in? Mountains, lakes, nature or architecture, art, history, or food, etc.?
Either look for a tour that is geared to families with kids, or plan the trip yourself.

One more unsolicited suggestion. I love Italy, but with a child that age on a first trip to Europe, consider London and Paris. The combo is soooo easy to plan and both are filled to the brim with amazing and wonderful places and things kids find interesting.


Sassafrass is online now  
Oct 10th, 2019, 10:08 PM
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>>One more unsolicited suggestion. I love Italy, but with a child that age on a first trip to Europe, consider London and Paris. The combo is soooo easy to plan and both are filled to the brim with amazing and wonderful places and things kids find interesting. <<

Big ditto to that . . . !
janisj is online now  
Oct 11th, 2019, 03:58 PM
  #12  
 
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Consider a vacation apartment as your Home base with Idyll Utours???
www.Untours.com
mokka4 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2019, 08:38 AM
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My DH and I used to love touring holidays [by ourselves, not someone else's tour] but we soon worked out that our kids weren't half so keen as we were so we started to stay in apartments for a week or so at a time which meant that as they were happy, so were we! The places that worked best for us all were Rome and Lake Garda. Loads for everyone in both. Very easy to get to and to book.
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