Escorted Tour with Walking Limitations

Old Jul 29th, 2017, 07:23 AM
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Escorted Tour with Walking Limitations

There are limits to how far I can walk. I have been told there are some escorted tour operators who spell out for each location how far one must walk, how many stairs one will encounter, etc.

I am contemplating travel in the UK or Eastern Europe. Any recommendations?

HTtY
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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I am facing some of the same limitations as you, Happy, and I do not think there are any solutions other than taking private escorted tours in which you can set the pace, distance, and level of exertion required. Pricey and limiting, but I cannot expect to limit the others on a group tour to my snail's rate of knots. I suggest you contact the tour operators directly to work out possible routes.

We are limiting our touring to self guided tours for which we can set our own velocity. My dear wife has kindly adjusted her pace to mine, partly as that gives her more time to shop as she waits for me to catch up, or sit and rest.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 07:52 AM
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I just used google for "escorted tours with limited mobility" and several options turned up.

Also, Tauck is a good high-end company, have a look at their web site. Rick Steves is mid-range. Both might offer tours or options for people who can't walk much.

There's roadscholar.org (used to be elderhostel) with a variety of programs/tours focused on over 50s.

I have limited mobility, have considered smaller van tours where there's more flexibility (drop me at the pub or café, etc.). Not needed at the moment because husband will drive and more than happy to drop me at the pub or café if needed!

Best investment I ever made was a cheap, lightweight collapsible hard plastic step stool from Lowe's, no more problems getting in and out of rental car vans, SUVs, etc.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 08:58 AM
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Have a look at Rabbies. They are not high end but one advantage is that admissions are not included in the tour price which is good if unable to climb castle stairs, or manage a particular site. You're not out the price of admission. The drivers/ guides on Rabbies will always caution you about physical requirements. On one tour, there was a delightful couple in their 80's but while visiting Tintagel Castle,which is impossible for those with physical limitations, they explored the village and had a great time. On one of three Rabbies tours I did this past June, there were 3 ladies in their 80's all childhood friends, but they managed quite well with the help of our guide. Their ( Rabbies ) tours usually have a couple of people with such limitations, so you likely wouldn't be the only one.

www.rabbies.com

Regarding Tauck, we did a tour with them several years ago and, perhaps, it was the guide, but she was not at all sympathetic or helpful in several instances of people with problems.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:24 PM
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If walking is the only limitation, then planning your own trip would best meet your requirements. However, if you also have a limitation in planning, then you are at the mercy of what is pre-packaged for you unless you can deploy a lot more resources to execute a mobility-limited trip just for you. The custom route would be more feasible in the Eastern Europe.

I have taken some escorted tours for special interest trips, but otherwise, I do my own. If you look at itineraries of ordinary tours, you will find that they seem to be targeted to those who want to hit many places quickly. I have encountered numerous escorted tours all over Europe. Sometime they seemed to be behind the schedule and needed to hurry to the next assembly point. Some of them were huffing and puffing as if they were about to have group heart attacks.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:34 PM
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Rabbies is a great option for the UK and Ireland.

But otherwise, with mobility issues IMO I'd rather travel independently. You can go where you want, not go where you know you can't manage, and not have to keep pace with the others.

One can always hire driver/guides for day tours when necessary.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:57 PM
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Rick Steves' regular tours require you to be physically active. It is possible the My Way tours, which include hotels and transport but no sightseeing might work, but you may still need to be able to handle your own luggage and cope with stairs.

Gate1 might be a possibility, I believe they also have tours where you organize your own sightseeing, and they are more likely to handle your luggage and use hotels with elevators.

I have also been considering river tours, although as a last resort as you don't get enough time in each city.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 02:19 PM
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I looked on the Road Scholars site and they have some tours designated as "easy" which might work well for you.

I traveled with my aunt to Paris, Prague and London when she was in her early 80s. She was in fairly good health but I wrote ahead to our hotels requesting rooms that might be easier for her to use and they were very helpful. She was usually given a room with an easy to enter shower and that didn't require climbing stairs. One or two hotels suggested they wouldn't be ideal for her, which I appreciated. I did learn that it was best when we took taxis between locations to save her stamina for touring sights and museums.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 03:25 PM
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To clarify, we both use walking aids, and we are good as long as we can drive in scenic areas (National Parks, the mountains, the ocean, the desert, etc.) or cities with parking available almost everywhere (LA and most small towns but not downtown Seattle or New York City).

A big problem is dealing with luggage when traveling by rail or bus.

On the two escorted tours I've taken my luggage was delivered to my room on arrival and picked up from my room on departure. I didn't need that service then, but I need it now.

However, both those tours (Turkey and Israel) required a great deal of walking and in Turkey we often had to stand for 30 minutes of more while we were given a lecture about a historical or cultural site.

We can't do that any more.

We can climb a flight or two of stairs, and we can walk two or three blocks if necessary. However, we can't walk two blocks up hill or stand for long periods.

Cruises work well for us, but they don't give us enough time to hang out at a destination port.

We are looking for escorted land tours that cater to our current abilities.

HTtY
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 04:33 PM
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Rick Steves require that you transfer your suitcase from bus to lodgings.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 10:28 PM
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This company might be worth contacting: http://www.sagetraveling.com. I found them mentioned on Rick Steves' website.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 05:42 AM
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You could try contacting Enable Holidays who may be what you are after, They specialise in holidays for those of limited mobility.
http://www.enableholidays.com/

There's some more information about them here.
https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/...nable-holidays

Like you I have problems walking long distances and can't do the stand and listen either, so know exactly what your problems are...
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:18 AM
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I find the stand and listen annoying even when I'm healthy. There is no reason you have to stand in front of whatever it is for the lecture, instead of sitting down in comfort with a cup of coffee. One reason to take a guidebook instead of a tour!
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:31 AM
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Thanks you ESW and KTtravel for the links and to the rest of you for your suggestions.

There is no reason you have to stand in front of whatever it is for the lecture, instead of sitting down in comfort with a cup of coffee.

I have sometimes been at remote historical sites (Turkey, Egypt, Peru) where there is no place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and other places (the backstreets of Rome) where I would have lost a guide if I had left the group.

At those times standing wasn't a problem; it is now. In a second post, I spelled out the specifics of my limitations.

HTtY
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:41 AM
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Actually, there is no reason to wait until you get to the site for the lecture. If it is a group tour there is no reason not to give the lecture after breakfast or on the bus, but tour guides all seem to have the same belief that you need to be in front of the building, artifact etc. If you can afford a private guide you should be able to get her to do the lectures somewhere you can sit, even if it is not at the site.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:21 AM
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I think the problem thursdaysd is that fully mobile people (including the tour guides) don't understand the problems limited mobility or the inability to stand and listen is like and the restrictions it places upon you. I do actually find it helpful to be able to look at what the guide is telling me, and the after breakfast lecture or talk on the bus isn't the same... There are ways round this, but you need to find a tour company that understands the problems and are geared up to deal with them. Most aren't. The guide book isn't always the answer either.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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Unfortunately it isn't only professional tour guides. I was limping around Japan with a sprained ankle one trip, and my Goodwill Guide in Kanazawa, an elderly man, was completely unwilling to make allowances for me. He even seemed angry! I had to be quite insistent, which I am sure was a cultural no-no.
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