Europe for my parents?

Mar 25th, 2007, 01:21 PM
  #1  
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Europe for my parents?

We would like to send my 60 yr old parents to Europe. They have never been out of the country, and I would like to find a 'tour company' that gives them some perimeters but also gives them time to explore. Also I do not want them on a bus with a bunch of 80 year olds! They are not senior citizens yet but I think because it is their first time, it would be nice to have a little structure. Any suggestions on good tour companies and/or travel agents that specialize in the boomer generation??
JenniferK is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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.....Rick Steves & Co. run good tours
for boomers.
llamalady is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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I too have heard good things about the Rick Steves tours, and the people who go on them. (I know a couple of the guides, and they are great!)

But are you sure they need a tour?
enzian is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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ira
 
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Hi J,

Europe is a fairly large place, do you have something specific in mind?

ira is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Why on earth do you think (apparently) perfectly normal middle-aged people need to be nannied around?

Are they incapable of reading a guide book? Surfing for advice? Booking an Easyjet ticket?

Is so, it's more than a guided tour they need.
flanneruk is online now  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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I think your parents might surprise you. As you said, they are not senior citizens! Everyone makes that first trip once in their lives, and I think, with good planning, a tour really isn't necessary.

You don't mention what cities you are thinking of. Certainly, most European cities are really not that intimidating, and they will probably enjoy discovering a place on their own.

If you want a little structure, they could take some of the organized tours around the various cities or do day trip tours, but not spend the entire trip as part of a tour group.

I, for one, would not recommend Rick Steves. I live in Paris, and the little I've seen of his recommendations for that city is either tacky or inaccurate. I'm sure this is not the perspective you want for your parents.

Toupary is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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I didn't say they needed to be 'nannied around'. My parents are young and I'm aware of that. However, for someone who has NEVER left the country before, planning a multi-country trip to Europe can be daunting, as you know the possibilities are endless. They are very smart people, but by no means what I would call 'travel savvy'. If giving them some help is considered being nannied around, my apologies.
JenniferK is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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My guess is that Jennifer knows her parents better than the rest of us do.
I once helped a perfectly intelligent couple in their 40's plan their first trip to Europe. I helped them book their flight, their three hotels, and even transportation between cities. They went armed with all the lowdown on currency exchange, lists of restaurants, maps, and places to go and things to see. They had an "all right" time, but stressed a lot.

The next year they took a "package bus tour" and although they were a little younger than the average, they had a ball. They LOVED having someone else make all the decisions, they loved going to more places instead of staying put in one city for four or five days, they loved never having to "worry" about things, and most of all they loved not "being by themselves". They've been doing tours ever since.
Independent travel is NOT for everyone, as much as most of us tend to think it is the ONLY way to go.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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Thanks Toupary. That is good advice!
J
JenniferK is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Don't be bullied by tour-haters, Jenn. You know your folks and I think a tour could make a lot of sense if you know their likes and dislikes.

This forum is a haven for planning your own trips. You can pick up many ideas on places, sights, etc before you commit to a certain tour.

Good for you for thinking of your folks!
canterbury is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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Do your parents have a particular interest that you could make the focus of the trip? Food and wine, architecture, history, music?

Some of the most intesting tour I have seen are the one offered by various colege alumni associations. Or the Smithsonian has some great-looking ones:

http://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/

They offer tours based on various interests, or focusing on a particular area. (There's an enticing one on paradours and castles in Spain and Portugal).

There is a temptation to want to "see it all" on a first trip to Europe, but I think the most enjoyable trips are the ones that concentrate on a smaller area--one or two countries---where you can get to know the culture a bit, and relax.

enzian is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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I'm not a huge Rick Steves fan but I'm glad to hear his tours are good.

I'll be sending my parents somewhere next year for their 50th anniversary- either on a group tour in the UK or on a cruise to the South Pacific as those are their two biggest desires.

My parents have no desire to go it alone abroad and it isn't because they are senile or fragile. They are perfectly capable people who still waterski and snowski and have traveled by car to all 48 lower states (with my brother and I fighting in the backseat all the way) and have visited Alaska and Hawaii for months at a time. They simply do not wish to deal with the learning curve abroad. regardless of how small or large it is. Not everyone enjoys the same type of travel and going on tours shouldn't be seen as "less than."
amwosu is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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Don't be bullied by out-of-touch know-it-alls JenniferK. I have traveled independently for years and have occasionally booked a tour when it made sense. Go to http://www.vacationstogo.com -- they sell tours of all types from all vendors. You can use the search function and narrow it down to region, budget, etc.; you will soon see the difference in companies. The tours I have been on had ages 20-75, a very nice mix, and I made a lifelong travel buddy friend as a bonus!

Just saw the Smithsonian suggestion -- various universities like UCBerkeley also take purpose-driven tours led by experts....have fun planning.
Fidel is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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"Don't be bullied by out-of-touch know-it-alls"

Where did that come from? I don't think anyone here has tried to bully Jennifer, just giving her the benefit of their personal preferences/experience. I hardly think that qualifies as bullying, and I doubt that most of the people who post on this forum are out-of-touch.
Toupary is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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Defensive much? I actually didn't even get to your post, it was the one before...that just gets tiresome over and over and over. If it's humor it just doesn't come across as funny, and there was no "personal experience" related that I could tell. And I'm not the only one who noticed it, OP actually had a good note about it. So that's where that "came from."

And you can "doubt" about people being out-of-touch but believe it or not it happens all the time here, we are not infallible.
Fidel is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Fidel, you seem to be having a problem with anyone who doesn't agree with you. My noting your rude behavior is not defensive. I didn't take your post personally, as I don't feel mine needed to be defended.

Note that I said I doubted that "most" people on the forum were out of touch. Your not liking one poster's response hardly proves the contrary.
Toupary is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:36 PM
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Now, can we get back to the original topic? This is hardly productive.
Toupary is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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Hi Jennifer, you might want to look into a European river cruise, there are many different cruise lines, Viking, Peter Deilmann, Grand Circle. These are on smaller ships (boats?) as river cruising is much different than ocean cruising, you get to see lovely scenery, only unpack one time, and depending on the tour co. some have very few optional tours while in port cities others more. We usually travel independently however, I went on a river cruise from Vienna,Austia to Nurnberg, Germany this past December, solo, as my husband was tied up at work and had a wonderful time, I enjoyed it so much that we will be going doing a river cruise together in the South of France in December. I just can't rave enough about it. Whatever you chose they should have a great time.
Susan
Suspaul is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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The point was not to have anyone agree with me, it's the constant stream of putdowns and cracks that surfaced again here -- I was one of 4 people to note it, including OP. And I do stand by my assertions, especially the Know It All one.
Fidel is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Jennifer: for what it's worth..my first trip to Europe was with Globus..actually through Brendan, but once we hit London everything was Globus. It was a tour called From Thames to Tiber. It was for 16 days counting the travel days..flew into London and out of Rome. It was pretty low key. The city tours were set up for the morning and then MOST days, the afternoons could be free and on your own time, OR you could avail yourself of optional tours offered. There was also one full free day in London, Paris, and Rome. You might check it out, you can check on line at Globus website.

All the hotels were very nice and actually MORE than just nice with the exception of London, but they were all very clean and located near transportation. Anyway, you are just in the "looking and asking" stage now, so you might take a peek at this tour.

As far as age goes, our group included a girl of 13 with her parents...actually her mom worked for Globus and was from Australia and was taking the tour to learn about it...anyway, we had two gals in their mid 20's, a guy in his late 20's, two sets of honeymooners, and the rest of the people were from mid 40's up to I'm guessing the oldest was early to mid 70's. So, we were pretty diverse. My SIL still stays in contact with several people from that tour, and have an open invitation to visit one couple in Australia any time they can arrange to go.

There are message boards that feature group touring, so you might google up a couple of those and see what the folks have to say.
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