Europe for my parents?

Jun 6th, 2007, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
I'm sorry if someone's already mentioned this one, but what about Elderhostel? Don't be put off by the name - I don't think the tours are full of 80+ types in hostels. But they do aim to organise tours that emphasise learning and culture, if that's the sort of thing in which your parents would be interested.

Another possibility to consider, depending on how much time your parents have for this trip and whether or not they'd like to develop their independent traveller skills in Europe a little, would be to book two short tours in different places, with some time in between. For example, an 8-9 day tour focusing on one region (or country), followed by a 3-4 day break, and then another 8-9 day tour involving a different kind of experience in a different region. They can enjoy the challenge of getting themselves from one place to the other on their own, after they've got some miles under their belts - but with the prospect of some structure again in a different tour. That also diversifies the risk of a group tour, because they'll end up travelling with two different groups. And they'll get a break from being with a group all the time and have a chance to explore a city on their own.

If they're fit and like walking, they might also want to consider a tour with a company like Exodus or Sherpa that organises walking trips that mix walking days with city exploration days. You can find tours for various fitness and endurance levels. Something like this trip in Tuscany might suit:
Kate_W is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 135
I seem to be always posting messages recommending Overseas Adventure Travel (and I really don't work for them). We have traveled with many companies, but since we found OAT, we've stayed with them. For a couple who have never traveled abroad, they are a good choice. Small groups of no more than 16 give you a chance to really get to know your fellow travelers. The age range is usually from 40-something to mid 70's. We've found that people who travel with OAT are very active and even the older ones don't slow anyone else down. Their itineraries are very good, guides are wonderful and accommodations fine. We also like the in-depth experiences that they provide wherever you go. Besides all that, we've found that their prices can't be beat.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Jun 10th, 2007, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 270
I haven't seen any update on what you and your parents have decided, so I assume you are still open to suggestions. If they haven't already booked a tour, or departed, hold off going until the fall. The crowds in the summer can be crushing. All the sights will still be there when you arrive in the fall, but all those herds of tourists will be gone.

I also suggest you check out the advisory at the Rick Steve's site. They tell you upfront that their tours will be physically demanding, and list 5 examples of (possibly)difficult conditions. Many of these require a level of stamina which is fairly typical on most tours. The deal breaker for me would be the ability to carry luggage up 5 flights of stairs to your hotel room. No thanks.

As a solo traveler, I've done a Smithsonian tour in the U.S. and found the accomodations and guides to be excellent. At 50-something I was among the youngest in our group. Age didn't seem to matter, however. It was always the older travelers who wanted to go out after dinner and do more sightseeing, go for a drink, or to the theatre.
specs is offline  
Jun 10th, 2007, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 793
My husband is 60 and I'm a decade behind him. I don't think he'd like a tour.

Perhaps to ease the trip if you found them a trip to England, SCOTLAND, Ireland or Wales and then worked around the area. It is easier if you can read the signs.

It may help to have a driver pick them up from the airport.

It would be good to have a hotel that has good services.

Maybe suggest a couple walking or other guided tours.

But, at their age they don't need to be coddled, just aided.
Danna is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
My wife and I are the same age as your parents and do not consider ourselves OLD! We prefer to travel with a tour group because of the information the professional tour guides provide--history, culture and current events come alive when you travel with a good tour group. We have travel with some of the big groups like Globus, but prefer smaller group tours such as Overseas Adventure Travel. The smaller group size gives more one on one attention and smaller groups are able to experience the out of the way places a larger group is unable to get to. There are many great tour groups, check out, that's where I found our last tour with Overseas Adventure Travel--in the directory. Tours offer peace of mind, safty, and great local informaion.
Dudel is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,768
Gee. Jennifer posted this 6 months ago and never returned for further comment. Nor did she ever post again on Fodors. Wonder what she decided.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2
I don't know if you have already sent your parents to Europe or not, but my husband and I have just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe and wanted to share with you. We took the Switzerland at Leisure trip by Globus tours and found it to be wonderful! The age group was varied, from the 30's on up. Wonderful tours, great tour guide, good hotels, and saw alot of the beautiful country. It was our first trip to Europe as well. This tour only takes you to Switzerland, but well worth it.
donnakay is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 120

Try Cross Culture based in Amherst, MA. They have reasonable rates, small groups and literally immerse one into the culture of the country chosen. My husband was a surgeon and very sure that on my first trip to Salzburg, Austria at Christmas time that I would love such a tour. We took it for one week and then after Christmas took two more weeks and toured Germany on our own--he had been a Medical Officer in Germany and spoke fluent German It was GREAT and the people we met were interesting and of mixed ages from 30-65, no older. During the tour, we got to see some great concerts, have some great dinners and made nice friends. We did not use another tour company again, but it got me started and I have never forgotten the experience. If I wanted a tour again I would indeed use Cross Culture. I do not like impersonal tours where you are tightly bound in a too full schedule with little or no time to explore on your own...and I hate large tour groups and crowds as well.

also Jennifer
EuroJen is offline  
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