Family tours in Europe


Oct 8th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Family tours in Europe

A friend recommended a Globus Family tour to Italy, Switzerland,and France that they enjoyed with their grandaughter. It sounds interesting because there were other families with kids on the tour so their grandaughter(age 13) had some "friends" to pal around with.

We have traveled to Europe on our own for 12 years. We'd like to take our 13 yr. old grandaughter to Europe next year.

This tour is very expensive. We know we could go on our own for less but it does have some fun opportunities with the kids, sees more places, and all the planning is done for you. It's a faster itinerary than we would ever plan but maybe that's best to keep kids interested.

Do any of the Fodorites have any experience with family tours?
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Oct 8th, 2013, 08:55 AM
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I don't have any personal experience with family tours per se. But I have been on several Rick Steves' tours and I believe he offers certain itineraries in his tour "line-up" that are specifically tailored for families ( I believe the tour dates are genereally during the summer months due to school vacations). You may want to visit his website to see what's on offer. I do know he has his 2014 tours published now.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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What terrific grandparents you are! My first thought is that you never know if your granddaughter will find a new friend on the tour so I wouldn't choose that option unless you are happy with the plan of the tour.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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We had a family tour to France and to Disneyland and both us the grownups and kids were very satisfied.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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I have not been on any family-specific tours. However, I have been on many Rick Steves (regular) tours when my daughter was ages 12, 13, 14, and 16. We enjoyed them immensely. There also happened to be other teenagers on all four of those trips. At least at one time, Rick Steves offered family-type tours. My trips to France and Switzerland (different trips) were with Rick Steves tours. My trip to France with Rick Steves tours in 2007 was the best trip EVER!
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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I'd say do it yourself, and have your DGD enter into the planning. Let her plan parts of some days, for example.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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That's an interesting question, I hadn't heard of those. I have seen parents with teens on regular tours. And the faster itinerary is more convenient on a tour because you don't have to worry about all the logistics of transportation and bags.

I think it could be fun if a good itinerary and company, but the fact that it is "very" expensive would give me pause. I had no complaints about the couple of tours I took (not family ones), but I deliberately chose slower itineraries with quite a bit of free time in them. But the fact that they took care of the bags in-between every point, all the transportation, etc., actually did make it very easy. Mine were not super expensive tours, they, I actually probably didn't spend any more than if I had done it on my own and tours can aften get good deals on hotel rooms and other things. And I met a lot of people I enjoyed talking to, it was a fun group for the most part. There is the advantage in a group like that, that you can get some downtime as your granddaughter may go off with some other people to do something for a while.

I'd look into the Rick Steves tours suggested if teens are typically on them, to compare values. And then find out if your granddaughter has any specific preferences about this.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Thanks for all the "food for thought."

We do realize that there might not be same age kids on a tour but because it is promoted as a "family" tour and will be in June there is a good chance of other kids.

Christina----your comments are exactly why we thought about a tour.

We tend to travel very leisurely and we are afraid that we won't fill the time fast enough for a teen. In this day and age they are all so active and their days are filled to capacity. Sitting in a cafe with a glass of wine or a 2 hr. dinner just isn't going to cut it.

Also if the sites are already planned we will just go & do it. If left to our own it might not be as interesting.

The tour with Globus is 10 days-$3,500pp withoiut air. Doable but more expensive than we would like. It includes alot but you still have some meals and free time to add to the cost. We usually spend about $8,000 or a little more for the 2 of us for 2 weeks including everything.

I did look at Rick Steves and Disney and the prices are even higher.

We are really on the fence with this and definitely appreciate all comments.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 11:23 AM
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I tried looking at Globus tours, and if the tour you are considering is the 10-day family tour that does look very fast paced with only 2 nights max in some of the most incredible cities of the world. It seems like your granddaughter would be making friends with others on the long bus rides. (But maybe you are looking at another Globus tour?)

But I understand your predicament. Perhaps you could set up your own tour, choosing fewer cities, but signing up for tours in the cities that match your GD's interests? If she is into food, a food tour in Rome, for instance. I have seen posters on this board who have done fashion shows in Paris. Maybe a pizza or pasta making class in Italy.

There have been lots of questions about itineraries that would interest teens. I think checking those out, and working with your granddaughter, you could come up with a really nice "custom-made" tour for less.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 11:55 AM
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My first tour was with Globus and even though I had no comparison I was not thrilled with the tour. I've since taken other tours and now know that Globus is a low end tour, no matter what you're paying.

Tours are quite a bit more expensive than traveling on your own so you'll have to adjust your thinking about prices. I'm not a Rick Steves fan but even I would take one of his tours over another Globus tour. You might also look at Road Scholar family tours.

<< We tend to travel very leisurely and we are afraid that we won't fill the time fast enough for a teen. In this day and age they are all so active and their days are filled to capacity. Sitting in a cafe with a glass of wine or a 2 hr. dinner just isn't going to cut it. >>

If you don't think your granddaughter would want to sit in a cafe for 30 to 60 minutes, how will she feel about sitting on a bus for hours.

How will she feel about early starts?

The Globus tour is only 8 days in Europe (tours count arrival and departure days even though you're not doing any sightseeing).

I think if you structure something on your own you could get much more of a vacation for less money. In Paris you can book a day with one of the Paris Greeters and ask for someone with teens; they may or may not be able to accommodate your request

Another thought...your granddaughter could invite a friend along on the trip. If you make things more simple (1 or 2 locations) it would be manageable and more fun for everyone.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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That's the one my friend took her GD on and as I look at it again I also think it is rush,rush,rush.

early starts--no problem as we are all early risers.
long bus rides--I see your point, especially after a very
long plane ride.
Itinerary--we've been to evervy place on the list except
Venice. We thought it might just be a good
overview for her. We would add 2 more days
in Paris.

We originalyy planned to take her to just Paris. We've been there so many times and talk about it alot to her. When I asked what she wanted to do, she said "Shop!"----HELP!

For just us, we usually get out at 9am or so, tour until 5pm, return to the apartment, put on some music, read & have a glass of wine until 8pm when we go out for dinner. I'm having trouble getting my head around that 5 to 8pm period.

mama_mia----Pasta making class and fashion show--good ideas.
I definitely have to read more boards about
traveling with teens.

adrienne--thanks for the comment on Globus, very helpful in
our decision. I'll look into Paris Greeters.
I had thought about taking a friend but we really
wanted to do this trip to bond more with her.

So much to think about.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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When my niece was 14 I took her to Venice and Paris. She loved the shopping in Venice - buying trinkets from the street vendors. At that time things were affordable.

In Paris she most enjoyed the doll museum, fashion museum, the underground of the Louvre, the sewers, Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. She absolutely did not want to go into any churches. We took a couple of Paris Walks which were fun and after one of them treated the guide to a coffee and were able to chat with her for a bit to get the perspective of what it takes to be a guide in Paris. You might try the chocolate tour or the Montmartre tour. There were rides set up in the Tuilleries and she met another young girl and they did the water slide together several times. I was content to sit and chat with the other adults and put my feet up for a few minutes.

Even though kids today lead a fast-paced life, going to places like Venice and Paris will give them a lot of sensory experiences so you don't need to go at a very fast pace. All the new sounds and sights and smells will make up for not running around. And maybe kids just need to slow down a bit. You can teach her the joys of walking slowly and looking in all the shop windows and how much you can miss if you go too fast.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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Friends of ours took their grandkids on a Road Scholar tour tailored for grandparents and grandchildren both in Wurope and the USA. They said ithey were well done.
Tours were divided by childrens' ages.
We took ours to London and Paris one time, Italy another but it wasn't just one child, rather siblings so they could keep each other company.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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About the 5 to 8 pm hours: perfect time for internet and Skype. In fact, you can tell her that those hours are hers for e-time.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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What a great idea.

We are still all over the place with this but hope to get it done.
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