HELP MOM! 17 year-old son to Paris,

Dec 17th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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HELP MOM! 17 year-old son to Paris,

I'm frantic trying to find a way (tour groups, tour guide, hotels, etc.) to send my 17 year-old son to Paris for the first time (only a week) as a graduation present-Problems are popping up with finding a tour group(mostly as a "safe" way to travel) that will show him around Paris-as most will not accept him under the age of 18! I just want to be sure he can find his way around-not getting lost, in a bad area, pickpocketed, etc....(A momma's fears)....and find him safe hotel room, etc..etc...AND arrange it so that he can STILL fully experience all the fun/excitement of being independant in a foreign city!!!! Does anyone know of any other people (or Tour guides) that can guide him around Paris for the first few days, until he can find his hotel, food places, and "stuff"? PLEEEAAASSSE???!!!
julielancaster is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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I'll be more than happy to take on this assignment! Not only do I know Paris inside and out, I have personal recent experience with 17-year-olds. For all expenses and a modest fee, I will happily relieve you of this burden!
StCirq is online now  
Dec 17th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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Julie, I took my 17-year-old son to Paris (and elsewhere) this summer as a graduation gift (and also because he did so well in French). We stayed in the same hotels, but otherwise I allowed him almost total freedom the rest of the time. Would you be willing or able to do this?
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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I sympathise you. My own 18 year old - first year old student going to London in a week - ON HIS OWN!

Anyway, back to your question. You can book him on Contiki,
Or Trafalgar tours have also tours for young people.
So he will be in group and will make friends.
Otw if he will go with friends, just book air, hotel, you do not even need a railpass to Paris, and they will go.

There are tour guides available, but I think private tour will be expensive. sophia
emtravel is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Try lonelyplanet thorntree bulletin board. Contiki is quite popular with students that age, but is VERY PARTY oriented.
pilgrim is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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Not sure how much your son has travelled - but my son backpacked Spain for three weeks when he was 17. He'll do Europe alone this year (he's 18) for the summer. There is really nothing they can get into there that they can not here (and I sleep so much better when I know he isn't driving a car somewhere!).
julie_Colorado is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions, but unfortunatly I cannot travel with him (I have to work to PAY for it all!), nor can I offer to pay for the generous person who offered to go with him-all expense paid-LOL!, and HAVE spoke with Contiki and a few other student tour groups-all say he must be 18, or travel WITH an 18-year-old! I am still trying to contact hostels in Paris that MAY allow a 17 far no luck! I can barely pay for him to go alone (as I estimate costs to be-hotel price estimates, food, etc.) and am TRYING to not have to cancel the whole thing!! I'm so frustrated, I start crying!!!!
julielancaster is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 02:31 PM
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Its time for me to go home now-If anyone has any more suggestions... please leave them up over the weekend, and I'll see them on Monday (see what I have to do for work??!) And for Julie_Colorado, where did your 17 year-old stay???? We don't have relatives/friends in Paris, and my son is NOT well-traveled (UN-traveled, is more like it!!!) Any help to keep this promise to him...He's on his 4th year french (and he REALLY disliked his teacher last year) JUST to go on this trip!!! ANY help-especially for a place to stay! Thanx-I'll be back on Monday. JULIE.
julielancaster is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Julie, when I had a similar problem, I took my son to the French part of Canada instead, is this an optin for you?
FainaAgain is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 04:16 PM
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Does he have a friend or someone who could travel with him? I'd also be a bit nervous about sending a 17 year old to Europe for the first time alone, but maybe not with a friend (or even aquaintance - not necessarily a close firend). I do think it's much safer when there are two of them. I've traveled solo, and in fact so has my daughter, but she is now 20 and had been to Europe with me several times. For the first time, and at only 17 I probably wouldn't be comfortable with it.

If you can't find a tour, and you can find some other kid to go with him, then planning it should be very easy. There are plenty of fairly inexpensive hotels in Paris, eating can be done quite cheaply. There are tons of threads here on those subjects. And if you can't find old posts which answer your questions just ask specific questions and we'll help you. Paris is very easy to do as an independent traveler, I'd just be worried about the 17 and never traveled before part.
isabel is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Question? In that a 17 year old is under age does he need a notorized statement from both parents that he has permission to travel to Europe. Something you might want to ask your airlines. Just a thought.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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When is his 18th birthday? Why not wait and send him then, as a combination graduation/birthday present? Lots fewer problems, gives you more time to save and plan, etc. Plus, typically right after graduation will put you into high season...almost any other time of year will not only be a bit less expensive, but Paris will be less crowded.

In addition, have you looked at GoToday? They have air/hotel/transfer deals...downside is single supplements are high (as with most packagers) as are add-ons if you aren't near a major airport.

Hope you work it out, and congratulations for being such a giving and caring Mom.
Robdaddy is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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If he isn't well travelled, going alone really isn't an option I'd feel comfortable with. Also, if I had to fly to get him it wouldn't be a hardship - something you should consider. My 17 year old had been to Europe 10 or so times with our family before doing it alone. He stayed in 2 star hotels and paid cash, travelled by train (typically, he planned his next move a day or two in advance and called ahead - I honestly don't know how he got the hotel names), and he stayed within about a 4 hour train ride radius of Barcelona (the start/stop point). British Airways had no trouble letting him fly alone.
julie_Colorado is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 05:59 PM
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I agree with isabel's take on this and also Robdaddy's comments. Sending someone under 18 with nobody along at all just doesn't sound like a great idea and -- depending greatly on the personality of the traveler -- being alone could diminish the experience, too.
Flyboy is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 06:23 PM
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... geared for 13-18 year olds
gemelli is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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Hi julie,
I hope I can help a little with relieving the stress..
First of all, the age is going to be a problem. He is a bit too young to be completely on his own in Europe..BUT,
there are Teen Tours..just for that purpose.
I used to live in NYC and friends of ours in NY & NJ, would send their kids on Teen Tours every summer.
It is safe, the details are taken care of, the kids are safe but free to see the world..
When he graduates from college, then you can send him off on his own.
But beware, we did that and our son travels all the time now and lives far be warned
Hope this helps~
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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<<and am TRYING to not have to cancel the whole thing!! I'm so frustrated, I start crying!!!!>>

Julie: You are starting to be hysterical about something that you apparently only started to think about recently and that is something that normally involves a few months of planning.
Sending a 17-year-old to a foreign country is something not to be taken lightly. It involves a few months of planning and plenty of input on the part of the 17-year-old. It seems you haven't done any of this, and neither has he.
I would suggest you postpone the trip until you and your son have had time to do some basic research into what will be involved.
Obviously if you just put your son on a plane to Paris you will be a wreck, and he won't have a clue what is happening.
You've waited too long to plan this. Put it off for another time when you both know what you're doing.
You're "frantic" because you started WAY too late to plan this. My daughter graduates in May, too, and we began plans for her after-graduation summer last February. You can't possibly plan an independent trip for your son to Paris at this stage - I mean, don't you, like me, have about a thousand other graduation things to deal with right now, rings...invitations...notices....SAT aid forms.....all the college stuff? My daughter's into college early acceptance, and we're STILL overwhelmed with the forms and various requirements!
You're trying to plan a semi-solo trip for your son to Paris at the same time as all the college stuff? I don't think this is intelligent. Especially since you don't seem to know much about Paris yourself.
Give yourself and your son a break and send him to Yosemite or someplace else this summer and save Paris until you have the time and energy - both of you - to commit to planning it wisely. A graduation trip to Paris sounds really nice and fancy, but it won't be if neither of you has done a whit of planning in advance or knows what you're doing.

StCirq is online now  
Dec 17th, 2004, 09:05 PM
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StCirq, I'm sorry but I disagree that it is too late for Julie to plan a nice trip for her son. I think it is a lovely idea and that she should be encouraged (not discouraged) in her attempt to provide her son a wonderful gift. Obviously, she is working hard to provide this for him and I only hope he realizes what a great mom he has.

Julie, I wish I had more suggestions for you. I have heard there are groups that take high school students to Europe. Hopefully someone on this board can help you with more info. Good luck!
KathrynT is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 10:02 PM
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I disagree that it's too late also. If he's going to go anywhere, Paris is about as easy a place as any. If you'll let him drive 200 miles away, for example, Paris is not any more difficult or dangerous than that.

Nonetheless, presumably he'll be 18 by next Christmas? If so, you can send him then, because he'll have a break from college. And airfare will be cheaper too if you get the right dates.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 18th, 2004, 12:34 AM
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On another thread, someone mentioned that this program worked for her 15-year-old daughter to study French in Paris. I don't know anything about it otherwise.

Julie, what sort of budget are you able to work with? Can your son contribute to that budget? That would help with suggestions.
WillTravel is offline  

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