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HELP. Traveling to Italy with grandparents

HELP. Traveling to Italy with grandparents

Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:09 AM
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The OP said he/she loved his grandparents, wanted to spend time with them, and valued this trip because it was important to his grandparents. Now this person is trying to find ways to make this trip a success. Far from being whiny, the OP sounds to me like a pretty nice kid who may have had some bad experiences in previous family travel. To the OP: you've gotten some great ideas to pursue from the above posters. Even if your grandparents are uncomfortable with you and your cousins going out on your own, hopefully they would be okay with you being part of something organized, such as a bike tour, even if they didn't want to participate. Talk to them about the things you've discovered. They may be more receptive to things than you think. After all, they love you and your cousins and want you all to have a great time. And try to plan and travel with the idea you are going to have fun. I understand you are not going to be rude and mopey on the trip, but I think you can go beyond that and have a great time with planning, communication, and a little tolerance. Good luck!
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:32 AM
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I was in Tuscany last year with four teenagers and they all had a great time and refer to it often. They have very different interests too. They liked walking into the village, visiting little trattorias and enotecas, local shops.Florence was a huge hit, especially seeing David, shopping there too. They loved just being in Italy, absorbing it all, talking to locals, shopping, no specific tours or anything. Enjoyed climbing the tower in Sam Gimignano, exploring Volterra(Twilight fans especially) and Siena. Loved the Palio and it's festive air in Siena. Rode bikes on the city walls of Lucca. Immerse yourself in wherever you travel.
And leave your cell phone at home.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 12:10 PM
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The OP says he has already been 'drugged' around on other trips. If you are in your late teens, and are so bored that you can't stand the idea of touring with the grandparents for a few weeks, then there is something else at play. And with your similarly aged cousins along as well. I actually feel sorry for the grandparents, who are spending a lot of money here. My kids would have been packed in a NY minute for a trip opportunity like this. As would I. Good luck OP, hope you enjoy some of this priveleged opportunity.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:01 PM
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I am an international flight attendant with a major US airline and am currently on a Rome layover and find your thread somewhat disturbing. Do you know how many people of ALL ages would kill for a freebie trip to Italy? My airline flights to Rome are usually full both ways throughout the year as there are so many fabulous things to do,see and eat here. Keep your mind and spirit open for new adventures over here and you will be pleasantly surprised how much you will love this vacation.
My adult kids in their twenties have been vacationing with me for many years over here and Italy is their favorite country-both chose to study in Italy and Sicily for their study abroad in college.
Be grateful that you have grandparents who want to spend the time and money to take you here-you will be happy years from now that you shared these memories!
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:47 PM
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I don't know if a troll or not, but this kid's sentiments are not that strange. Not every teenager wants to leave his/her friends or video games. And traveling with parents, much less grandparents, sounds (even now) a bit challenging.

And teenagers are often "bored" until they realize they aren't. (sometimes fun actually sneaks up on them!).

As a teen, I wanted to travel abroad ... with my friends. NOT my parents (much less grandparents). Big difference.

I don't think preaching at the OP, telling him or her that this will be the greatest thing ever or that they should be grateful really helps. Indeed, that is the kind of thing parents say and rubs teenagers the wrong way.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 02:32 PM
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JDiff- I really hope you post how the trip went afterwards! It may help another teen (or parent/grandparent) plan!
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 02:45 PM
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JDiff, have you seen Italian teenage girls? In the summer when it is hot? Your neck muscles will get lots of exercise as you snap your head around to gape, and your cousins will be able to knock your eyeballs off with a stick! That alone would have made the trip to Italy worthwhile for me when I was your age.

If I were you I might consider using my camera to do a collection of statuesque Italian young lovelies, as well as Italian statuary.

Better start practicing some basic Italian phrases and your smile, so you can take your snaps without offense. Many young Italians have a better grasp of basic English than you have of Italian and like to practice.

Might make the trip a lot more interesting, IMO.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 04:20 PM
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JDiff- In case nukesafe is making a non-intentional sexist mistake... the Italian guys are pretty hot, too. I have spent a bit of time talking to local teens when I visit Italy and they are remarkably like US teens. You will find hoardes of them hanging out in Florence in front of the Duomo. Start up a conversation. You'll have a blast!

I have one other suggestion (and maybe the other posters here can make recommendations). I find that reading books with stories that take place in the places I'm going to (no matter what century the action happens) really gets me excited about being in those places. For instance, I read both "Galileo's Daughter" and "The Birth of Venus" before going to Florence. Both stories unfold in Florence. One is based on letters between father and daughter, the other is a fictional story about a young woman coming of age during the birth of the Renaissance.

Now, I'm not saying you would find either of them great reading, but I guarantee there are books out there that will get you excited about seeing the places in the stories/book. Especially if, like you say, you want to see Ostia Antica and the Colosseum.

Fodorites... can you recommend young adult reading suggestions for getting JDiff more excited about places he'll see?
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 04:24 PM
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PS If you ARE a female, I take part of that back.. you might enjoy "The Birth of Venus" (Sarah Dunant)
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 04:28 PM
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Oh, yes, and this one (if you are going to Florence): http://www.amazon.com/Brunelleschis-...ref=pd_sim_b_3
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:28 PM
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It the OP and the cousins really are 17 to 19 I can;t believe they didn;t look at any of the student guides to find out what people their age do in Italy - including the cafes and bars where they hang out.

I would vote for staying in a larger town so you and cousins can go out in the evenings after dinner with your grandparents. And assuming you manage to identify the right places, local students should be able to give you ideas of some activities you all will enjoy.

Frankly, this is really astonishing to me. Why sit home when you can be seeing a whole new part of the world - where people your age are considered adults - and treated as such.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:36 PM
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If the OP and his cousins are in late teens, they do not need young adult reading suggestions, but a few student guides would be a smart idea. For their sake, and the generous grandparents, hoping for a good outcome for all. Enjoying yourself in Bella Italia should not be this difficult.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:46 PM
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Yep, I did make a perhaps unwarranted assumption about the OPs gender. In reading his/her earlier posts with the emphasis on athletics activities and sports, I jumped to conclusions.

Along the lines you brought up, nytraveler, the alternative for our guy/gal to being bored with his Grandparents, would be to stay home. What would he/she be doing there? Playing video games, watching tv, skateboarding? Talk about boring!
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:53 PM
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I think the kid is just a real,normal kid - and we've probably tossed him away, now,sadly. Yes, it's disturbing that he can't seem to get excited about visiting Italy (in fact that's really, really weird), but he seems to have some aversion to traveling. I think he'll be just fine once he lands and realizes there is a whole huge world out there. And if he can learn some Italian,he can be his grandparents' entrée to Italy and be a star! Plus hang out with some Italian teenagers - what could be more fun? If he manages to be the "translator" for the group, he'll be the top dog. It's not that hard - Italian is an easy langugae.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 07:14 PM
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JDiff, seems to me you are really trying, and it will end up being more fun than you might now think. It is too bad the GPs can't' take two or three days and go south for Pompeii, but you can look forward to doing it on your own some day.

Cinque Terre was already suggested. That is a great idea. Your GPs can relax in one of the towns while you and cousins hike or take a boat around.

Do you like to dance? It has been a few years, so don't know the current situation, but there used to be quite a few clubs for teens and young adults: on the Lido in Venice, Florence & other places in Tuscany. I took my students. They had a great time and met other young people. You might check that out.

In Florence, you might enjoy climbing up into the inside of the Duomo and seeing how it is built.

If you can swing for the cost, you might do a hot air balloon ride over Tuscany.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 11:43 PM
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Wow. I could not sleep, so I got on here to see if anyone else had some ideas for me to research. (Some of the ideas I saw earlier were really good ones.) I almost did not say anything about some of what I saw when I got on here, but I would like to say that I came here for help, and some people gave me a lot of really good suggestions, but other people just seem to want to fuss at me for being honest and trying to find a way to make this trip fun for everyone. Does everyone like steak? I do, but my girlfriend hates any kind of red meat. Everyone is different and likes (or dislikes) different things, and there is nothing wrong with that. In answer to the person who wanted to know what I would have been doing if I stayed home: I was planning on getting a job so that I could save to buy myself a car, but none of the places with openings want to hire someone who will be gone for half of June. So, I am trading off working to save for a car for having motion sickness and migraine headaches, and riding through the countryside looking at scenery. I already told you that I am going BECAUSE I love my grandparents and WANT to spend time with them. In answer to the people with suggestions: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!! You guys are amazing. You used your knowledge about the area where we will be traveling to HELP me, which is what I had requested. I have been reading the information each person suggested, and I will be giving suggestions to my grandparents based on your suggestions. AND I will be glad to let everyone know how our trip went when I return. The idea about using the motion sickness pills at night while I sleep is fantastic, and I really am going to try it. Usually, I have to decide if I want to stop being nauseous or if I want to stay awake. I think I am going to try it before the trip by having a friend drive me to a nearby city on a weekend while I sit in the backseat (the worst place to be for motion sickness) in the morning after taking a motion sickness pill the night before. I promise to let you know how that experiment goes. Once again, I am really grateful for the people who were nice enough to give me suggestions.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 12:10 AM
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Oh, and one more thing: if you guys had severe migraine headaches and motion sickness that seems to be a trigger for the headaches, you would not even need to ask me why I have an aversion to traveling. It is like having someone behind your eye trying to push your eyeball out and someone else with a device that pushes against the inside of your skull trying to burst it open from the inside while you hold a bucket or plastic bag and vomit into it. You see spots and bright lights, your vision disappears on one side, and every sound feels like it will be the thing that makes your head explode, and you would do anything to make it stop, but the vehicle keeps on moving, so the pain and nausea do not stop. Time does not make it stop. Only getting out of the moving vehicle, lying down in the dark, taking my medicine, and waiting makes it stop. I don't know if you can imagine what it is like to feel like that while people are saying, "Look at that pretty ___ (fill in the blank)", but it is awful. I have prescription medicine for the headaches, but once the motion sickness kicks in, the medicine does not help. PLEASE don't think I am talking to all of you when I say this because many, many of you have been very nice and very helpful, but this is to those of you who only seem to want to judge me and fuss at me: I did not ask for your judgement or your opinion on what I am supposed to think or feel. I asked for your help in making this trip a good one for everyone going because I really want this to be an experience that we can all remember forever. I will probably not ever get another chance to spend 2 weeks with my grandparents because they are not young, one of them is in very bad health, and they live far away from me, and this is what they want to do with the time we are going to spend together. As a matter of fact, they live far enough away from me that after riding along for the trip to go see them, I have to spend the first day at their house in bed with an ice pack due to a migraine caused by motion sickness, even if I take a motion sickness pill and sleep the whole way to their house. I also spend the first day back home in that same condition. This trip is for them, and I am going because I love them. Please, if you don't have anything helpful (and nice) to say, don't say anything at all.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 12:51 AM
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JDiff, it is really pleasing to come across such a polite young man on here, and your courtesy and thanks are much appreciated.

I do hope that your trip works out well for you and your cousins.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 12:53 AM
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I am another one who can't imagine not wanting to travel, but your medical situation sounds pretty serious. How much have you pursued solutions with a doctor on this? I think I'd get that taken care of first! There must be some solutions available to what you're experiencing.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 12:56 AM
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I barely know my cousins because they all live far away from me (in different directions), so I cannot tell you what their attitudes are. I have only spoken to them a little bit about the trip, and it may be that they are too busy to spend time looking up things, or it may be that they have activities going on that the trip will take them away from. I don't know them well enough to ask and expect an honest answer. I see them once a year for a day or two, if that much, so I have no idea what their thoughts are other than exactly what I told you. My grandparents called and told me that none of them (my cousins) had found anything they wanted to do, and I called and asked each of them. They all told me what I posted earlier: they had not found anything to do that looked like fun. I don't even know what they think is fun. I only know what I think is fun and what my grandparents physical limitations are and that I don't like spending time in any kind of moving vehicle for longer than an hour (for obvious reasons). I know that each of my cousins is very different from the others and from me. One is an athlete, one is an artist, one wants to be a sports announcer, and I want to be a doctor. As far as I know, the only thing we have in common is that all of us play musical instruments. I have to assume that since none of them have given my grandparents a single suggestion, they will go along with whatever my grandparents decide. It's not like "us kids" are going to have fun going off and spending time together, because we are all so different and have not bothered to get to know one another up to this point, so I doubt we will want to get to know each other after we arrive in a foreign country. I can only speak for myself, but I want to spend as much of the time as possible doing things with my grandparents that both the two of them and I will enjoy because I am going so that I can spend time with them. I don't know about my cousins, but as for me, I agreed to go for no other reasons than I really do want to spend time with them (my grandparents) and I know they think this is a fantastic gift, so I don't want to hurt their feelings by rejecting the gift. (It is meant to be a graduation present for each of us: for some it is right on time, for some it is an early present, for others it is a late present, but that is what it is intended to be.) Everyone else in my graduating class is going on a class trip to an island as a group at the same time as the trip I will be going on with my grandparents and cousins. (Well, a few of them will not be going due to the expense.) (I wasn't going to go on the class trip anyway because it was too expensive and I needed to get a job to save for a down payment on a car to take to college (I am going on full academic scholarship. I am NOT a spoiled brat.), so it's not like I am moping because I am giving up one trip for another one. I am not telling you all of this information in order to be antagonistic, but it's just that I want you to try to see the situation from MY perspective instead of judging me for having the feelings that I have.)
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