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ITALY - 8 day organized tour with my 18 year old daughter

ITALY - 8 day organized tour with my 18 year old daughter

Old Mar 20th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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ITALY - 8 day organized tour with my 18 year old daughter

I would like to take my daughter to Rome, Venice and Florence in July. I would like her to have "lots of fun" which by her definition will not be visiting every museum. I am hoping some parents might have an idea what tour/tour company might be a good choice....and what some of your experiences have been. I want the trip to be memorable for both of us in a positive way. Thank you so much for any suggestions you might have!
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 07:06 PM
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IMO there is no tour company which would offer both the 'fun' non-museum-centric itinerary your daughter wants and also be appropriate for her mother.

There are tours geared to youthful partyers, and there are tours more geared to older, more sedate folks. Is there a specific reason you want a tour? Rome/Florence/Venice are very easy to do independently.
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 07:19 PM
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I'm sure you'll have a lot more fun if you pass on the tour and plan your own trip to Italy. Rome, Venice, and Florence are easy to see independently. Each city offers tours of individual sights and walking tours to get you started. You get to choose the sights you want to see and see then when you want. If you want to linger over a relaxing breakfast or stop in a cafe for a glass of wine or coffee or seek out a special gelateria you can do that if you're on your own; you won't have that leisure on a tour.

You don't need to rent a car as the trains will get you among these cities quickly and conveniently.

Most tours are geared for people much much older than an 18 year old so there's little chance your daughter will meet others her age unless you go on a tour specifically for the 18 to 35 year olds in which case you will feel like an outsider.

If you do choose a tour you won't have much choice since there will be few tours that visit Rome, Florence, and Venice for 8 days. Here are a few tour companies to look at. Before you book please read the fine print to see what is included, where the hotels are located (central or on the outskirts of the cities), how much time you will spend on the bus, complete itinerary, etc.

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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 07:31 PM
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I'm afraid you've come to a forum where the majority of people want to plan their trips independently, without taking a tour. Tours aren't necessarily bad for people who don't want to do any planning on their own, but the two replies above give good indications why they might not be right for you. As mentioned, often the hotels aren't near the center, near everything you'll want to see, and that will be especially important for such a short trip. You can find out everything you need to know to plan your own trip right here on Fodor's.

Do your eight days include travel time? How many nights do you actually have in Italy? While I can understand your wanting to visit all three cities, with such a short time, you would probably be better off selecting two.

Given your interest in other things besides art and museums, I would suggest Venice and Rome. Even with just those two, you will only scratch the surface.
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 07:47 PM
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I am willing to bet that your daughter wouldn't have "lots of fun" on a tour.

Staying in the center of cities is a lot more fun, as there are many more cafes and other lively spots in the evening.

If you decide to plan to go on your own, people here will glad to help.
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 09:15 PM
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you have 8 days, limit to two cities I think. Skip Venice in July - quelle horror! Others may disagree but I think it is hot and crowded. Rome and Florence, fly into one and out the other. You could skip one of the two major cities for a smaller town. You can do this on your own and work out an itinerary that you both will enjoy. Florence is museum heavy but also shopping heavy. Rome is history heavy in a way that it doesn't seam like you are constantly at a museum. That is just my feeling for whatever that is worth. Sound like a fun trip for you two whatever you choose!
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 09:25 PM
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I agree with SusanP. Florence is my favorite city in Italy, but I wouldn't include it in an 8-day itinerary for someone not very interested in museums. I'd just go to Venice and Rome and train between them. You can take an organized day tour (or two) in either/both cities focused on only those sights that really interest you and your daughter.
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Old Mar 20th, 2010, 09:26 PM
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It's going to be hot and crowded in all three cities.
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 10:30 AM
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I think you should talk more with your daughter about what she wants to do, and discuss how you envision handling the heat.

It is not hard to plan and book a very happy, very affordable mother-daughter one week vacation in Italy, either in the 3 cities you mention, or someplace that would include beach days or lakeside days, swimming pools or spas. If your 18-year-old daughter isn't thrilled by the chance to see the art treasures of the cities you mention, you should consider a different visit to Italy, one more focused on natural beauty, or shopping and pampering -- but it's almost impossible to get to a spa or a store in Rome without passing 4 churches with staggering art in them, or a 2 AD ruin, so you'll still be able to explore that too.

But talk it over with her. She might very much want to see Venice, Florence and Rome despite the heat, but just wants to set a time limit to museum going. Maybe she would like some pretty scenery for part of the trip. Or to skip Rome. Who knows?

Anyway, that's my advice. Have fun talking it over!
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 12:27 PM
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rickyloo, I also suggest you and daughter stop by your local book store and browse through some Italy tour guides. My personal favorites are the DK Eyewitness Travel guides. I think these will give you some better ideas about which two of these cities you'd really like to see.

My suggestion is 3 days Venice and the remainder in Rome.

And I agree, you can plan this trip yourselves. It will be fun! Half the excitement is the planning! Browse through trip reports and do searches on lodging, transporation.

Be prepared for crowds and heat. Make sure your hotels have a/c.

You will have a wonderful time!

Buon viaggio!
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 03:29 PM
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I recently spent 3 weeks in Italy with my two daughters (16 and 17 years), before my husband joined us for the rest of the holiday. I found the prospect of "doing it alone" (without hubby) a little daunting, given all that one reads about pickpockets etc. However, we did it alone and loved it, using normal common sense as one would do enywhere in the world. We were all involved in the planning .... but did not overplan. As it was not peak season, we found we could plan a day out depending on the weather, our moods etc. I would say choose 2 locations in Italy (fly or train between them - if flying, look at www.skyscanner.com for good fares), and have fun! It is a great was to travel!!
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 04:29 PM
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When I was 18, I wanted to join some of my friends on one of those tours. I think I would have died if I had to do that with my mom, and even then, my mom was young, vibrant, and everyone loved hanging with her.

Tours are different, I think, than independent touring with one's parents, which I definitely would have done in a split second. But being on a bus, if that's what the tour involves, for 8 days with one's parent might be a little stifling. As Adrienne pointed out, tours usually involve a certain age group, so one of you might feel uncomfortable.

Of course, the two of you might be completely different, best friends, and all that, but I know if I had suggested this to my son when he turned 18 (he's 20 now), I don't think he'd say "hot diggity dog, let's go!"

I would be curious, though, if there are any parents on Fodors who did this and what their experience was like, since I don't know of one single parent (and I know many) who has gone on a tour to Europe, just them and their kid. Maybe Japan or China? I do know many (like me) who have taken their 18 year old to various countries in Europe, and we're planning to do that again this summer, but it will include my son's friend. That way, they can go off on their own when they want to ditch us (or we want to ditch them) and we can meet up at various times and do things together.

Specific suggestions: you can visit all three in that period of time, although you'll be rushing around a lot. Because your plan is to go in July, sometimes going into a museum or church is a great way to cool off from the heat. Find public swimming places. For example, this link gives you some ideas for Rome:

Alternatively, you might think about, say, 4 days in Rome, and 4 days on the Amalfi coast.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:35 PM
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I've been in Italy with Select Italy and I have a wonderful time. What I liked a lot is how they customize your travel in base of your requests. It happened that after that experience I signed for their Newsletter and, incredibily, this month's topic is "Italy for kids".
I remember of a Twilight tour in Tuscany, a 3D Show in the Ancient Rome and a super cool tour books half treasure hunt, half city guide.
Here is the link to the Newsletter http://selectitaly.com/emails/2010_03_25_short.html
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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CSteff, I see you joined the Forum just for this rave--how thoughtful.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:47 PM
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There is a website "untours" that offers hotel transfers, 1/2 day city tours, and the rest you are on your own. This may be the best for both of you.

I never used them, have anybody on this forum?
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 04:36 PM
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In 2001 my 16 year old and I did an eight day (on the ground) trip to Rome and Florence. It was in July. We had trains and hotels arranged, in center of towns, and a half day private tour in Florence and full day in Rome. Very very hot, necessitating shortening full day of tour to half day so we could lie on our hotel twin beds semi-comatose even with a/c. DD was (and Is) a shopper -- I could wear the same pair of jeans from New Year's Eve through Christmas We did the shopping, and then the Vatican. We hunted for souveniers (nasty things, requiring dusting when you get them home) and then traipsed every inch of Pompeii. We shopped and then had chestnuts by the fountain at the foot of the Spanish steps. We shopped and then had lemoncella in Florence. We shopped and waiters ran down the street to tell her how beautiful she was and ask me for her hand in marriage. It was wonderful, just us, and a memory we both cherish. Your daughter will do plenty of things for decades with friends. Enjoy!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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Even if you don't book an organized tour, you should be able to set lodging and transportation plans well in advance and take city tours in each city. Your daughter, I believe, will be very grateful for a little freedom and time alone with you, rather than shuttling around on a bus full of tourists. Tours are often so regimented with quick stops at musuems/sights/etc that I imagine an 18-year-old would quickly go stir crazy.

Rather than the tour, you could enlist a travel agent to arrange hotels, transfers, and even tickets and tours in advance. Or, you could let all of us give you a hand and get the satisfaction of planning it together with your daughter.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 07:24 PM
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CSsteff: In case the editors don't nuke your screen name . . . Advertising is not allowed on Fodors, and especially not by fake 'satisfied customers'.
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