Senior Travel to Italy

Dec 19th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 444
Dh and I wll be taking our 4th Globus tour next May to Italy.We will have 5 days in Rome,3 days in Florence and 3 days in Venice.I learned from my first tour to only take tours that have at least 2 days in each place. The 2 extra days in Rome are on our own and we have also traveled to London on our own. Last summer we took an Avalon(Globus) river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.The River Cruise was absolutely the most relaxing trip we ever had however you cannot take river cruises everywhere. If you could,I would.
Globus is an excellent company but I strongly suggest if you take that route that it be a tour that has a minimum of 2 days in each location.
letsgo39 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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I don't know if this poster is still looking for info - I don't think she ever posted again on this thread, but for what it is worth:

'Tauck tours are a bit more pricey'

First of all, I would like to comment that this is the understatement of the year. Tauck tours are EXPENSIVE. That said, however, they may provide a level of luxury and attention to detail that other tour companies don't come near. My sister in law and brother in law, and also my mom and her partner have each taken several, and found them great. But they don't strike me as being for the middle class (sorry if that isn't pc). My mom commented that when on a Tauck tour, she was meeting primarily travelers from very upscale communities, while on her tours with other companies she was meeting a more diverse group of people.

Secondly, this is not really the right place for advice re taking a tour. Many, if not most of the posters here are die hard do it yourselfers, and I think they would recommend independent travel for anyone breathing, appropriate or not. Sometimes, they are right - I let myself be steered into an independent Italy experience for this April - I'll be posting on my return whether this was a good choice. But I don't agree that a 60 year old traveling alone, with some sort of disability, should be doing a trip by herself unless she has always traveled that way. Why not look into trips from companies that offer 'leisurely' tours that spend 3 nights in most or all of their destinations. There are a number of them. The one that interested me the most was Insight's Easy Pace Italy, which spends 3 nights in 4 places. I didn't take it because they were still using their less than great hotels for the dates I wanted - but now they have improved their hotels (and upped the price). My strong recommendation is that you make sure that the hotels being used by the tour company are centrally located, so that your mom can get out and view stuff when she is not traveling with her tour group.

Or - another option to consider is sending your mom on a Mediterranean cruise. You can choose one that departs from &/or ends in an Italian port, and then your mom can spend several days on her own in that city if she wants. On the cruise ship, she only has to unpack once, she will meet lots of people in the dining rooms, and she can choose day trips sponsored by the ship or independently. She won't see anything in depth (except on her pre or post cruise stay), but she might not care. Not everyone wants to visit every ruin, church and museum. If they did, there wouldn't be so many cruise ships out there.
butnotrmpt is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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A tour is a great way to see Italy and she will meet some great people. We have taken two of Perillo's extended tours and both were well worth the money. I don't believe you can go wrong with either Perillo or Trauck tours, but Perillo I believe while just as good, is a "little" less expensive.
Whichever way she sees Italy, may she have a great time and give thanks for someone who cares.
LBev769375 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 03:09 AM
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There are four factors that control the quality of a tour:

1. amount of ground covered ("if it's Tuesday, this must be Ravenna")
2. Whether everyone can keep up
3. quality of hotel and meals
4. air travel arrangements: friends recently had a great tour of Sicily but had to be ready to go to the airport at 4 AM to make their connection
5. quality of tour conductor

You can assess the first two before you book the tour; unfortunately you don't find out the flight schedule until after you have booked, and you don't meet the tour conductor and other people until you get there.

We have taken two tours with Odysseys Unlimited. Both had a good pace, better hotels than I would have booked on my own, and one had a terrific tour conductor. Local guides were uniformly excellent, but the second tour conductor was awful, and the travel arrangements home were horrible both times. So never again unless we book the ground portion only. Both tours had people who had ignored the physical requirements in the brochure (ability to walk on cobblestones, climb hills,etc). They were nice people but constantly felt bad for holding everyone else up, though most of us really didn't mind.
Ackislander is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 05:20 AM
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re the title of this thread "senior travel to Italy":
I am so confused when anyone uses the term "Senior" to describe a 60 year old person. I just turned 60 during a trip to Italy and was accompanied by my mother, who is 87 years old. I've met people in their 50's who seem more creaky and old that either of us does!

She not only kept up our pace, but set the pace in many cases. Perhaps it was because she was not treated or percieved as helpless.

I planned the trip, and tried to find places to stay that didn't require too many steep steps. I also included a train trip (she wanted one) but rented a car for most of the time.

She often refused help with her bags, but it was always offered. I took steps to make sure we traveled very light, and did lots of research about exactly where we could have access to bathroom facilities. I made alot of effort beforehand to make things look as seamless as possible. I kept major sites to a minimum and chose just 1 or 2 in each place. Then I let it go and we just enjoyed ourselves. During the trip, she gave me what has to be the best compliment I've ever received from her: During a long relaxing lunch in Pienza one afternoon, she leaned over and said "You know, dear, I'm so happy I could just die right now!" We had a good laugh then.

I don't think a tour could provide such a customized experience, but then I've never done a tour. I have seen some elderhostel tours that looked interesting though.

I think that if an older person has a tangible physical ailment or limitation which requires special conditions, they are much better off traveling with a friend or relative, not "sent" on a tour.
Dec 21st, 2007, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,129
I second Virgi's suggestion that the OP accompany the mother to Rome and Florence.

My mom has trouble walking due to an extensive injury, and did fine in both cities, especially Florence, as it's a smaller city and has many places to sit. Of course, my friends and I were with her, and my friends were often more tired than my mom who wanted to keep walking to see everything she could.

Anyway, you've been given a lot of good advice. Good luck on your decision.
mcnyc is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 07:31 AM
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I have to admit after I read the contents of your post I was a bit taken aback. With the title, I truly thought you would be talking about a couple of decrepit 85 year olds who would be taking a trip.
julies is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 07:49 AM
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hey julies,
I am (a bit joking) a bit taken aback by the phrase "decrepit 85 year-olds" (read my post). My mom would give you a piece of her mind, which is sharp as a tack!
Dec 21st, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Why would something think the use of the word "senior" would refer to decrepit 85 year olds? And why is it okay to do that. People in the US really like the word senior and seem to start using it for special fares and events after age 55 or so. A lot of people are in denial about age and try to pretend 70 is middle-age. That is the real problem, that people have such a bias against age that they have to say how terrible it is to be called a senior when they are only 60 or 70 or that being a senior means you are "decrepit". You'll get old, too, someday you know and it's people who attach negative biases to simple words who create a lot of the problems. Senior itself is a real euphemism just being people thing being call "old" or older or whatever is a nightmare too terrible to contemplate. Actually, it is good to have a word that conveniently refers to a broad age group. I know they use the word senior in France, also, on railpasses and it doesn't only refer to "decrepit" 85 year olds.
Christina is online now  
Dec 21st, 2007, 12:19 PM
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You and I are peers. I purposely used the term "decrepit" to describe a certain type of person. Obviously, your mom doesn't fit that category. And, "no" I hadn't read all the replies, just the initial one, and that is what prompted my comment.
julies is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 10:25 PM
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Still, you wouldn't say, for example a "decrepit 25 year old".
Dec 21st, 2007, 10:48 PM
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I think age bias is usually assigned by other people (often younger people), rather than by those of 50 and above. And it's not just in the U.S. There are cultures that treat older people with respect, but many Western cultures are somewhat lacking in this regard.
Sometimes it is subtle, other times it is more overt, but it's always undeniably there.
In the U.S., 60 is still too young to be officially eligible for "Senior Citizen" status- those benefits start at age 65.
Dec 22nd, 2007, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
I agree with the Untours nomination.
You would have an apartment for two weeks and tour at your own pace where you want to go.

We used them for Switzerland this year and are staying in an Untours apartment in Leiden in 2008. We however are a bit senior to your mother.
ronkala is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 06:33 PM
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<<the Elderhostel mentioned above does great tours. But they are not for the infirm. They are for healthy/active seniors who are up to a fair amount of physical activity.>.

But is she infirm? Or is it a slight limp because of a bad knee or arthritis? The severity of the limp is a more important factor than being 60, which is when a lot of people retire and begin to travel.

The last Elderhostel tour (Italy) that I took one person walked with a cane and one used a walker.

Elderhostel offers a wide variety of tours and ranks the activity level from one to five, so you can judge where you would fit. The focus is on education with several lectures by experts in whatever theme -- music, art, food & wine, etc. Most use one or two hotels as a base so there is not a lot of packing and moving.

Keep in mind the minimum age for Elderhostel is 55 so there are many participants well over 60 and not in top condition. The very fit would lean toward the four and five category tours that focus on hiking or bicycling, but there are many tours offered for less active participants.

The best source of information is the web site:

Luisah is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 10:12 PM
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Geez-56 years old and still flying international as a flight attendant!You have put me in my place.......
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 02:40 PM
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I have some friends who are seniors and took the Perillo tour a few years ago. Other that the flight over they said it was the best trip they ever took. If they didn't feel like going one day they would just hang around their hotel and visit-they had a ball-Chris
BeniciaChris is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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I have been getting the Elderhostel catalogue for my husband the past year. Personally,for someone on a fixed income they are awfully expensive.
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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<<Personally,for someone on a fixed income they [Elderhostel]are awfully expensive.>>

I agree, EH tours are not cheap. I get the catalogues too and have noticed the price increase. I took two EH tours, one to France, and one to Italy and the one to France was wonderful and reasonable in 2004 but the price has increased considerably.

Some loyal EH travelers will argue that everything is included but I really prefer "optionals." Almost everyone on both tours skipped one or two days and either rested or did something else.

The advantage of EH for someone like the OP's mother is selecting a tour that fits her fitness level and having the company of people in her age group.
Luisah is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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I agree with Lusiah about the Elderhostel tours. I looked carefully at one in Sicily, but was put off both by the lack of free time, and by the fact that ALL dinners were in the hotel restaurants, as well as several of the lunches. Not only would I want to explore the local restaurants, I was worried the meals might be buffets, which I hate. Instead I signed up for a Rick Steves' tour, which will get me around the main tourist sites with a guide, includes just half the dinners and has plenty of free time. I will then spend another couple of weeks on the island on my own.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 27th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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I am 54. I don't think I will ever see myself as a 'senior.' I feel 23 and a hot babe. Of course I have really good genes and take really good care of myself. The gym every night, size 4 jeans, trendy. This is not your grandmother's 54 year old body. No I can't fight gravity forever, but I never lost that sense of wonder and magic. I would not look kindly on anyone deciding for me what my trip should look like. Encourage her to do the research and make up her own mind. People can grow, stretch their comfort zones and learn independence at any age.
Vicky is online now  

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