Swiss Trip Planning 101

Old May 9th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Swiss Trip Planning 101

I am trying to pull together a surprise trip for my parents to visit Switzerland in August. They are not too active seniors and I would really like to get some type of semi-guided tour trip with a good balance of free time and lodging at a less of a hotel and more of a innish type dwelling. I have no idea where to start researching and would greatly appreciate your help. While I do not mind doing some researching, etc., I do not want to plan every single detail of the trip. Hence, a semi-inclusive/tour would be ideal with other seniors. Who are some reputable tour operators that may offer pre-packaged trips? Also, I am thinking Geneva, is this the most scenic? My father wants to see the Swiss Alps. Thanks so much... please let me know how you experts do this.
mijols3 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Geneva is a pretty city, expensive as all getout, but pretty.

You are not up close and personal with the high alps there.

An innish? Try Zinal and the Hotel le Trift. It quite innish. In the mountains if that is what you mean. And small. And very Swiss. And full of resident dogs, unless the old black one that I fell in love with has gone on to the highest Alp.

If you want real scenery go to Zermatt or Wengen or Mürren.

the latter two are places where you can sit and stare. And they are free of gasoline powered vehicles.

Tell me, how does a hotel differ from an inn, and vice versa?

There are mountain hotels, but they require a long walk, sometimes uphill.

You make your parents sound like they are decripit old folks who cannot make up their own minds and can hardly move.

I am 72 and if my son planned such a trip without my input, I would beat him over the head. I know better what I want than he does.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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I have no idea if this will be helpful, but I keep seeing this website in my travel magazines.
suze is online now  
Old May 9th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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Good for you, Bob! 72 is nothing these days. My mom is 73 and has greater stamina for yardwork than I do.

This 16-day Rick Steves tour is by bus and covers southern Germany, the Swiss Alps, and Austria. It's a "bus plus" tour which means all they basically do is provide transportation, lodging, but not a lot of guided tours so your folks can go at your own pace.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Bob, I never want to make you angry!

go you!
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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How much time are you planning? My parents did a three week Grand Circle trip which was one week in Stresa (Italy), one in Interlaken (Switzerland) and one in Seefeld (Austri). They stayed the full week in each place and could join the optional excursions or venture out on their own. They found it a good balance of "care and handling" and independence.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Dear Bob,
Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. Let me begin by describing my parents just a wee bit: They are very dependant on me for just about anything that requires extra effort on their part (I think this is partially my fault). My father does not enjoy traveling that much -- he is a "home body" (yet, mom does a lot) and although he has always claimed he wants to see the Swiss Alps (his only wish pertaining to travel) he will most likely resist the opportunity unless it is well organized and, quite frankly, I am along to plan, direct and smooth things over at each point. I am not complaining at all, I love them both deeply and gladly assist as necessary to enjoy the sight or knowledge of their happiness. This trip also will come as a surprise as they do not know we (my brother and I) are considering it(a gift from us).
What I meant by the hotel/inn reference is that I do not want to stay somewhere overly large and would rather stay somewhere quaint and "homey" (this is what they would prefer). I will certainly include them in all aspects of the planning stages; I am just trying to get together sample itineraries at this stage.
Are you a professor @ UGA?
mijols3 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Have you checked if Elderhostel offers something in Switzerland?

Given the situation you describe, I think you'll be much better off (emotionally speaking) if you purchase a tour rather than try to research or on your own searching for something to please them.

Rick Steves is another good suggestion.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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As another one who has reached 72, I too would suggest getting input from your folks.

After a disastrous three week Cosmos bus tour of Great Britain four years ago, we swore it would

Instead we are doing an "Untours" trip to Switzerland next year and have alrady decided on which apartment and village we will stay in. That way we are free to travel by train etc. at our choosing.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Hi mijols3,

Have you heard of Untours ( -- sounds like it's just the thing for your parents. It includes airfare & a two-week stay in an chalet/apartment. Someone picks up the travellers at the airport and helps them get to the lodging. The kitchens are stocked. The "hosts" have all kinds of itinerary and excursion ideas & brochures for the travellers to choose from.

Ok, so I haven't done this, but I've read a few reviews of it from journalists who have done it, and one poster here has done it in Switzerland. The Untours site also has some testimonials.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Hi Again,
Thanks to those of you who have replied so far... Any comments on this itinerary?
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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Hi Again,

That trip uses great hotels -- Wilden Mann in Luzern and Eden au Lac in Montreux are favorites here. It looks like a lovely, slow pace with lots of help. Looks like a winner!

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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Thanks for the heads up on "Untours" - the site looks promising. Thanks "S" for your feedback on the iExplore itinerary... Much appreciated!!
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Check out Globus tours. or

I am going on a 10 day tour with 3 nights each in Zurich, Interlaken, Zermatt. Glacier Express included. All breakfasts, some dinners.

This is a "leasure" tour. Some days are scheduled, some are free.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 04:18 AM
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Rick Steve tours state that they involve much hiking and walking. As such, they seem overly strenuous for your parents. The Untour option seems better suited to your situation.

Does AARP offer anything?
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