Trip w mom age 79 - tour or no tour?

Jul 17th, 2007, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
My brother and I traveled with our 79 year old father to Romania last year. I 'issued' everyone a 21" suitcase, and we each had a smaller carry on bag. We took trains between the major cities, and were with relatives some of the time, but hired a driver/guide for 5 days of touring the countryside. It really helped to have someone who could navigate and translate for us, as well as help with the luggage.

Although my dad was also in good general health, he did tire fairly easily, and seemed to be fighting a bug for several days. We arranged time nearly every day for my father to rest or nap, which he needed (although as Stu Tower shows us, not all 70-somethings will need the slower pace!) A city walking tour was more than my dad could have handled, taxis to specific sites within a city were more his speed.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 04:36 AM
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I travel with my 75 year old mom often and took her to Italy two summers ago. We also went to Germany and Austria for 10 days for the markets.

She is in good health but overweight and has arthritis so there were some challenges. However, no way I would subject myself or her to a tour.

I limited our hotel changes to three, booked first class trains and arrived in plenty of time to be ready to board and we stayed together in the pricier hotels and in single rooms in others for a break.

I would take her back after lunch for a long nap and head out on my own; same after dinner if she was tired and I was not. I chose hotels with a fully staffed front desk and booked car services to and from airport to make the transitions and luggage handling easier.

They were both great trips and I would definitely plan another.

Not only will you be at the mercy of someone else's schedule on a tour, but the hotels they use are often charmless and not very central. Included food is not too good.

Only other thought would be to combine a 7 night cruise with an extended stay. We did that as well and it was fun and easy.
kfusto is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I am a 78 year old and have TAKEN 3 of my daughters on trips in Europe, with Grand Circle Travel company. I have traveled with them 16 times, the 17th to be a Christmas Market Cruise in Dec (again with a daughter) and folks are as active as they want to be, a lot of wonderful choices along the way, etc and the seniors seem to enjoy watching my daughters along with me. They are on the internet, if interested. However I know there are THOSE against these tours, but we each have our own pace and I DO like the fact I am never in the wrong place at the wrong time, hotels, transport, luggage taken care of (and believe me, I am not helpless). At any rate, you sound like you will have a great trip with your attitude. Halfpint
halfpint is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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I normally would not do a tour myself, but if it will make the dynamic of traveling with your Mom more comfortable and take the stress off both of you, I might consider it in this situation. Especially one of the more low-key and educationally aimed ones like Elderhostel or Rick Steves (not the 10 cities in 10 days on a big bus kind!)

I love Venice, so it would be a must for me. Were I planning your trip independently... I'd fly into Rome for 4 days, train to Florence 2 days, train to Venice 4 days (include some organized tours in each city). Fly home from Venice.
suze is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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I agree with suze's suggestion of open jaw. Mom and I have done that on our trips as well and it works well.

If you do Venice/Florence/Rome, I would start in Venice as it is smaller and less dynamic and makes a good starting point for a trip. 3/4/3 would be my choice.

My mom has been to Italy 6 times, three on tours with my dad before he died, and three times with either me or my brother. Her favorite city is Florence because it is easy for her to get around. Walking in Venice is not so easy due to many bridges. And Rome is fine because taxis are easy to find and we stay in a neighborhood that she can easily navigate.
kfusto is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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I think a tour might walk since it will handle a lot of the details and it doesn't seem like you are a very experienced traveler.

I've taken some group tours and they weren't the horrors some people have cited to you above. There is no rule that all group tours have 6 am wakeup calls every day, that isn't a fact. The ones I was one did not, except a day or two when we had to because we were moving to another city or something, and if you are on your own you have to do some of that anyway. The group tour was a lot easier actually, in that regard, as you don't have to do that much but get up and get some coffee, and stick your bags out into the hall -- they pick them up, handle them, and you get right into the bus at the door of the hotel. Lots of seniors I know are early risers, actually, and that would suit them. I think a lot of older people get up really early (at least for me).

So, I would say check things like that out if you find a tour you like and ask them those questions rather than just assuming things. The tours I were on didn't spend any time at all particularly in stores, none.
Christina is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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hi I am 77 and last fall l took a 14 year old grandneice to Paris and London for her first trip to Europe.We both had a fabulous time. We walked and walked , took the metro, the underground,hopoff and hop on buses, so whe really got to see both cities. We took the Eurostar to London. She loved that. We went to museums,churches,the theater, concerts and of course we shopped. After all she is a 14 year old typical girl. It was fabulous, very spontaneous and great to spend time with a very young girl. She obviousky feels the same.She is asking if I would take her to Italy next year. My suggestion do not do a tour. Too rigid, more fun to go with the flow and do what ever you wnat each day. Do not underestimate a 79 year old, You may have trouble keeeping up with her
tdk320n is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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You don;t need a car. Taking the train from Rome to Florence to Venice couldn;t be easier. Cab to train station, get on train, get off in next city. Complete no brainer. You can even buy first class for not very much more - and have plenty of room to relax and look at the scenery - and much more comfy than a bus.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
I'm continuing to search for a possible tour that will provide my mom some assurance for getting us around as we travel Italy. Ideally, what would be good would be something like the 12 day GoAheadTour which only has 3 hotel changes(Venice/Florence/Rome), but with better hotel accomadations & locations so that we can easily get around.

I like the fact that you have 2 free days in each city. I believe this will give us the flexibility that I'm looking for & we can schedule our own tours on these off days. I know that most of you folks are geared toward independent travel, but let me know if you have any tour recommendations that limits the number of moves & scheduled tours. Thanks again for all your help.
mlcg1 is offline  

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