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Family tours

Hello. Would love to hear from those of you that have taken a family tour. Were you happy with the tour and more importantly was the teenager happy? We are thinking of taking our 13 year old granddaughter on a family tour next year, my husband and I are active seniors. We have done 2 tours with Rick Steves and love the company and the tours that we went on. Thanks for your replies.

Posted by
15313 posts

Noonan, I've not been nor taken a teen on one of these tours but whether your granddaughter will or won't be "happy" will very much depend on the teen themselves. Are they interested in the sorts of things they'll be experiencing? Are they able to adapt to different surroundings without a lot of drama? What have the three of you discussed about your tour that sparked interest, or have you not yet had that conversation? Are they willing to do some reading up on their own?

I just would think that, given that not ALL teens are the same, that just because one did or didn't do well with an RS tour isn't a fair assessment of how your own will do. What can you tell us about this young person that might provide some more info?

Posted by
2 posts

Kathy thank you for your reply. I think she would be a good match for the tours but I wanted to get input from families who have experienced the tour. She is naturally inquisitive but can bore easily. She is very outgoing and loves to be around different people. This is her grandparents time trip so we want it to be unforgettable.

Posted by
2170 posts

Unfortunately, not many people who take tours read or post on the forum. I notice this is your first post though you have been on tours. 😁

I assume you have read the reviews on the tour page?

Posted by
2553 posts

I took my now-adult daughter way back when she was 11. It wasn’t even actually a family tour but it was a summer departure of the Scotland tour. There were 3 kids on the tour - my 11 year old, a 13 year old, and a 16 year old. They all had a good time but were far enough apart in age that they never really mixed much. I would think that would go better on a family tour.

But all 3 children had a good time and were engaged. My daughter loved her tour and had a good time with the adults we traveled with.

Posted by
1056 posts

I took my granddaughter on the family tour for her 16th birthday this summer. She is not an outgoing type of person and although she made friends, she spent the majority of the time with me. I think the experience will greatly depend on the mix of ages of children on the tour. . On our tour there were only three or four other teenagers but a great nanny Late elementary and junior high schoolers, who had a great time together. There’s enough free time so that you can plan things to do with her as a family. Because of the nature of a FamilyTour, most families spend their free time together on family excursions. , Therefore there is not generally the cohesiveness I’ve seen in my previous seven Rick Steves tours. Also, the requirement to wear masks on the bus generally decreased the amount of time the kids would normally spend together as a group during bus travel apart from their nuclear families. There are activities planned with him I told children, such as hands on stone carving at the Guedelon exhibition and the flash art class, In general, for what the tour was intended, to get a baseline view of many places in Europe, both my granddaughter and I were pleased. Please feel free to send me a private message if you have specific questions.

Posted by
6107 posts

We've never taken a family tour, but we have been on three tours that had teens and preteens. The kids all seemed to do pretty well; the 16-year old girl on our Village Italy tour fit right in. On the other tours, the kids were younger, (9, 12, and 13) and stuck pretty close to their parents.

We never heard any complaining or whining from the young folks, but of course we had no idea what kind of conversations went on in private! The 16-year old was treated by all of us as an equal tour member, but that was because of her poise and her ability to interact with us.

Posted by
9 posts

We took our then 15 year old daughter on a RS family tour almost six years ago. We were signed up to do another family tour in the summer of 2020…but you know how that turned out. We all had a great time on our tour, even though my daughter was then quite shy around people she didn’t know well. One benefit of the family tour is that there are two tour guides, which enabled the kids (ages 10-early 20’s) to have their own tour of some sites. Even though my daughter is now 20, we would have signed up for another family tour for this next summer, but they have dropped the other itinerary, so we opted for the “regular” 14 day Europe tour.

Posted by
33 posts

I agree with Kathy in that it depends on the attitude of your granddaughter. We went with our daughter and 13 and 15 year old grandchildren and the gkids DID NOT WANT TO GO and they let it be known the entire 2 weeks. They wanted to stay home to be with friends and do their sports. It didn’t help that we were there during the record heat of Europe either. One day it reached 106! Hopefully, it won’t get that hot next summer. In the end we think our gkids did have some fun time and in a few years we hope they’ll look back and realize what a wonderful trip it really was.

Our guide, Tina, and her assistant were wonderful with the kids and we’re tuned in to them. There were 8 and ranged from 7-15. The 3 older kids pretty much stayed with their families but the younger kids interacted a lot. But for the majority of the time the families kept to themselves during free time. There was a nice mix of activities just for the kids and they all really enjoyed them.

If your granddaughter wants to go I would definitely take her! It’s a once in a lifetime trip and she’ll come home with lifetime memories!

Posted by
65 posts

I took our 16 yr old gdaughter on the Best of Europe 14 day tour this summer. Before the trip I was so happy to hear from the RS office that there were 7 other teens on our tour. What I should have asked is how many grandparents/gkids were going on the tour. I was the only grandparent, the other kids were with their parents and siblings. My gdaughter really missed her family and I sensed she was resentful to be the only kid with her grandma. She gradually bonded with the other kids and had a good time.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi there!
We took our two teenaged sons, age 17 and 14, on an RS family tour this summer. About half the group were kids, and most of the kids were teenagers. My oldest, who is more reserved and happy to hang with adults, was friendly with the teens, but mostly stuck with us. Our youngest, who was not particularly happy about being apart from his friends at home, was a little unhappy until he made friends on the tour (this is his superpower, that kid could make friends with a statue), and by day 4 he didn't want to sit with us at all. That was also the day the guide fully separated the kids and the parents for dinner and dared them to eat escargot, which THEY ALL DID! I was shocked. And after that hilarity they were bonded. When we got kicked off the tour because of Covid, another family on the tour was in the same boat, so we just finished our quarantine together in the Swiss alps, which was not a bad place to be very slightly ill. I found the other tour members friendly and engaging, not a single click formed, and it was such a joy for me to watch my kids soak up the language and history lessons of each country (we did this on the bus) and have them really try to order food in the native language and to ask politely for our room number key, etc. We would all do it again in a heartbeat, I remain bummed that Covid nabbed us before we got to Italy!

Have a great time!

Posted by
18 posts

I highly recommend the RS family tour. We took our teen in 2019. The memories and friends we made on that trip got us through lock down during Covid. We are so grateful for that experience and still keep in touch with the friends we made. My son is an only child which is the reason we opted to take the tour so he could be with other kids on his first Europe vacation. He’s normally very shy. However, the other kids made him feel at ease. By the third bus day all the kids were in the back of the bus hanging out and playing games. Our guides were exceptional to get the kids engaged and keep them from getting bored. The youngest child was 10 and oldest was 19.

The tour helped my son become a better traveler. Prior to the trip, we spoke to our son about the tour. We watched Rick Steve videos on the cities we would visit. He was very excited to go on the tour by the time we arrived in Europe. Depending on your grand daughter, preparing her ahead of time may help her get excited. There’s plenty of downtime so perhaps you can get input from her on what she wants to do during the free time.

We were hoping to go on another family tour this summer. Unfortunately, the tours are already sold out for the dates that work for us. We are now looking to book a regular tour with our now 17 year old son.

Good luck and safe travels!

Posted by
175 posts

We took a RS family tour with our 3 children aged 11, 13 and 16 back in 2008. It was a long time ago, but I want to echo many of the points made by others: 1. The experience will partly depend on their attitude going in and the mix of ages on your tour; 2. The second guide was really helpful, as was the pacing of activities to make them more interesting for the tweens/teens; 3. On our tour, there was quite a bit of socializing between families and children, which was great.

None of our kids were initially thrilled about the idea of the trip before we did it, but they had a good time. With the perspective of time, my adult children now say they are so glad they went and speak fondly of their experience. I also think it ignited their love for international travel.