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Family trip with Teens: Scandanavia 14 day; Ireland 14 day; or Scotland 10 day

We are planning a three generation trip to Europe in August 2020: my husband and me, our son and daughter, and their 15-year-old sons.
The dates of the 14-day family tours don't work for us so we are looking for a general tour in northern Europe.
Does anyone have comments on any of the tours we are considering and their situability for teens? If we do the Scotland tour we will probably start out in London for a few days on our own.
One last question - are rooms with two beds often available on RS tours?
Thank you.

Posted by
5591 posts

The RS Scandinavia tour is not something I'd recommend as a local. It is a very strange selection of sites and a lot of focus on some places that in my opinion are not that special, while several nice (in some cases world heritage sites) are just passed without a mention. But for two 15-year olds, I especially don't think they will enjoy it unless they really enjoy museums and history (and bus travel).

But regarding hotels, at least in Sweden most hotels have twin rooms.

Posted by
302 posts

As a teacher, albeit solo older traveler, I have also started going north, with August so very hot. I would choose based on the grandsons' interests. The ski museum outside Oslo was fascinating. Vikings? And polar explorers/ Kon Tiki? Then you could travel to Bergen and check out as much of the Hurtigruten route as you can afford. I had never heard of it, but it would be a fantastic way to spend time together without having to deal with transportation. You might also consider Iceland!
It was all very easy to arrange myself, online. What an incredible gift this is!

Posted by
1451 posts

I took the Scandinavian tour in 2017. I understand what Badger is saying, but I still think the tour is enjoyable. There were two young people on my tour and they also seemed to enjoy it. The museums that we visited were not like the typical art museums. They had Viking ships and artifacts. This tour is one of my most favorite travel memories. I did a scrapbook with a lot of photos, if you want to check it out.

I can't speak to the Scotland tour.

Posted by
15123 posts

Having traveled in all three countries/areas (most extensively in Norway), having looked at the three tour itineries, and having raised 2 boys and traveled with them as teens: I feel Scotland plus independent time in London is the best choice.

Posted by
5591 posts

I'm sure you can enjoy the tour, I just think that you might enjoy it a bit more if you did it yourself. Personally I'd be very disappointed afterwards if I realised what I didn't see despite being very close to it.

Posted by
222 posts

We did the Scandinavia tour last year and there was a 3 generation family on the tour. Sometimes I wondered if the teens were bored but they seemed to enjoy it—I asked. Lots to do and see in Copenhagen and Oslo.
We have also gone on the Scotland tour. Less bus time, but no Vikings. I’d probably choose Scotland with London added on for my own kids at that age.

Posted by
82 posts

I've not yet been on the RS Tours you've listed, but my family lived in Sweden when I was teenager and I was rarely bored. I thought Copenhagen was a bit dull, but Norway was both fascinating and spectacular. I enjoyed Norway so much, I returned after high school with a friend. I plan to visit again in May.

What's not to like about Scotland for anyone who has an imagination? I saw a wee bit of Scotland after college; we're planning to take the RS Tour later next year. We took the 7 day RS tour of Ireland two years ago. It included a family who seemed to enjoy themselves.

Posted by
7848 posts

I think you should look at the itineraries and choose the one that appeals to you the most. Two 15 year olds are old enough to enjoy themselves on any tour so I wouldn’t worry about that. ( I spend every working day with over one hundred 15 year olds so I have a pretty good idea of their development 😀)

If all the tours look equal to you, then start pricing out flights and see where the best deals are.

I think that you are planning a wonderful experience for your family and one all will enjoy and remember fondly for the rest of their lives.

Rooms with two beds are always available on Rick Steves tours for the situation where two solos would be roommates. Simply be clear about your needs with the tour office.

Posted by
115 posts

We did a three generation RS tour last February (Sicily). If I remember correctly, when we made the reservation a question asked if we wanted two singles in a room or a double. That meant w had no problem getting two beds in a room. (A double in a lot of the hotels is just two twin mattresses pushed together anyways.) Have a wonderful time with your family!

Posted by
67 posts

I've done Scotland and Ireland on my own and not sure a multi generation group with 15 year olds would be my choice. I've done the Scandinavia tour with friends in my middle 50's and absolutely loved it. I think there is lots of variety for your group. It is one of the most expensive tours and does have some long bus rides. However, there are stops with activities and I never felt like I was on the bus too much. On our own time our guide made reservations at an Ice Bar in Stockholm and Jazz Cruise in Copenhagen. Both were tons of fun. I'm not really a museum person but think everyone would enjoy the ones on this tour. Look over the activities on the Scandinavia tour and see if it appeals to your group. That would definitely be my choice for your group! Yes, request two beds when you book, assuming for the boys, and 1 bed for the couples.