I am planning on taking my son to Italy next summer and would feel more comfortable on a tour, since it would be just the two of us. He will be 12 when we go. I am considering the Italy tours over the Family Tours only because they are shorter in length and focus on the cities in Italy that I would like him to see. Are these tours acceptable for pre-teens? Would he most likely be the only child on the tour and feel out of place?
Personally, I think your son will enjoy it. If there are no tweens on board, he will make friends with people.
I have been on non-RS guided tours where parents have brought their 4 yr old with them.
My 2-cents worth.
I've been on 5 RS tours and there have been no children on any of them. I would check with the RS tour people and see what they say. Are there no Family Tours that would work for you? Seems like he might have a better time if there were other kids around.
But like I said, check with the RS tour people, they have more information on how many kids go on their tours.
Good luck and have a great trip no matter what you decide!
I quote raspage as to the reason she is not taking the family tour.
"I am considering the Italy tours over the Family Tours only because (Italy tours) are shorter in length and focus on the cities in Italy that I would like him to see."
My 2-cents worth.
I haven't experienced RS guided tours but am a patron of RS guides and viewer of his shows. Mimi's comments about an absences of children on her past 5 tours seems to answer your question as to being the only child. That noted, only you can answer your question about his feeling out of place. Only you can answer the question as to his being a small version of an adult quietly absorbing and appreciating the history of some strained glass windows or historic relic.
In my previous response I didn't mean to imply that your son wouldn't be welcomed on a RS tour. I don't know your 12 year old and don't know if he would be comfortable around all adults. You're the only one that can answer that. I can't imagine that any of the other tour participants wouldn't be polite and welcoming to your son. Just don't know if he would enjoy wine tastings and things like that.
I have taken my daughter on 6 RS NON-family tours. She was 11 on the first tour. On EVERY tour we have been on there have been kids. We travel in the summer, when families are more likely to be traveling. We also have taken tours that appeal to more families. (Such as we did the Paris in 7 days NOT the Wine regions of France) Some tours there have been only one other kid, others almost half the tour was kids. In fact it was on the Heart of Italy tour almost half the tour members were kids, mostly high school age. Some tours my daughter has been the oldest kid, some the youngest.
To answer your question: YES, these tours are acceptable for pre-teens. I think it all depends on your child. My daughter is a great traveler: willing to try new things, will stand during a museum tour and not complain (even if a bit bored), will get up on time and be on time for group meetings etc. Depending on the tour, they can be very active, lots of learning/history. As long as your son enjoys those things, I think it will work fine!
We try to complement the more "grown up" things on the tours (guided walks, museums) with more teen friendly things during our free time. (shopping, hikes, and museums of interest to her)
You can always call the office to see if other kids are signed up for a tour, if that concerns you.
I am so glad I've been able to show my daughter the world, hope you and your son have a fabulous trip!
I have taken 12 RS tours and only on 2 of them were any members under 21. I do take my tours in the late spring or early fall so I may be missing the tours that happen when school is out.
Thank you all for the information. I know my son would be ok around all of the adults, but having at least one other young person around would probably be more comfortable. He has been asking me to take him to Italy for several years now and he would definitely soak up all of the history, scenery, museums, etc. My daughter and my husband on the other hand ... well, let's just say my son and I would have a much better time on our own. Standing atop the Acropolis 3 summers ago and listening to the Rick Steve's self-guided tour on the iPad, my son and I relished this history lesson. My daughter and husband sat by wondering when we were going to get to the beach. Thanks again! It will definitely be a trip to remember!
If you go in the summer there should be lots of kids. Just returned from the Europe in 21 days tour. There was 1 nine year-old, 3 13 year-olds, as well as lots of other kids between 15 and 17.
A 12 year-old should be fine. And most likely will not be the youngest tour member. If you look at Ricks's trip reports, not sure where I saw them, it looks like young children are frequently included in the "adult" tours.
I expect this is a plus for some people and a minus for others. It would be nice if the company was more truthful with the age guidelines.
I have been on eight RS tours and all but one of them (Sicily) had kids. I travel in June. Summer tours usually have kids and teachers as this is the time of year they can take more than a week off to travel. Even if he is the only child on the tour, he will be welcomed by the entire group.