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Rick Steves' Tours with Children

Hello! We are planning our 2019 Europe vacation, and have been reading, watching and navigating online through all of Rick Steves' information, in addition to purchasing several of his books :). While we see trips that are specifically geared for families and younger age groups, the ones we would be interested in doing (Best of France or Loire to the South of France) do not list anything in terms of age restrictions. We have three children (16,13, and 10 during time of travel) that are well immersed and used to travel and touring and almost all that it encompasses (long hours on plane/car/bus, a lot of walking, different foods, and a lot of museums and historical home visits), but want to make sure we will not run into any issues as we continue exploring and decide which trip to finally book when the 2019 dates available. Is there an age restriction for these tours? I am worried there would be one for my 10 year old. Is there a place I am missing where this information is listed? Thanks in advance! We are super excited.

Posted by
2252 posts

My recommendation is that you call the tour department and ask them. They will give you accurate and very good advice. Along with the rest of my family, my grandchildren have enjoyed GAS, Southern France and Village Italy-every, single minute; the foods, sites/sights and "all that it encompasses"! The tour department can give you ideas as to which tours you and your children might most enjoy.

Posted by
1514 posts

I wouldn't have been able to take a tour with my children at that age because they would not have been able to stay on a schedule for 2 weeks. A week long tour might have been fine. But heck, I wouldn't take my husband on a tour now for the same reason!! : )

I would love to be on a tour with a mature 10 year old that can deal with a schedule. I second calling the RSE office for details though.

Posted by
1229 posts

I traveled from Paris to Loire to Dordogne to Carcassonne, to Provence to Cassis to Nice with a 14, 12, and 9 yo last summer. We are not tour people, so I can't speak to what that would be like, but ours was a wonderful self-planned trip. If the tour doesnt work out, you could do it on your own

Posted by
2712 posts

I don’t think there are restrictions. But, the family tours were created just for this purpose. The demographics of tour members tends towards pre-retiree’s or retired folks. We had one somewhat introverted 13 year old with her grandparents on one of our 7 RS tours. On others we had a smattering of late teens, early 20’s.

Posted by
6364 posts

I think the family tours have a lower age limit of 8; on regular tours the limit is 12 or 13. The family tours evidently have a second guide whose job is child-wrangling. Should be fun! We've never taken a family tour, but on two of the tours we've taken there have been 12-year olds. They did just fine.

Posted by
529 posts

I found this statement in FAQ, under the guided tours heading:

Families with kids 8 and older are welcome on our Family Europe: London to Florence in 13 Days tour, Family Europe: Amsterdam to Rome in 14 Days tour, and on all Rick Steves My Way® vacations. Teens are welcome on all Rick Steves tours.

You might want to call the Tour Department and inquire directly.

Posted by
2252 posts

The first tour we took with our family was a Family Tour and yes, Jane-we did have a second guide who sometimes wrangled the kids and sometimes the adults! Dimitri was actually our guide for that tour-one of his first tours as a guide. I would still recommend you call the tour department and get their advice. I'm not entirely sure the age "limits" are a hard and fast "rule". I think the tour department will also be able to tell you which tours are most likely to have kids participating.Sign up for 2019 tours will begin this summer! With a couple of older siblings and parents along, I don't think your 10yr old's age will be any kind of issue. Especially with all their wonderful previous experience with traveling!

Posted by
476 posts

Hi my kids have been on three tours. The first one week in Paris when my daughter was 10. Her first bus traveling tour was the 14 day BOE tour when she was 15. My kids are fine hanging with us & do well around adults. On our BOE tour there were other teen families but the two other tours only adults. We did call
& ask and at that time a ten year was allowed. I had been on two tours without our kids so knew what to expect. We like that half the time you are on your own so if they need down time it is built in. Two days in each stop help. Enjoy! We are planning our 4th trip with our teen & now young adult.

Posted by
3521 posts

I have been on 10 RS tours, none of them the Family variety. There have been children on most of them with the youngest child being 13 on the Best of Ireland tour. All of the children have been well behaved as they all brought plenty of things to occupy their time when they were not interested in the tour activities. Quite a few were interesting to talk with during meals. I was glad they were there.

Posted by
1 posts

We took our 13 and 17 year old daughters on the Italy 8 day tour and we had a great time. We were happy that there ended up being 6 other teens (our 13 year old was the youngest of the group of 8 total) on the tour. All of the kids were very well behaved and a lot of fun. The kids all got along wonderfully with each other.

Posted by
1494 posts

Back in 2006 we were told we could not bring our 11 y/o on a regular tour. they may have changed their policy since then. It did work out for the best though. We had an amazing 5 week trip going several of the places the tour went. We even ended up sharing a hotel with one of the RS Family BOE tours. I also learned a LOT about planning our European vacations:)

Posted by
11507 posts

Ive only been on one RS tour.. a RS Family tour.. with my then 11 yr old.. she had a blast.. the tour was perfect for her.. and for me ( I could relax a bit.. the tour was only part of our trip to europe.. the rest of the trip I had all the responsibility of getting us to each destination.. with the tour I just had to show up at the bus or meeting points.. easy peasy.

We had 14 kids on our tour.. aged 7-17.. yes a 7 yr old.. the parents had asked if that would be ok and RS tour said yes.. and she was absolutely fine.. the only time she needed any extra help is when we arrived in Wengen and had to go up a hill to our hotel and she had trouble hauling her bag.. her dad helped her.. the rest of the time she was fine with her bag.

I think a mature 10 yr old will be fine on a tour.. you know your kids best. I have two other children I did NOT take on a tour.. both of my boys were too "busy" , so I took one son on his trip independently and my hubby took the other.. ( each child got a one on one trip with a parent ) . I knew my daughter would be fine.. and she was.. it was a great tour.

As for regular tour.. we ran into a regular tour at some rest stop and they had a few kids on it.. they seemed happy enough.. mind you think it was like a younger teen girl and an older teen boy.. not a 10 yr old..