Hi - my parents will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year. They want to celebrate with a first-time trip to Italy - Rome, Venice and Pompeii. However, they have never been to Europe and are not good/experienced travelers. I think that the best option for them is to go as part of a tour with a senior citizens to group which will handle most of the logistics, transportation, meals, lodging, planning, etc. Does anyone have any recommendations of good tour companies for seniors?
I don't know how active your parents are, but we have been on 9 of Rick's Tours and we will celebrate our 56th Anniversary in June. We loved all of them, but you must be physically active as you are required to walk and stand a lot. Of course, they can always opt out of anything they think might be too strenuous. The Best of Italy Tour would be great for them (we have been on it twice). However, it does not go to Pompeii, but Ostia Antica (which we liked as much as Pompeii) is an easy side trip out of Rome. Also, I would not go to Italy in July or August as the heat tends to zap your energy. If you think one of Rick's Tours would work for them, then have them read all of the info about what is required for that tour and then let them decide. By the way, we took Rick's Eastern France Tour, followed by the Best of Spain Tour last year and have submitted scrapbooks if you would like to look at what the Tour was like. Just click on Tours and then on the contest to see those submitted so far.
Happy Travels to your parents on their 50th!
Hi,, not sure how fit your parents are ( 50th anniversary.. could be 70 or 85 yrs old. .lol ) but RS tours are great.. however there are caveats.. can they walk comfortably for 20 minutes at a go.. can they lift and carry their own suitcases?
Age is not a factor as much as general fitness. Many folks in 70s love RS tours and have no problems with them.. but it really does depend on each individuals abilities.
If not.. I suggest you look at some of the higher end full service type tours.. the ones where they carry your luggage to your room.. and bus you to each site( on RS tours in cities you often take public transport with your guide, so sometimes involves walking and stairs in metros etc) .
I have heard Tauck Tours recommended fairly often so that's a start.
Good luck .
Road Scholar is another good option. The European tours we've been on with them have been fantastic, and they cater to the senior population. We're 70 and 80 and we went on three Rick Steves tours last year. We're good walkers and we do work hard at keeping in shape, but we do fine on these tours.
Tauck or Trafalgar tours may be a good bet for them.
There is a tour company in Canada called Senior Tours. As the name implies, the tours are tailored to seniors' interests and physical abilities. Have a look at what they offer, because even if the company is here in Canada, I am sure they could accommodate your ma and pa.
If RS is too strenuous and if they can afford it . . . go with TAUCK. They are an amazing family-run company. You can see their website and AAA has lots of info too. It is very different than RS. It is a high-end company. 5star hotels & restaurants - But you still get a great feel for Europe . . . perfect locations in the heart of each city. Every detail is taken care of. They even handle your luggage for you. All tips are included, no hidden fees. The tours are amazing . . . utilizing a Tauck Guide who is with you for the entire trip . . . and then local guides for each city . . . very knowledgable. Good amount of group time for sightseeing and education, but lots of individual time too. It is pricey, but if it's in their budget, it's worth every penny. We have been on 3 Tauck tours . . . most recently a Christmas Market River Cruise on the Danube through Austria & Germany.
We are doing Italy with RS because our budget can't afford Tauck. We are looking forward to our 1st RS tour, but it was hard to shut the door on Tauck for Italy. If they can carry their luggage, then consider RS. Check out the Tauck website . . . the itinerary is there . . . but it is way more money . . . but hotels and food and experience and service is top notch. Meals are 5courses and you order from a menu. There are other groups . . . Collette, for example, but meals are limited w/pre-set menus. Just depends what you are looking for.
We plan on traveling with RS and Tauck in the future . . . depending on our budget at the time.
If I can give my two cent's worth-
One of the questions you should be asking is are my parents old-minded? By that I mean, being a fit senior citizen only takes one so far. RS tours tend to attract young-minded people of all ages who engage with the locals, enjoy surroundings even in the rain, relish the unexpected, and can tolerate being uncomfortable. If that describes your parents then an RS tour would be a very good fit. If they don't like to be out of their element then perhaps a different tour, catering specifically to senior citizens, would be appropriate. Having said that, my husband and I (we're mid 40's and fit) went on the GAS tour in 2013 with many "older" people, some of whom were headed to another beer garden when the younger crowd was worn out and going back to the hotel.
Odysseys unlimited is another option. They carry your bags and they also stay in first class hotels. We have enjoyed both RS and Odysseys but as we get older we like the accommodations on Odysseys better. Nicer beds and bathrooms but still well located.
Janice, I've read plenty about seniors that took 'senior tours' and hated them; they were full of...wait for it...OLD PEOPLE!
What shape are they in, physically? That is a very important point of info. And be brutally honest. If one needs a knee replacement and is a slow walker, and the other is out of shape (gets winded easily and needs time to recover before continuing), that's going to make a very big difference in our recommendations AND in your parents' enjoyment. I'm not asking if they are Olympic athletes, just their general state of fitness.
Also, do you think they will do any research ahead of time in anticipation, or do they just want to show up and look at whatever they are taken to look at and be happy? Different tours have more or less emphasis on how in-depth their tour guides go, and how much - if any - free time is allowed for individual interests. Do they want to go inside the Colosseum with a guide, or have their tour bus stop two blocks away so they can get out and 'see' the Colosseum? From two blocks away. Some people would be absolutely fine with that, but most people on this forum would flat-out mutiny!
How long are they interested in traveling? Two weeks minimum, up to ___?
How fabulous and exciting for them to be planning this trip as a celebration!
First of all, extend my congratulations to your parents on this incredible milestone!
It would really help to have more information on what type of experience your parents are looking for, and any physical limitations they may have (ie: mobility issues, other health issues). It's hard to make a recommendation without having the info.
There are a LOT of different possibilities. They could combine a tour along with some self-guided travel afterwards. They will gain travel skills during the tour, so should be capable of short trips on their own after that. Depending on their budget level and interests, they could consider a Venice, Florence & Rome tour, or perhaps something like the Village Italy tour. They could spend a few nights in Sorrento after the tour, and visit Pompeii and Naples on their own.