My 14 year old granddaughter wants to visit Ireland, and I like the itinerary of Rick's Ireland in 14 Days Tour. Has anyone has taken kids or teens on any of Rick's non-Family tours, and, if so, would you recommend doing it?
I've been on several tours, including Ireland, where grade school through high school kids were part of the group. In fact, most of the tours I've been on have had more than one. The age diversity adds to the group dynamic, IMO. I wouldn't hesitate at all in bringing your 14 year old granddaughter to Ireland or anywhere else in Europe.
We had two teen girls on our RS Ireland tour last month. One was traveling with her Mom, the other was with Mom and Grandmother. They were both fun to travel with, although I think one of them would have enjoyed having more kids her age to mix with. We've had a number of teens on our non-family tours and I always thought they were a great addition to the group. That being said, if I were taking a grandchild on a tour, I'd probably go with a Family Tour because I think it might be more fun for the child and because the tour is adapted for their age.
Teenagers are welcome on all Rick Steves tours. (Anyone under age 18 must travel and room with at least one parent or guardian.) Although Rick's Ireland tour doesn't offer a departure designed with younger travelers in mind, it's already an itinerary that includes fewer museums and more outdoor activities than most other regions. Signs in English and locals speaking English also makes it easier for kids to understand everything and feel included.
I have taken my daughter on 6 RS tours. She was 11 on the first tour, and they were all on the NON-family tours. I think it depends on the child. My daughter was always very shy and didn't enjoy socializing with other kids, so the family tours weren't a good fit for us. If you have a child that is very social, then I could see the family tours being a great option. Also, the itinerary for family tours was( for many years ) only the 14 days in Europe. We wanted to explore other areas.
On ALL of our tours there have been other kids. Sometimes, just one other, other times almost half the tour was kids. We travel in the summer months when more families typically travel.
I would HIGHLY recommend taking your granddaughter on any of the tours, especially if she is interested! Yes, there are times when my daughter gets a bit of overload on the "learning" side of the trip. (but honestly I've seen more adults on the tours zone out in the museums than my daughter has!) In our free time we balance the learning with more fun "teenager" stuff too.
We just did the Ireland trip this summer. My 15 year old daughter loved it. There are lots of outdoor activities. The first two stops of Kinsale and Dingle were very family friendly with music in the pubs where she was very welcome. In the larger cities such as Dublin it was not as family friendly at night in most of pubs, but we had fun doing other things.
I have several web scrapbooks that I made to enter Rick's contest that might give you an idea of some of the other trips that we did and how it was with a teen/tween.
I know taking my daughter to Europe has enriched her life more than I can ever know! I hope you and your granddaughter have a great trip!
We did the GAS tour last summer and there were three teenagers on the tour. Two brothers with their parents from Wisconsin, and one teenager with parents from Oregon. The boys from Wisconsin were the most well-mannered boys, very engaged in all the activities, and quite friendly. The boy by himself from Oregon was spoiled, late for the bus, and rude with the adults. (I am not criticizing different parts of the US, please do not respond to this post as such). I think it just depends on the teenagers. They should be able to converse with adults, have appropriate manners for the situation, and a pleasant attitude. If your granddaughter is a surly teenager with attitude problems, please do not inflict her on others (btw-I am the mother of a former teenage girl....I know how they are). If she's a good kid then take her. It will be fun for her, and certainly others on the trip would like to interact, especially if they are empty-nesters and don't have the opportunity to be around "young folk".