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Traveling with young adults

I am a single mom looking to travel with my two sons (ages 18 and 23) next summer as a high school graduation gift for the youngest. We are looking for a Italy tour - would you recommend the Rick Steve's Florence, Rome, Venice 10-day trip for us? I'm worried about whether my sons would have fun on the trip? The oldest definitely enjoys the history and architecture and is very social. The youngest can be a little shy but traveling with his brother makes it easier. It sounds like most of the tours are for an older crowd?

Posted by
11503 posts

The RS tours seem to attract mixed ages.. obviously more over 40 .. but there always seem to be a few under 30s on the tours.. I suggest you go on the Tour page and look at Tour Scrap books.. they often have photos of the tour groups and you can see mixed groups.

But really.. why not travel on your own.. its easy.. and you can go for longer because you can do it a lot cheaper.

I will say one thing.. I love to travel independently so have only taken one RS tour.. and that was about 6 years ago.. but it was a really fun tour, well run, had free time.. so I do recommend them over other tour groups( my MIL took one with Globus.. she came home exhausted because they had a lot of one night stays., early mornings, hotels were not well located.. and she said everyone was old like her ( she was in her 70s)

Posted by
1073 posts

Hi. We took my then 18 year old stepdaughter on the 14 day best of Europe My Way tour in 2013. We went on the tour departing in mid-June, and there were a number of others her age or +/- 2 or 3 years. They had a blast. Regardless of your personal view on whether this is a good or bad thing, the participants on a RS tour tend to be similar in a way that makes friendships easy, IYKWIM. And the My Way tour was a perfect way to have someone else handle logistics so that we could do what we wanted during the day, not be bound by a tour guide and group. On the bus, they huddled in the back and played cards or listened to music, and in the evenings they sometimes hung out together in the smaller places we visited. Lauterbrunnen was a particular favorite.
Husband and I are going on another RS My Way tour this summer (France) and she is very sad not to be going along. Alas, this is indicative of what happens in life - she is in a college summer program now and setting herself up for her future is more important. Hopefully she'll soon be able to take herself to Europe!
Hope this is helpful.

Posted by
13196 posts

My first RS tour was with my brother, SIL, and their 2sons who then were 25 and 20. We did Heart of Italy and picked it because one of the kids only had limited vacation time. However, it was a really good mix of big city and smaller village sights which worked well for us non-urbanites.

There was another college aged kid on the tour but the kids mixed with everyone and had a wonderful time. We spent a couple days ahead in Rome and one extra day in Florence so the guys could go to a disc golf course they researched.

BTW, the guide was fabulous with the age ranges. She asked on the first day if anyone had particular likes. My younger nephew said he was interested in the Medicis so she made it a point to bring in any Medici connection. In the Uffizi we had a local guide but our RSguide came along. I would look up to locate people and see Trina with Marshall by the arm explaining a Medici related painting to him in another part of the gallery. She was awesome.

Posted by
4329 posts

Been on half a dozen RS tours and all had some participants the same ages as your sons. On each of the tours there were folks in every age group from late teens to early 70s. All the younger people seemed to have a great time and none had any problems mixing and mingling with the older people on the tour.

Posted by
577 posts

Have you asked your sons what is their interest and what cities they would like to visit? As others have said, you will save more by planning and doing it yourself. On the other hand, RS gives you peace of mind by planning everything for you. You have to decide if the peace of mind is worth the price. You are 9 months away from travelling which will give you enough time to plan a trip, buy tickets and book lodging even at RS recommended places. Have fun.

Posted by
44 posts

I think I'd worry less about the mix of people in the tour group, and more about if the tour itinerary covers what you and your sons want to see, and if there is enough free time for you to see the "other things" you are interested in seeing without the tour group. If your sons want to see things that are not on the itinerary, then I'd say go on your own.

I've been on the Heart of Italy tour and I was part of the "under 30s" demographic. There were some other people in our age demographic (and maybe some older but we'd never guess b/c they look really great for their age!!), but we didn't hang out with them exclusively. One set was a grandmother and her granddaughter on a graduation present trip. For that trip I was not with my parental units but I still had a great time.

My last RS tour (and very likely this next one too) had "family" groups- some young adults travelling with their parent/s and as far as I could tell, we all got along. Although the bell curve of ages might be on the higher side for RS tours (and I have opinions why that is) I think many of these young adults probably share my point of view: even if I'm old enough to travel (and pay, heh) independently, I want to share the memories with my parents.

The trip is a vacation -for you to remember as a family I think- not about making memories with people you randomly are with for the 10 days. (If that happens, then that's a lovely perk, but we should not count on it.)

I hope you have a great time and congratulations (in a few months) to your son when he graduates.

Posted by
47 posts

I'm a mom of two teenage boys and we spent a week in Rome and Venice this year. If you can afford a Rick Steves tour, by all means do it. But if you're looking to spend a little less, consider doing 1/2 day tours with local companies. I found it was a good way for us to meet other travelers, the boys were far more interested in learning from the guides than from me and committing in advance to tour gave structure to our week. Have a great time!

Posted by
7209 posts

My family has been all around Europe on several trips for several years. Half the fun of going is actually planning. Perhaps if you're just totally incapable of emailing or phoning a hotel and making a reservation then perhaps you need a tour guide. Otherwise - plan it yourself, save money AND have fun doing it.

Posted by
14 posts

My first RS tour was the VFR tour. More than half of the tour members were families with kids from
16-25. Many were there with their new graduates as well. They were all smart and engaged in the
tour and fit in well with all ages. I think this would be a great fit for you and your boys. Remember the tour is only as good as you make it. You can always skip a group activity if you would like to do something more personal with your boys. I took my son on his first RS tour this summer. Family Europe-Amsterdam to Rome. He is 17 and was the oldest kid on the tour, but he enjoyed hanging with the adults as well. We're looking at the Alpine My Way tour for summer 2016. Engage your boys in the planning process and happy travels.

Posted by
399 posts

While the average RS tourist age is probably well over 40, there are usually enough young adults in their 20's to mid 30's for a group to form. I did a My Way tour that had a descent number of younger adults who went out for the night life while we parents got a good night's sleep. I think a tour such as VFR is a good one since you will not be moving about two much, but switching cities will certainly remedy any boredom. They three cities are so very different.

I recently traveled with my daughter who is a bit older than your sons on the 14 day My Way tour. We had a great time together. And there were enough younger folks 20-40 that she could go out at night with them while dad got his sleep. She had never been to Europe before so it was all a new and exciting experience even when she was stuck with just dear old dad. I remember walking about Rome in the evening as the streets filled with people. It was like one giant block party and she just soaked it in. Really, as long as they have some interest in the itinerary, I doubt if there will be any problems. Europe is fun for any age!