Post # 1
My parents are contemplating a trip to Italy this summer (their first time ever to Europe). I’m trying to help them research some deals, but they really want to do a tour group because it is their first time in Europe and they’re nervous about the language barrier and getting around in another country by themselves. I really don’t know anything about tours because I’ve never booked one myself.
They are in their 50s so they’re not looking for a super active trip, but they are both in pretty good shape so they could easily do some long walking tours without that being an issue.
Does anyone have any recommendations for tour companies (especially ones that might specialize in their age group)? Or any tips for searching?
Post # 3
Are they dead set on doing a tour group? Italy is a fabulous place to visit and I’d never book a tour. Depends on where they want to go and how much time they want to spend, but Rome is very walkable. The language barrier is really not much of an issue in the bigger cities (tho there are plenty who pretend not to understand English).
We’ve gone twice. Rome & Florence the first time, and Rome & Sorrento the second (used the trains to get around), and booked everything ourselves. The tour groups are EVERYWHERE walking around with their leaders waving flags.
I’ve heard Perillo Tours is good, and there’s another I’ll find out the name for you…I think its Taste of Italy?
By The Way…we’re 57 & 61 and planning our next trip there…alone again. We prefer independent travel as you’re really on your own and own time frame instead of being whipped around too many areas in too many days.
Post # 4
I’ve heard great things about Rick Steve’s tours from my co-workers (who mostly fall into the 50+ age range).
Post # 5
@ItWasntMe: I’ve been to Europe twice as well and I agree with you about not taking tours… but I don’t want to push them into something they’re uncomfortable with. They’ve never gone anywhere overseas except the carribbean/canada/mexico so they’re just very very uncomfortable with HOW different it might be. And my mom is not the kind of woman who would think it was funny if they got lost 🙂 I’ll check out those suggestions! I think Perillo is their top contender right now, but my mom asked me to look around and see if I could find a better deal.
@Mrs. Spring: thanks, I’ll check it out!
Post # 6
Tour groups don’t necessarily have to be regimented every single day. There are several that offer a great mix of scheduled and free time. If they’ve never traveled before, it’s a great way for them to see the country. And we often find that the local guides have access to info and sites that would have taken them hours to figure out on their own.
There are also hosted tours, where you have a host in each city that you check in with each day that will make recommendations for the destination that you’re in.
Post # 7
I toured Italy with my mom and we used Perillo tours. Great company! I highly recommend them. The tour was a good mix of older and younger couples for the most part. It was great to have admission to all the sights included (also no waiting in line since part of a tour), most breakfast and dinners if you wanted, wine, and an English speaking guide not to mention the transportation all over the country. It was great not having to worry about trains or taxis. We just all hopped on a tour bus and drank wine as we drove through the Italian countryside. Depending on their budget, Tauck tours also offers great packages but they are a little pricier.
Post # 8
I lived in Naples for 3 years when I was in high school. I have to admit, the BEST experience you can get is going out on your own. Have them get some Frommer’s guide books and any other ones for the areas they want to go to. The library is best.. never buy them! They’re too expensive! We never seemed to have an issue with the language barrier as most people in Europe (especially in the touristy areas) speak English. If not fluently, at least enough to help you get around. If they pick a few key places to visit, i.e- Pisa, Rome, etc, they can pretty much get around the area alone and see whatever they want.
There are also always local tour groups for the big tourist spots (vatican, coliseum) that you can jump into that day. They may end up paying a bit more, but they can see whatever, then be on their way. They don’t have to be restricted by tour group timelines.
Also, the BEST pizza and pasta they could ever eat is always found at the little hole in the wall places! Tell them not to be afraid if it doesn’t look that good from the outside. I promise, no one will get sick!
Hope this helps some!
Post # 9
Collette Tours caters to that age group and when I went to find you their web address, Rome was featured on the homepage http://www.collettetours.com/