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France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

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France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

To Tauck or not to Tauck???Traveling with college age children in France and Italy during the Christmas holiday. We've never been to either and think a bit of structure might be necessary in that we'll be traveling for 12-14 days. Have been encouraged to use a tour group (Tauck suggested) but worry that it will be a senior crowd (I'm almost there and would welcome that) and too "tour-guidey" for our younger travelers. We love independence but believe that some tours might be beneficial. What is the best balance? Any suggestions appreciated!

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1. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

It's all easy to plan independently and, honestly, as a college age person, I would have rebelled against a strict tour or any tour (well, I still do) - never have taken one, never will. It's all personal choice.

Everything is bookable online - I'd get some guidebooks for the family to look over and have everyone make choices about some things they want to see so everyone is invested in the family trip.

Decide which cities - I assume about 3 or 4 cities (two in each country?) What's the plan? You don't want to be on the move all the time I wouldn't think. I would think you would want to take some time in each wonderful spot to soak it up and not be in a hurry to see too much.

I haven't been to Paris during the holiday season so can't speak about it but I did spend a few weeks in Rome last year during December and it is really is so wonderful and beautiful to be there during that time.

But, if you can say where you want to go, then people can offer some useful suggestions.

If a tour is the only way you can imagine doing such a trip - then, choose carefully so you aren't up at dawn and spending a lot of time just moving around. When I have seen tours, I don't see many young people of college age - I'd certainly ask them what they think - they sound old enough to have an opinion, I expect?

I think planning to take a few tours when you get to where you are going is a fine idea (i.e., the Forum in Rome or Pompei, if you there, or one of the Vatican Museums - that sort of thing).

St Paul, MN
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2. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

What do the kids think? I think they would be bored stiff on those tours. Spend a week in an apt in Rome and another week in Paris. I spent a week in Paris in Sept 2013 with 3 20-somethings (I am 60) and we all had a great time. We ate in the latin Quarter, went to Museums, ate tons of pastries, got take-out at Rue Cler, went to Versaille.

When my kid was in College we spent her spring break in Italy 10 days. no organized tours other that ones where I would book tickets for the Vatican Museums and we would show to take the take tour.

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3. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

Thank you for your very thoughtful, and helpful responses. As you can imagine the tour idea was met with a lukewarm reception by my young adults!! Being belched out of a bus isn't high on their list of to-do's. While it does make the planning easier I do think that being more independent make for a more authentic experience. Love the idea of renting an apartment in each city and with the internet at our fingertips finding the right one shouldn't be too difficult. Merci!

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

I was in Paris for a week with my college-age son between Christmas and New Years. It's a lovely time of year but be prepared for crowds. One of my son's big "to-do" items was to visit the catacombs in Paris -- we waited online nearly 3 hours!

This coming year, we are (hopefully) visiting Rome for that week. I'm mentally preparing for the crowds as I am usually there when the city is less crowded....

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

We have done both London and Paris at Christmas with kids this age and have done Rome in the spring with them. Paris is a delight at Christmas (London is too, but it utterly shuts down on the 25th and 26th, even public transport, and so would not be our choice again.)

I would never do a tour with young people this age -- in fact, I think the only good reason to do a tour is that you are so elderly that you literally cannot manage your luggage and such. A family of adults surely has an idea of what they want to do and see and can easily build a trip around those wishes. It is important than everyone take some ownership and contribute to the planning even if one person is the family organizer. I am that person in my family for travel, but my children from late childhood on always did some of the planning and this made for more interesting trips.

With a group this size, it is a bit easier to stay in one or two places as a base and get an apartment. That gives you great social space as well as a kitchen and laundry facilities. At Christmas many places require renting for the whole Christmas period and since it is high high season, rents (and hotels) are at their most expensive.

My husband and I were in Florence one year right after the Christmas trip to London and the weather was positively spring like. This is not to be expected but can happen.

It is a great way to spend the holiday season. The years we did this, we made books our Christmas gift plan -- so everyone went to Europe with a book for each other family member for Christmas and then we all had great books in English to read during travel without needing more space in our bags for the return trip. (of course these days, the books would all be on the Kindle or Nook)

We loved these trips. Hope yours is great.

janettravels44

www.janettravels.wordpress.com

St Paul, MN
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6. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

I woud recommend Vacation in Paris for a paris Rental

www.vacationinparis.com/index.html…

They have a new Jersey office so you can talk to staff in close to a north American time zone in English. They have excellent reviews online. I have used them 4 times now with no problems. Apts are very clean and as pictured. best of all you can pay them with a credit card through Paypal (unlike many Italian landlords). They send you ther key in the mail, so you do not have to arrange for a drop-off duing business hours in Europe when you arrive. There is only a key deposit that they promptly refund when you sned the key back (through Paypal).

St Paul, MN
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7. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

I have used Rome-accomodation for Apts 5 times (jsut 2 weeks ago) now with no problems. Great apts at great locations. Clean and as pictured

rome-accommodation.net/apartments-rome.xhtml

Like most Italain landlordsd/agencies, you pay a deposit by credit card andf on arrival you have to pay the whole apt rent in euro cash.

I would leave the US on Dec 26 if possible, and travel on that day to arrive on Dec 27. Everything will be shut down again on Jan1.

8. Re: France and Italy at Christmastime with college age children.

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