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planning first trip to ???????

Level Contributor
5 posts
9 reviews
planning first trip to ???????

I've decided that while hubby takes his gun for a walk every hunting season or takes a golf trip, I'm going to go on a trip overseas. I will have my sister with me and she has health issues that may limit her walking extended times.

I've traveled Italy 25 years ago, but my sister never left the states.

At this point, the only concern I have is that I have zero direction ability. Seriously. None. I get lost all the time and rely on GPS. I'm not as worried about language-I'll take a book and try my best :) and enjoy the learning!

My sister's concerns are terrorism; I can't control that. I can only be vigilant and enjoy my life.

So- any suggestions on where to travel with my sister's health issues and limited income (the entire trip (food, tips, air, everything) under 3 grand.

Tour company? organized B&B/rental car trip? So many things to think about....I need to get some ideas on how to narrow it down. I keep leaning to try to do it all since she will never make it overseas again, but multi country trips often mean long bus rides.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


Loch Arbour, New...
Destination Expert
for New Jersey
Level Contributor
4,348 posts
121 reviews
1. Re: planning first trip to ???????

My suggestion is to plan your own trip but limit it to one location. e.g. London, Paris, etc. Or you can take a low activity tour with a company like Road Scholar. It all depends on If you think you can do it on your own or if you need someone else.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
10,441 posts
140 reviews
2. Re: planning first trip to ???????

With all that uncertainty you really need to focus on one country and then get a good travel guide book such as Lonely Planet which covers the whole country and list inexpensive to expensive restaurants and hotels.

After reading the book then compare a self planned trip or a tour for which you will have a good idea of cost.

As to terrorists, that's baloney, more people have died in the States just last year from shooting than terrorist in Europe in the last decade.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,520 posts
112 reviews
3. Re: planning first trip to ???????

I agree with the suggestion for a low activity tour from Road Scholar if sis goes with you. They will provide transportation from the airport to your first hotel if you book your airfare thru them.

Your budget might be a little low. I don't know where you are from but airfare for where I live in the Mountain West to London or Paris fluctuates between $1300 and $1800 most years. A time or two I've had to pay more, once I got flights for less than $1300.

I will also add that there are plenty of solo women travelers on the Road Scholar tours. I'm saying this because you might decide that you want to go on your own if your activity level is a lot different from your sister's.

Many who have not traveled much are fearful of terrorism but once you get *there* you realize the locals are living their lives, walking their kids to school, going to work, sitting at an outdoor cafe with a glass of wine and carrying on with the routine of their daily lives. I'd hate for someone else's fears to limit your travels.


Level Contributor
5,434 posts
152 reviews
4. Re: planning first trip to ???????

'The purpose of terrorism is to terrorise'. Bad news, it doesn't work. In Britain we have had the lot - some idiot had a go in 1605 and we have had lots trying since - including Mr Hitler. Doesn't work as DObby says.

If you come to the United Kingdom, you are at high risk - of looking the wrong way before crossing the road.

Do come (but sorry, no guns).

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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35,567 posts
111 reviews
5. Re: planning first trip to ???????

You have a lot of variety in Italy. Know you've been but have you been to the North and the beautiful lakes? To the south and the Amalfi coast? To Sicilly?

It would be easier to plan it and fit in more using one country.

Or the Uk with Scotland, England and the train to Paris.

Spain central then the south, day visit Gibraltar or Morocco from the coast and then to France or Portugal.

The Man in Seat 61 has trains, tickets links to accommodation though it would be better perhaps to find your own


Spain and Italy have good rail links and subsidised trains and buses. There is a Train Travel Forum and the destination forums for locations will give you help on how best to move around and buying tickets etc.

If your sister is worried about terrorism then minimal time in capitals. Sorrento and the Lakes aren't affected neither is southern Spain and Portugal nil.

Level Contributor
10,941 posts
81 reviews
6. Re: planning first trip to ???????

$3000 per person or for both of you?

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
12,344 posts
157 reviews
7. Re: planning first trip to ???????

I am more concerned about the mobility issues. Also, for your sister's concerns, I would recommend a tour. They take care of so much for her and then you aren't left trying to deal with her luggage and yours as well as doing all the logistics. You will be tuckered out and she may be cranky. My cousin has severe rheumatoid arthritis and they take tours or river cruises.

You may go back to Europe later, and can then tackle it differently, but this time, a tour may be the consideration. Yes, it might mean long bus times, but these buses are designed for long travel and I think a tour bus has a different feel than public transport.

For purposes of transperency, Spain has been on high alert for longer than France...and the list goes on. So educating DS about the risks or realities of terrorism might help her. As mentioned, US is a very risky place....moreso due to gun related deaths than terrorism. These are real facts whereas terrorism is a mind game.

Gate 1 is a lower cost company that might suit your budget, but you will have to compare all the add ons of meals, optional tours, etc....

Then one has to look at the itinerary and the topography of the towns. Are they hill towns which might challenge your sister?

Lastly, if you are an AAA or AARP member, utilize their travel agency for advice to get you started.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
4,339 posts
342 reviews
8. Re: planning first trip to ???????

If it's your sister's first trip abroad, I'd suggest an English speaking country: the U.K or Ireland. A guided tour is a good idea so that logistics are taken care of for you both. An alternative is to stay in one city on your own and take day trips or one-day guided excursions. London might be best for that...or Dublin. There are so many different parts of the U.K. you can visit that it would take several trips to even scratch the surface. Just remember that there's a Royal Wedding in mid-May, so prices will skyrocket around then.

Another alternative is The Netherlands since so many Dutch people speak fluent English. Amsterdam is a delightful place.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
55 posts
43 reviews
9. Re: planning first trip to ???????


I agree with Mary. Just travelling from the US to Europe is a challenge for most people. If you have health problems, then even more care should be taken. Before you do anything else, you should find out what insurance would cost. Some insurance companies will not cover you if there is a pre-existing condition and, if they do, the cost is prohibitive. That being said, your budget is a bit on the lean side. The flight alone will set you back at least $900 each (perhaps a bit less if fares go on sale). I was not sure if you meant $3000 per person or together. I would also suggest to visit just one city such as London, Paris, or Rome (my favorite). If you visit Rome, there are a number of convents that offer relatively "inexpensive" centrally located accommodation. You could also look at Air BnB but you really need to know the city before making a decision. You should also think about stairs, given your sister's health. That would apply to any city you visit. Forget about driving in Europe. I lived there for many years, did my drivers license in Germany, and despite that, prefer using other means of transit. In terms of tours, VIATOR offers a wide variety of day tours in many cities. Depending on where you go, they may arrange for a pickup.nearby. There are also private tour guides, but I suspect they are quite expensive. Most tour companies require participants for be somewhat fit and European sites are not always user friendly for those with mobility issues.

My advice is do your research first, starting with the insurance issue and revisit your budget. TripAdvisor is a treasure trove of information. Best to start here.

Good luck.

Level Contributor
4,876 posts
25 reviews
10. Re: planning first trip to ???????

Have you considered Canada?

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