My father and his wife are in their early 80s and have slowed down. That said, they are interested in a tour trip to Italy. How can they find a reputable tour operator that caters to people in their age group who may need more assistance than younger, more physically able travelers?
–Mark Gage, McHenry, Md.
The good thing about guided travel is that the companies shuttle travelers from one place to another—generally by charter bus—so your parents won’t have to find their own transportation and do a lot of unnecessary walking when they’re in destination cities. Tour companies are also very accommodating when it comes to a traveler’s mobility; wheelchairs are generally available upon request, and guides are conscientious of slower-paced travelers.
Overseas Adventure Travel caters specifically to mature travelers and offers smaller group tours to allow for more personal attention. Exploritas (formerly known as Elderhostel) also focuses on small-group adventures for mature travelers and offers several guided tours of Italy, such as Puglia, Como, and Rome.
Your parents should do some researching online to find a tour that suits their travel wishes and then get in touch with the companies themselves to inquire about the tour’s pace, how much walking is required each day, and the type of terrain. They shouldn't have a problem finding a company that can cater to their pace, but they may have a hard time deciding what all they want to see.