By Tracy Gallagher — Read more in Tracy’s guide to Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas!
I recently took my three kids, ages 11, 9 and 6, to Peru. I know what some of you may be thinking: What about the altitude? Can they hike the ruins? What about the food and drinking water – is it safe?
Even though I usually jump at the chance to take my kids to an “out of the box” destination, I certainly understand those concerns.However, I signed up with Adventures by Disney, the mouse’s organized tours.
Am I a lover of organized tours? Not especially, as I prefer my freedom when I’m on the road. But when you are traveling with children to a destination with a lot of unknowns, there is extreme comfort in finding a family-oriented planned trip where your greatest logistical commitment is to simply show up.
However, travel stress melts away as everything is organized for you. Your hotels booked? Check. Luggage picked up at airport and you don’t have to even touch it: Check. Transportation from airport to hotels to attractions: Check. Check. Check. All of these are key in a location like Peru.
By taking a tour, I saved countless hours planning and researching every activity. And with a little Disney magic, we avoided crowds at some of the most packed tourist attractions.
If your idea of vacation is to move around a lot, learn about other cultures, be chauffeured around the world without a worry and mingle with other families, then this is something you might want to consider.
If you like slower pace with lounging at a pool, frankly, you don’ t need to pay to have guides show you that. This was a trip with little down time. Our immersive experience required an incredible amount of energy.
In addition to Peru, Adventures by Disney organizes tours in other parts of the world. You can see the Great Wall in China, cruise down the Nile in Egypt or search for the Big Five in South Africa (however, these days you’ll be hunting them with cameras instead of guns).
If you do consider a guided tour for any trip, here are some things to think about:
- For more information about Disney adventures, go to:www.adventuresbydisney.com
- Make sure the destination is age-appropriate for your children. Only you know your child best. For example, I would recommend waiting until your child is 7 or 8 years old before undertaking even a guided tour to Peru. Not only will they get more out of it, but if they are bored or fidgety, you will not have a great time.
- If you think the price sounds expensive, try itemizing what it would cost to go it alone at comparable quality hotels and attractions. Often these tours sound expensive, but are better-priced because they have the power to negotiate good rates since they bring in more business. Also, mistakes you may make with transportation, etc could cost you more in the long run. Plus, you have little extras that you may not even think about when calculating the cost of your trip. For example, Disney had bottled water for us whenever we needed.
- Find a tour group that fits your personality. Adventure? Scholarly? Volunteer-oriented? Family? Disney, for example, makes family the focus.
- If it’s an international trip, I would highly recommend flying in a day before the tour begins to adjust to any time difference. Trust me, it’s worth any extra money. If you are a zombie at the beginning of the trip, it is hard to recover.