By Heather Greenwood Davis | Posted to Globetrottingmama.com
Italy with Teens | The Monograms Travel Experience
This summer, we travelled to Italy with teens in a way that was completely new to us. Typically we have travelled in one of two ways: Independent or Group. We either want complete control over every aspect of the trip, or we want to sit back and let someone else handle it from A to Z. On a recent trip to Italy with Monograms Travel I explored another option.
It’s basically a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. Or, as I now refer to it: The perfect way to see Italy with teens.
Our trip, which had us based in Rome and then Como, offered an experience that redefined what I think of as luxury. There were no satin sheets or butler service, but what we got was a trip where all of the pain points of travel were taken off our hands.
Now that we’ve been back for a few weeks, I’ve had a chance to think about exactly why this worked so well for our family. Here are the five things that stood out for me:
Italy with Teens | Why it worked
- A local touch point – Monograms aims to help you travel independently but with a trusted friend in the vicinity. It’s all the benefit of knowing a local in the city without the pressure of that person being a family member who is going to insist you have dinner with all of the in-laws. From the moment you step off your flight at the airport until the moment it is time to return, there’s someone you can call on. You’re met at the airport, your transportation to the hotel (and the hotel itself) have been arranged, and waiting to greet you is your local host. They can do everything from helping you plan some sightseeing on your own to helping you to figure out the best places to eat in Italy with teens. I can’ t overstate the comfort it is to know that someone who is familiar with your needs, dedicated to your satisfaction, speaks the language and knows the city is right there in your hotel.
- A well-situated, comfortable hotel: Have you ever tried to pick the “perfect” hotel from the descriptions on the internet? It’s a shot in the dark. Sometimes you hit, but often you miss. Instead of enjoying the city , you spend your time dreading the return for bedtime. Our trip took us to two Monograms’ chosen properties. Both were fantastic with comfortable beds and great (included) breakfasts that went beyond fruit and a muffin. (Important when you’re traveling with ever-hungry teens!) And both were located right near the heart of the places we were visiting, making it easy to explore on foot or easily access things like the ferry in Como.
- Just the highlights Sightseeing Tour: Yes, you WANT to meet the locals and explore the neighbourhoods but you NEED to see the highlights. Coming to Rome and not taking in Vatican City or the Coliseum would feel like you’d missed out, right? Monograms has you covered. On the second day of every trip, a knowledgeable local guide gathers you and any other Monograms’ guests in-house and takes you on an included (i.e. no extra cost!) tour of the must-see gems. It means you aren’t waiting in line at the Vatican museums, you’re getting to the best photo-taking spots in the Coliseum and you’re hearing all about the history of the Roman Forum. Doing it early in the trip gives you the lay of the land early and allows you to enjoy the rest of your time in the city at leisure. Plus, the quick introduction to the other tourists means you can arrange to see them again if you hit it off or never see them again if you don’t.
- You stay in Control: There are some who might describe me as Type A. (Who me?!?) Ok, so I like to be in control when I travel (and always) and the idea of following around some guy with a flower on a stick for four days is not my ideal way to see a city. Also, seeing Italy with teens in tow meant there were days when we wanted to give their interests top billing (“Why yes, we can stop for gelato again!”) I loved that our Monograms Travel adventure meant we could be as in control of our days as we liked. It was our vacation and their role was simply to facilitate that. Even the “included tour” was optional. No forced activities or constantly worrying about a timetable.
- The Freedom to leave them in control: And while we loved the freedom of doing what we wanted, when we wanted, we also liked that there was a solid list of Monograms’ suggested excursions that that we could consider. Monograms add-on tours took us to our pizza and gelato-making class – one of the rare classes in the city that offered both lessons in a 3-hour intensive. It’s also how we ended up at one of the funniest art classes ever and riding E-bikes on the Appian Way. We could sign up for the extras we liked (and at a cost that wasn’t any more expensive than booking it on our own) and that our budget allowed.
Overall, our experience in Italy was one that surpassed our expectations. We are already looking at booking another one. It turns out that I kinda like handing over a little power…sometimes.