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Thread: Recommended European Tours?

  1. #1
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    Recommended European Tours?

    So . . . my trip to Italy this summer was put off (by the other travelers) until next year. :-( Now . . . everyone has backed out for next year - except me! I'm going to Italy next year come h*ll or high water.

    So my question is - if I end up going alone, I may want to go on an escorted tour so someone else has all the logistical hassles. Any recommendations on which tour companies to look at? Obviously I want the best value for the money, but also want those intangibles that make a tour memorable. Any suggestions - maybe from experience?

    Kathleen
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  2. #2
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    Kathleen,

    If you are doing Tuscany I loved these people. Viaggi d'ambra. They do the villages and back country stuff to a tee.

    I did the city stuff on my own with guide books and some advice ( here is my travelogue if you can't sleep!) but the countryside stuff terrified me to try and organize.

    Oh and I think badger (memory is dying) recommended Tickitaly.com to me and they were HUGELY helpful in skipping all the lines!
    Last edited by jeffmac; 06-06-2012 at 04:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Kathleen,

    Although I haven't gone on one myself, I have heard good things about Rick Steves' Tours. A good friend went solo on one of his Italy tours and really enjoyed it. Maybe look into them.

    Claire

  4. #4
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    I'm a former tour director and I'd like to help if I can. However, before specific companies can be suggested, there are a few questions that need to be answered. This article will help you with those questions:

    Group travel: How to choose the tour that's right for you - Seattle International Travel | Examiner.com


    The Rick Steves tours come highly recommended but make sure you understand how they differ from bigger tours. They make all the arrangements and give you a mixture of guided activities and free time. They are also offering a new type of tour where they make all the arrangements but they don't supply a guide. You're on your own with that.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

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  5. #5
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    Rick Steves' without a doubt. We took his Paris city tour and it was excellent, and plan to do more RS tours in the future. The tours section of his website gives a lot of detail about what to expect with each different tour. I was absolutely pigheaded about not liking tours, but our RS tour experience completely changed my mind!
    Lani likes this.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by greywriter View Post
    Rick Steves' without a doubt. We took his Paris city tour and it was excellent, and plan to do more RS tours in the future. The tours section of his website gives a lot of detail about what to expect with each different tour. I was absolutely pigheaded about not liking tours, but our RS tour experience completely changed my mind!
    WITHOUT HESITATION, go with Rick Steves. My husband and and I have already done two Rick Steves "City tours" (one in Rome and another in Istanbul), and when traveling with a tour group, it is, hands down, our favorite way to travel.

    I can't speak highly enough of his groups. Everybody is thirsting for knowledge and keen to learn. Everybody LOVES Tom Bihn bags, and everybody travels lightly.

    He has a couple of different tours... if you are in good health or can walk all day, PLEASE consider his city tours. They have you plunk down in a small local inn for a full week (so you aren't shuttled around here and there), and you walk with your tour guide to all the local places. The schedule is such that on most days, you get the afternoon off to do your own thing. You don't have to worry about buying museum tickets in advance, and it's just absolutely wonderful.

    They also tell you what the tour doesn't cover, should you want to stay an extra few days for a little bit on your own.

    Love his tours!!!!!
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

  7. #7
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    I've did a Rick Steves tour a few years ago. My parents recently did two tours with Trafalger. They had a good experience, but it didn't sound nearly as good as ours. It could be that our Rick Steves guide loved food and took us to some amazing 'local' eateries and markets!

    Anyone, the biggest complaint my parents had was they were constantly exhausted by staying only one night in each place. Every morning they had to get up, repack, and check out.
    With the RS tours, you stay at least two nights in each place. It means that if you want to spend part or all of that middle day just taking it easy, taking a nap, catching up on emails or backing up all your photos, you can. It makes a huge difference to the holiday.

    Hope you have a great trip!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by notmensa View Post
    Anyone, the biggest complaint my parents had was they were constantly exhausted by staying only one night in each place. Every morning they had to get up, repack, and check out.
    With the RS tours, you stay at least two nights in each place. It means that if you want to spend part or all of that middle day just taking it easy, taking a nap, catching up on emails or backing up all your photos, you can. It makes a huge difference to the holiday.
    So the two Rick Steves tours we did, were both his "city tours." He differentiates them from the regular bus tours because you stay at one location for your entire trip. You wind up creating a real "home away from home" and getting to know the area real well.

    On our Istanbul trip, we were giggling at all the harried tourists rushing through the Spice Market on their 4 hours on shore. Tee hee.
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner


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