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RhineEaux
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Member since Jan 2009
452 posts

10 year to Europe
Our 10 year is coming up next summer and we're thinking about a European trip. A friend recommended these guys and the trip looks good. I don't see us going back for a while, so quantity may be preferred over quality at this time, but this seems to hit a lot of the spots. Just looking for opinions and any "gotchas" that may be associated.

Zachary Travel - European Highlights 14-day

thanks.
This post was edited on 12/3 at 11:04 am


baldona
Auburn Fan
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Member since Feb 2016
7847 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
You may want to post some more info about your blind link.

That's a very busy itinerary even for me. If you like it, do it.

One thing I'd ask with a tour group though, is the average and mean ages. Most are older, like 60s-70s. If you and your wife are 35-45 that may be something to consider.

Have you been to Europe before? Are you absolutely looking for a see half the continent thing?

I would seriously consider doing a much smaller area like just London and Paris for an anniversary.


RhineEaux
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Member since Jan 2009
452 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
yeah we are 35, good point to check out...

I agree, I would rather spend more time in a smaller area. But like I said, I'm not sure when we would go back. First time and would like to see as much as I can on the first trip then focus on the best parts on subsequent trips.


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hungryone
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re: 10 year to Europe
To me, that tour looks like unmitigated misery. Being herded from place to place, with no quality time for a real experience, constantly surrounded by people and the entire schedule being controlled by someone else. No way on earth I'd spend my money on a prison-trip. (But hey, you may feel differently. Just my opinion.)

Pick a city, or two. Go there, enjoy the place at a civilized pace and in a way customized for your personal likes/dislikes. In 12 days, you could do London & Paris quite nicely, without being rushed, harried, or forced to see the pictures of Mildred's grandchildren or Dave's restored motorcycles.

Fly into London....stay a while. Do a side trip or two out of the city if you like. Take the Eurostar to Paris, and stay a while. Side trip to Riems, or into Normandy. Fly home from Paris. Actually enjoy a place, rather than just looking briefly at a place simply to say you've been there.


jsquardjj
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2009
845 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
Its hard to say without knowing what exactly you like on vacation, but that itinerary sounds really rough.

Europe is incredibly easy to navigate on their fast trains. The tour you picked looks like you are paying a lot of extra money to be bussed around with seniors and spending so much of your time doing guided tours rather than experience the cities. If those are the cities you want to see, why not use that as a reference for order of locations and just buy a Euro rail pass and hit as many as you want on your own time? That way, if you fall in love with a city, you can always adjust your trip in the middle. Nothing wrong with wanting to see a lot of cities at once, but do it at your own pace. I also feel like all of that touring would wear you out at some point. You would probably also save about 50% planning it on your own.


RhineEaux
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
452 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
thanks for the input guys, i will definitely get to doing some more research.


Fun Bunch
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re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

so quantity may be preferred over quality at this time


I totally understand the reasoning of this, and I have done this myself, but I am adamantly opposed.

At that point, you are going just to go and say "I saw this".

What would you prefer...to have whirlwind trip that you barely remember, didn't enjoy, tell everyone that you didn't like Europe, but be able to say "I saw this"

or

Slow it down, pick places you REALLY want to see, spend time in them, and really enjoy yourself and make lasting memories?

To me 2 is easily the better option. Pick a few places you really want to go and spend 3-4 days in each at least. Do it yourself. Book individual excursions through different companies around your schedule, instead of being beholden to a tour group.

Alternatively, do whatever you want.


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baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
7847 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
OP there’s nothing wrong with seeing a bunch of places. There’s nothing wrong with tour groups if you want to pay for someone else to plan a trip.

Just know that changing hotels all the time is taxing. Also know the big cities especially are very easy to plan, everyone speaks English. So don’t be overwhelmed with planning a trip.
This post was edited on 12/3 at 1:26 pm


hungryone
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re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

Just know that changing hotels all the time is taxing. Also know the big cities especially are very easy to plan, everyone speaks English. So don’t be overwhelmed with planning a trip.


And know that food will not be a focus--nor will you have much free time to pursue your specific interests. So if you're into craft beer, or wine, or really like chocolate shops, or want to try croissants from a different bakery each morning....none of those things are really possible on a group tour.


RhineEaux
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
452 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

And know that food will not be a focus--nor will you have much free time to pursue your specific interests. So if you're into craft beer, or wine, or really like chocolate shops, or want to try croissants from a different bakery each morning....none of those things are really possible on a group tour.


THIS! I am a huge foodie and into beer and cocktails, definitely something to think about here, as with everything else you guys have said.


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Fun Bunch
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re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

THIS! I am a huge foodie and into beer and cocktails, definitely something to think about here, as with everything else you guys have said.


This is pretty much gone with a tour group. Actually, it is completely gone.


RhineEaux
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
452 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
exactly the kind of information i was looking for in this thread, thanks!


Fun Bunch
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re: 10 year to Europe
My parents, who are older and have mobility issues, went on one of these to Italy. I went to Italy just a few months later. Let's just say our dining options were drastically different.

They either had to go to or were funneled to a lot of shitty places. They did not have time to eat anywhere else most of the time.

My parents had to do a tour like that. I assume you do not...

I'll just use Paris as an example. Last time I was there we stayed in St Germain, every morning I would get up and walk over to one of the best Patisserie's in the world, got a couple of pastries and such, walked back. We wandered around and found a ton of gems. You cannot do that on a tour.
This post was edited on 12/3 at 2:41 pm


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hungryone
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re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

Actually, it is completely gone.

Yep. Group tours pitch to the middle: group meals/restaurant selections will be adequate, non-threatening, and targeted at tourists. Sure, tour operators may make an effort to find places w/local specialities, but you are likely to be presented w/menus in English and be dining with people who are focused on value rather than solely on experience.

Of course, there are specialty group tours that are food focused, but these usually come with a premium price.


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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22511 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
Buy the Rick Steves books for the areas you want to visit. That will give you good basic info for doing your own thing. At 35 years old, doing a guided tour would be miserable. Hell, for me, doing a guided tour at any age would be miserable.


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LoneStarRanger
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Member since Aug 2018
227 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
Nearly $6,000/pp is stupid high.

You can easily pay under $5,000 for two people, for a trip 20 days long. They better be including food for every meal, but even then, that's too high. Easily. If saving a lot of money interests you, let the board here know.


That is way too busy of a schedule. Damn near a whole day can be spent at the Louvre.

They aren't bringing you to the British Museum?!?! Unacceptable.

Jeez...both Anne Frank and Dachau

Remember, in a group like that, mostly old folks (most travel companies lie and say it's younger, then you get there, and they say it's unusually older this time around)

Food/restaurant choices are usually pretty bad on these things. They go to the most American/Tourist-friendly, and also ones that can accommodate large groups only.

If you don't like a couple, or a few people on the group....sucks for you, you're stuck with them on all the travel (motor coaches etc)

Also, it's possible that you get screwed some how if you break away. Maybe, maybe not.


I promise, if you want to save money and also have a better time, using this board as your travel guides/planners etc is worth it. (then maybe you won't be saying..."I don't know when we will be back next")(but instead..."oh shite, we can afford another trip next year!"
This post was edited on 12/3 at 3:23 pm


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
7847 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
To be fair to the tour groups, can you imagine taking a group of 40 60-70 year olds to a bunch of restaurants in Europe? I'd want to murder myself. It has to be bland americanized crap basically to make that crowd happy. If I had to go to Europe with my Grandparents it would be terrible.

The slow service...oh lord, those retirees would murder someone.


LoneStarRanger
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re: 10 year to Europe


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hungryone
LSU Fan
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re: 10 year to Europe
quote:

To be fair to the tour groups, can you imagine taking a group of 40 60-70 year olds to a bunch of restaurants in Europe? I'd want to murder myself. It has to be bland americanized crap basically to make that crowd happy. If I had to go to Europe with my Grandparents it would be terrible.

Makes me feel grateful for my grandparents...who would put my language skills to shame. Sorry you've got no-fun oldsters in your famiglia/famille. Mine would have driven me nuts looking for cousins in every damn location. But they'd also probably drink everyone in the group under the table.


LuckySo-n-So
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2005
19181 posts

re: 10 year to Europe
If you are going to do a tour group, which I have done twice through Globus, I think you would be better served to use a well established company like Globus, Perillo, Tauck, or Rick Steves. Not "Wayne from Zachary".

Sure, there are drawbacks to tour groups, but the nicest thing is that all you have to do is write the check.

On a tour you will get free time to do as you please. You can do your own thing, or take "side excursions" run by the company (for which the tour director gets a "cut"). A tour director is like a 24 hour concierge and translator at your beck and call (when they aren't herding the group around like a bunch of 13 year olds on a field trip--which is a major drawback).

There will be A LOT of bus time on the tour. Lots of Cathedrals. However, you will hit all of the hot spots, go to the front of the line, and stay at very top notch hotels, usually with bars (which you will need after a long coach ride).

A tour was great for me because I was a solo traveler and not very outgoing. It forced me to be with a group of people. I made some lifelong friends and did some things that I would have never done on my own. I'm about to have my 4th extended visit with Australian friends I met on both of my tours (Italy & Eastern Europe).

Also, at 42 and 45, I was neither the youngest or the oldest (although I was on the young end). People of all walks of life. Some on yet another European vacation and some on the dream trip of a lifetime they had been saving for for years and years.



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