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Looking for a Tour of the Amalfi Coast/S. Italy -Single 40 YO Female

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Hello!! I'm looking for a guided, escorted tour group this summer 2012 of S. Italy, The Amalfi Coast, and possibly Sicily. I'm a 40 YO female that is active, but not looking to travel with drunk 20- YO's . I'd love informational, helpful tour guides, a tour lasting about 12-4 days, in decent/reputable hotels.
Your comments are sincerely appreciated - thank you!!

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    You posted this same question yesterday and got 4 responses. Since you are new to Fodors, you may not be aware that you can pull up your threads and see your responses by signing in and clicking on your name.

    If you want to add a comment or question, you should do so by continuing on the same thread to avoid having duplicate threads going at the same time. If your thread has dropped down and you want to bring it back to the top (in order to get more responses), just type "ttt" ("to the top")in the reply box and submit.

    In reply to your question, I only took one tour of Italy, many years ago with Cosmos. I took a quick look at their website and it looks like they don't offer it anymore, which is a good thing because it wasn't a good value for the money. (I took other tours with Cosmos that I thoroughly enjoyed).

    I learned a lot from that one bad tour though, which I will share. When comparing tours be sure to look at how much time is spent in transit. Coach tours by definition will spend a lot of time on the bus, but you don't want one like the Cosmos tour I took, where several days were spent entirely enroute. Also check to see where the hotels are located. Try to avoid tours where the majority of the hotels are located outside the city center because you don't want to waste time navigating the metro or train if you are only in town for a day.

    BTW, also avoid tours that have a lot of one-nighters. Packing and unpacking every night gets old very quickly even for the most energetic of persons. Also check to see how much sightseeing is included. In general, if the itinerary says you will "see' a particular attraction, you are simply driving by it. You will actually get off the bus and go inside an attraction if the itinerary says "visit." Sometimes a tour that is higher priced may actually cost you less in the long run because they include more and you are not paying additional prices for meals, transportation to and from the city center, or for "optional tours."

    Speaking of optional tours, the tour director will often try to get you to sign up for all of your tours at the beginning of the trip. Don't do it. You may find as the trip progresses that you don't have the interest or energy to go on a prticular tour. Or a particular tour may be weather-dependent, and it turns out to be inclement weather that day. If you have already paid for it, the tour directors are very reluctant to give you your money back, and often claim they can't do it. If you wait and pay for the tours as you go along, you have more flexibility. I have never been turned down for a tour by doing it this way, even when I waited until the last minute, despite the tour director's admonition that I had to pay days in advance.

    I travel independently now, as do most people on this board, but I think escorted tours can be a fun way to travel if you pick the right tour. Good luck to you!

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