25 Day AAA Europe Trip

Jan 14th, 2007, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Yikes. I just took a look at your AAA tour itinerary. That is a lot of time sitting on a bus, covering a lot of miles! For our trip, only our basic itinerary was planned for us, flying into major cities, and the rest was up to us. We flew SF to CDG then to Rome; flew to Prague, drove through Bavaria staying in Burghausen and visiting Salzburg and lake regions, then flew to Paris. We booked our lodging ahead of time, based on recommendations on this site and other internet travel sites and books. We read travel guides to get an idea of what to see and do and then did whatever we felt like doing when we got there. It was easier than I thought.
However, a tour could be helpful. I think a Rick Steves tour might be a better experience than what you have planned or a simpler tour with less driving. Pick a few cities. You will have more to do than you could ever imagine. Yet, if this AAA tour appeals to you, then go for it!
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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well...26!!!! I am sure you would have a blast either on your own or with a younger tour group. Check your wife's school. Colleges and Universities have all kinds of tours. In fact, perhaps her school has a travel agency right on campus like they do at many schools in California. My daughter and her husband took a honeymoon to London, Paris, Reims in Sept. and had a fantastic time on their own just picking up a couple of day tours like Fat Tire Bike Tours in Paris and Piper Heidsieck in Reims. Narrow it down to just a few places and you will enjoy every minute of exploring.
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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I agree with the previous posters - I was exhausted just reading this itineray round about day 6! I would second the suggestion to buy a backpack (and a Lonely Planet), and get out there. But, for a first trip, starting out with a tour could work, just not this tour. Rick Steves runs good tours, but the demographic is still likely to be older. You could take a look at Intrepid Travel - I've used them in Asia, and they've expanded into Europe. The have good itineraries, good prices, and a fairly wide age range. You could add some independent travel in Spain to the end of a general tour, after you've got used to Europe.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Baer....26!!! Everybody on that bus will be old enough to be your grandparents If you have any time for research on this forum we can help you have a much better time....do you really want to just drive past the vineyards and be taken to one to buy high priced not so good wine??
gomiki is online now  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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If you are interested in Italy, check out this tour group. We know of several people who absolutely loved these tours - all ages.
They are walking tours where you walk with or without a guide from village to village. Your luggage is moved for you and all meals are provided. We plan to try one soon.
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 07:12 PM
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Wow BaerFace! Congrats to your wife on her upcoming graduation - what an accomplishment. At your age, presuming you're both in good health, please do consider planning & implementing this 25 day trip on your own. How wonderful - to have 25 days in May. The weather, especially in Italy and Spain, should be glorious!

janisj - I didn't mean to imply that Fodorites were blasting BaerFace. Indeed, I was agreeing that there was blasting of the proposed itinerary. Apologies if my quick fingers offended!
dorkforcemom is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Hi BF,

You have definitely chosen an "If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium" tour.

I suggest that you choose one country per week.

Since Spain is important include it.

Fly into your nearest city and out of your farthest.

You could visit Spain, France, Italy and Austria or Germany in 4 weeks and it would be only highlights - better yet, see Spain, Paris and Italy.

See www.kayak.com for airfare.

See www.venere.com for ideas on hotels.

See www.whichbudget.com for cheap flights between cities.

See also Helpful Information: Italy 2

Helpful Information: Italy http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34443340

Paris Superthread

100 Great Things to Do in Paris

Degasís Paris Walks

I would fly into Spain - visit 2 cities in 6 days.

Take 3 days going up the Med coast into France and fly Nice to Rome.

4 nights Rome, 3 nights Florence, 3 nights Venice.

Fly www.myair.com VCE to ORY, see Paris for 6 days and fly home.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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BaerFace, please definitely consider traveling by yourselves. This itinerary looks utterly exhausting, and you won't really see much of anything except the inside of a tour bus.

I am 28, my husband 29, and we have been traveling to Europe, twice a year, for the past 5 years. Its not as daunting as it sounds. We condidere taking a tour when we first decided to go to Europe but chose instead to do it ourselves. Its such a rewarding experience.

Fodors is a great tool, and everyone is here to help. Get a map, a couple of good guidebooks, decide where you really want to go and come back here for any questions. You will surely have a wonderful trip.

Good luck and best wishes,
tcreath is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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I'll "split the difference" on this one.
My first ever trip to europe was a 21-day tour. I had a blast and it gave me the itch to travel and more importantly the confidence that I could do it, that it wasn't that 'complicated'. Before going I thought with languages, currencies, food, getting lost that it was not something I could do on my own. I was wrong.

So here is my suggestion..do both. You have 25 days, book a tour for say 14 of those days, then 5 days at beginning (London?) and 5 days at end (Paris?). I did something similar in that I arrived in London a couple of days beforehand, got rid of jet lag, met a few people from the tour, sat bit of London with these people, then we left. With help from people here, we could get you set up in London. It's a good choice, since language won't be an issue..you can get your European legs. By the end of the tour, you will be euro-vets, and will be much more comfortable with travel in foreign lands, at which point we can set you up in Paris, assuming that interests you, or Spain, or...It might be nice at the end to have time with just the two of you, to explore and realx doing exactly what you want...perhaps sipping on a glass of wine, as part of your picnic in a park overlooking the Eiffel tower

I took a Contiki hotel tour, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Fun people my age, going out every night, laughs on the bus, etc...Don't give up on tours, but let us help you analyze what you are getting. When you see "opportunity to.." or "you can.." or "perhaps.." , these items are probably not included, and may involve either extra expense, or doing it on your own.

My tour was somewhat similar, almost always up early every morning to get on the bus, visits to places that were trying to sell stuff to us, but mixed in with that I got to see "live" some of the places I had read about all my life, see foreign lands...very exciting.

But...you will need to decide fairly soon on your plan of action. Perhaps a search here specifically asking about what tours people have taken and would recommend.

Hope this helps,

Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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I hope you understand that this is not a AAA tour, but an Insight tour. AAA is just the booking agent and isn't taking you anywhere.

If you insist on booking a tour, look for one with little or no 1 nighters. You need 3 nights in most places. Many of the days on your tour will be spending 8-10 hours on the bus. Find a tour that stays a minimum of 2-3 nights each place unless you just want to see European interstates.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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BaerFace: My thoughts go two ways:

1) If you are willing to plan a trip yourself, it is really not that hard if you keep it real simple. For example: Fly into London spend 5 days, train to Paris, spend 5 days, fly or train to Venice, spend 5 days, etc. pick 2 more 5 day places, and book your plane flight home from the last city. Make 5 hotel reservations, 5 nights each. Voila!! That's all you need to do!

That said, if you want to do a tour look into the ones thru Globus or whoever where they say "slow paced" or words to that effects. Where you stay 2-3 nights each place rather than 1. And covering less geographic area to avoid so much time sitting on a bus (and yes likely with people MUCH older than yourselves -lol!).

Or perhaps something like Untours would work for you? I'm not familiar with them but they are mentioned often here as a compromise between mainstream tours and 100% self planned.
suze is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Maybe next step just get back to AAA and ask what other tours they're selling that don't move so fast or cover so much ground. I knwo this is different from your wanting to "see it all" that you started out with, but believe me, I think you're gonna thank us in the end for this advice.
suze is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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> We will not likely have this much time again, so we wanted to experience as much of Europe as we can. We are very into art and theatre, and trying to get into wine tasting.<

The thing is, you won't really experience ANY of Europe on this type of trip. You'll not see much art, and I'm not sure if you'll get to go to the theater!

If you enjoy art and theater, I'd start with London. Stay 5 or 6 nights, and head to the Tickets booth once or twice (or more) and get half priced tickets. Or you can get tickets in advance. There are tons of museums, palaces, so much to see. Even if you had 25 days, you aren't going to see every little bit of London, let alone every bit of England - and certainly not that much of Europe as a whole!

25 days is a wonderful trip. Last year we did 16, and we spent 5 nights in Paris - my 3rd trip there, and I've still not nearly seen or done everything there is to do. That won't ever happen for me! But if you choose at least 5 nights in each city you go to, that will really help you be able to get to wine tastings, to get to the theater, to get to the museums. You won't do that on the tour you are looking at.

nbodyhome is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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All of this advice has been wonderful. We are changing our plans to be a lot less chaotic, with a lot more time in less cities. I will post our new plans soon. Thanks everyone..
Jan 16th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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This thread shows Fodor's forum at its BEST! Thanks for giving us the chance to chime in & help out, BaerFace!
suze is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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>>All of this advice has been wonderful. We are changing our plans to be a lot less chaotic, with a lot more time in less cities. I will post our new plans soon. Thanks everyone.. <<

Yay! I am very glad. This way, you'll be able to enjoy theatre in London, museums in Paris, and really ENJOY your trip!!!!

nbodyhome is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Went on a tour of just France some years ago. It was for 10 days, and by the end of the trip, I had to force myself to get on the bus! Too much bus time. I am glad you are reconsidering.
pat is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Still not brave enough to forgo a tour, but here's the one we picked.


We are adding one more day in Rome, then flying to Madrid for 3-4 days.

Thanks for all the help everyone!
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:29 PM
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Oops, guess the link didn't work.
It's Globus, From the Thames to the Tiber.
Jan 17th, 2007, 11:17 PM
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Posts: 65,805
After all the advice and discussion - you are still opting for a coach tour of too many places in too little time. At least it is less hectic than the first one.

1 day in Venice and 1+ day in Florence
janisj is online now  

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