Advice for first tour

Jun 13th, 2001, 07:12 PM
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Advice for first tour

My husband, parents and I are going on Grand European Tours, Best of Italy tour in Sept. My dad was raised in Italy and even though him and my mom go every 2 years to visit the family he thought for my husband and my first time a tour would be best. After the tour ends my cousins will pick us up at the last stop and we will spend an additional week with them. The more I hear about tours the more nervous I am getting. I did my research before.I booked. One of my considerations for GET was that it only included a few dinners. So many people said that food on the tour is not that great I rather go off and find it ourselves. My parents speak the language like a native and I can get by. After running on about this what I am wondering is, does anybody have any advice as to how to cope best w/ a tour? One advantage all four of us have is we are kind of go w/ the flow type of people. Haven't met a vacation we didn't like, regardless of weather conditions, people, etc. If you do find that you are having a real problem on the tour is there any recourse you can take then and there? The closer it gets and the more I read the boards about tours the more apprehensive I am getting. Help!!

Jun 13th, 2001, 07:35 PM
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No one will force you to go everywhere the tour goes, if you want to go off on your own, do it. You may have paid for something you don't use or do but if you are happier that is the most impOrtant thing.
Jun 14th, 2001, 06:17 AM
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Donna, relax and take a deep breath.
I'm not a tour person usually, but you're already committed and you've said
you're a flexible person, so I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip.

To follow up on the above posting,
remember that you are not a prisoner.
If you don't want to go with the group one day (and they're coming back to where you are!), then don't go.
If you are out on an excursion and you want to explore a church while the others have lunch, or you want to go to a different shop from the one that everyone else is herded toward, then go for it. All you have to be sure of is when the bus is leaving, and that you will be punctually back at the bus.

Any "recourse" you might have would most likely be after the trip, unfortunately, and it is limited to whatever is stated in the tour contract. If the bus is dirty or the hotel is not as advertised, you would most likely have to complain after the fact. Be prepared for some disappointment, just as you would have to expect on any trip. If the museum you most wanted to see is closed on the day you get there, see something else wonderful instead, and as soon as you get back, start planning another future trip.
Jun 14th, 2001, 06:38 AM
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I did a Grand European Tour (London, Paris, Rome) last fall. I have a few pieces of advice.

I was disappointed with the food the tour provided. I would skip the included dinners and go off on my own.

The tours that are included with the package were a mixed blessing. Usually, insufficient time was allotted to see the particular attraction. I would plan on going with the group to the attraction, but bring money and supplies in case you wish to skip the bus back and be on your own.

I would not purchase any extra-cost excursions. They were quite pricey, and you were encouraged to book them on the first day of the tour. By the end of the tour, however, some people were too tired to go on the excursion or were too tired to enjoy it. Don't commit to an excursion until the day before, if you can help it.

If you can go with the flow, you'll have a good time. I think Grand European is a good tour company, and they will treat you well.
Jun 14th, 2001, 09:50 AM
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We have only been on one tour (our first trip to China) and we enjoyed it very much. A lot depends on the makeup of the group and that is just luck-of-the-draw. As luck would have it, I was asked to be the group spoke person by the group on the first morning (we had had the previous evening togethor). One of my responsabilities was to bring requests and suggestions to the Guide when warrented. There were times when we wanted to see something different than was on the itinerary and once the guide understood the group's desire, it was no problem to change. Sometimes we wanted to stay longer at a place and give up something else later. Again, no problem as long as the group was unanimous. Seating arrangements on buses and in dinning rooms got pretty permanent very quickly. So, kind of look over the group and try to determine who you are most compatible with. We had a couple of jerks, but, mostly, really nice people. Didn't get stuck with the jerks. This is, again, based on one tour. So, may not be the same on every tour. But, this was our experience. Your personality (as described) is in your favor. Most things are as enjoyable as you permit them to be.

Don't just automatically give up on the restaurants provided. We had more good meals than bad by far (in fact had only one "bad meal" in 21 days) and some of them were VERY good.

With respect to recourse, one of the jerks became pretty difficult to get along with. I had to go to the guide to ask that he be counseled. He was and the situation did improve. The point is you don't have to just sit back and "accept" everything if it is not to your liking. Remember, reasonableness and consensus are the keys.

You will have a wonderful time. How could you not in Italy?
Jun 14th, 2001, 01:44 PM
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dear donna,
I have travelled extensively through europe. i have gone to europe by myself,with a friend and also on a me what will make or break the tour is the people on the tour.I was lucky because most of the people were from Australia and they were a lot of fun. Just like anything in life most things have pluses and minuses.the plusses are you don't have to lug your suitcases around,you usually stay at nice hotels and you have someone who is knowledgeable about the countries. the minuses that i found is you usually have one person in the group that is hard to get along with, you don't get to spend a long time in each place so when you come across something that you really like alot of times you have to leave.the only thing that i found that i really found that made me mad on a tour was when we went as a group for the include breakfast the treated you like cattle. you usually had a undesireable room to sit in,sometimes we didn't have enough food to feed everyone in the group,and if you wanted a extra cup of tea there was no one around to get it for were treated like a second class citizen. but all in all i had a great time and made alot of friends. dont worry about it just go in with a positive attitude and you will have a great time.

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