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advise on tour guide/company vs independent travel

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My family of four is planning a trip to Europe in late May 2014 in honor of my daughter's 16th birthday. Neither my husband nor my 12 year-old daughter has ever been abroad. We know we want to visit Paris (the birthday girl's pick), but were considering adding either London (and surrounding areas like Stratford) or the Loire Valley. I want to make the most of our time there (probably about 10-12 days). Should I: (1) plan an independent trip, since we love flexibility, (2) go as part of a pre-planned tour group, like maybe Tauck or Globus, or (3) hire our own personal guide in each city? Any advice is appreciated! Need to make a decision soon!!!

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