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Can't decide! Tour? Which company?

Old Oct 30th, 2006, 02:01 PM
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Can't decide! Tour? Which company?

Hi all - I've been reading messages so far and you guys are all so helpful! My husband and I are planning our first trip to Italy for March 2007. We have tours narrowed down to the Globus Best of Italy tour and the Insight Best of Italy tour. So my first question is, which of these have you had experience with and/or recommend?

Part of me also wonders whether a tour is what we should do. DH is not comfortable getting around on his own b/c neither of us have ever been to Italy and neither of us speak Italian. So he is all for the tour, but to me it seems like so much activity and so much to see in a short time (11-12 days). He's 36 and I'm 30 . . .

Anyway, any advice is most appreciated!
BluzGirl76 is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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You're going to find most people on this board will recommend you try to do the trip independently. Not that there's anything fundamentally wrong with a tour, but I definitely think that there's a massive wealth of information on this board (especially for Italy) that planning a trip yourself would be very easy. No worries about not speaking the language either - Italy has a well built up tourist industry and most people working in it have a reasonable command of the English language.

With 11-12 days you could have a lovely trip of Rome, Venice and Florence. Traveling between these cities is best done by train and is relatively short and very easy to do. Getting around while in the cities is done by foot in both Florence and Venice and mostly aslo in Rome, although we did use the subway there a few times, also extremely easy. So you can reassure your husband that Italy is very navigable.

I checked out the Globus tour you referenced on their website and I must tell you it's very rushed, especially for a first trip, because it's proposing to cover Rome, Capri, Assisi, Venice, and Tuscany (incl. Florence) all in 12 days. The Insight one is much along the same lines. You won't fully appreciate all the amazing things Italy has to offer with so much packed into so little time...

From personal experience I can tell you that my 2004 trip to Italy with my husband (then-boyfriend) was amazing in no small part due to the fact that I planned it myself with immense help from the people on this forum. Prior to this trip, I had only been to Europe once before, and only to English speaking countries, so I was nervous about "going it alone" too. Plus we were young (early 20s) and not experienced travellers in the slightest. But I decided to give independent travel a chance and did all the trip planning myself and boy am I ever glad I did! Not only was the trip amazing, but I developed a true passion for travel (and travel planning) that has only grown and become stronger. Only 3 short years but 3 trips later, we're planning a trip to Croatia and Slovenia and I couldn't be more excited. I hope the travel bug bites you equally hard!
I hope this doesn't sound like a tour-bashing rant, because I do think for some people tours are great. But if you're young and mobile I see no reason why you shouldn't consider planning this yourself. And as many fodorites will tell you, planning is half the fun!
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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We did a tour of Italy 2 yrs ago and we are doing another in March 07.
The Globus Best is far too ambitious--too many places -too much time on the road
Please pick a tour that has two or three locations at most AND HAS FREE DAYS!!!! They are hard to find.
We are doing 5 nights each at Montecatini and Sorrento with Gate 1
Florence and Rome would be easy to do on your own with the help of this board
 
Old Oct 30th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Check out the itineraries of the Rick Steves tours -- near perfect blend of scheduled and free time for a first time traveler to Europe. Then, the next time you go, you'll be confident enough to plan it on your own, with assistance from the helpful folks on this forum.
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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We did a Rome-Florence-Venice trip for 10 days in 2003. We booked the airfare, hotels, and train through Italiatour. I liked that most of the time was free but we had a half day tour of each city included. We got to choose the hotel in each city. All included a good breakfast. I did a ton of research (used Rick Steves and this board) so I had a good idea of what we wanted to see in each city. I think we got a good deal by booking a package rather than booking everything myself.
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 02:31 PM
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I was debating back and forth with these two tours also for quite some time.

I decided to book an independed tour through central holidays instead. It gives us much more freedom, but also drives us and takes us to/from airports and train stations. We followed the same path as the tours you mentioned- start in venice, to florence, to rome end in positano, but now we are taking the train instead of being stuck with a tour and have more time for what we want. i'm so happy it's what we settled on.

good luck!
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 04:04 AM
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Planning your own trip is very rewarding, and you should have no problems getting around Italy even if you speak only english. And trip planning is so addicting, especially when there is so much information on forums such as this one. We spent 10 days in Italy last year and had no problems getting around.

Having said that, there are people who much prefer tours because all the details are taken care of. If you do decide to pick a tour, pick one which takes you to fewer places with more time in each place so you're not rushing around and one which offers you more flexibility.
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 04:24 AM
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Hi B,

>DH is not comfortable getting around on his own b/c neither of us have ever been to Italy and neither of us speak Italian. <

Don't worry about that. Almost all of us, at one time, had the same problem. Most of us still don't speak Italian. Fortunately, Italians are usually helpful and many speak English.

I strongly recommend against any tour that has you setting your luggage out at 07:00 in order to get on the bus to be in another town the next day. (See the movie "If it's Tuesday, it Must be Belgium")

12 days is just right for flying into Venice, taking the train to Florence, taking the train to Rome and flying home from Rome.

See www.kayak.com for airfare.

See www.trenitalia.com for train schedules, prices and tickets.

The weather on Capri in March will be iffy. It's possible that the seas will be too rough for the ferries.

Plan your trip yourself. Save money and enjoy it more.

Don't worry that you won't see everything in one trip. You will go back.

For help in planning, see
Helpful Information: Italy 2
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34568596

Enjoy your planning and your visit.

ira is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2006, 08:29 AM
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"Plan your trip yourself. Save money and enjoy it more."

Maybe, or maybe not. Actually, many tours, possibly the majority, will save you money over doing it on your own, when all is said, comparing apples to apples. Most especially the past year with the dollar so incredibly weak. That is precisely why tour bookings to Europe are going off the charts!

As for enjoying it more, that's very open to interpretation, isnt it? I know more than a few people who have done both, and many enjoy the tour more.

Keep in mind, this board is not indicative of the majority of travelers, who in fact choose packages and tours over planning your own in overwhelming numbers. That is not a comment on this board, (which I think is terrific,) or planning on your own (which I do exclusively)

"Don't worry that you won't see everything in one trip. You will go back."

Maybe, or maybe not. For some this might literally be the trip of a lifetime and they might not get back to Europe. Everybody's story is different
mulifat is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 07:12 AM
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I personally do not like tours. You are on their schedule and their choice of dining. You see so much you really don't see anything. Rome itself can take 5-7 days, and tours stay there 1-2 days.

Planning your own trip is better. May or may not be cheaper, but you can set your own pace.

Once you get there, there are tours available of many areas. These are also more expensive than going your own, but you do get to visit with others.

No matter what you decide, go to have fun and enjoy yourself.
JSLee is offline  
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