Cancelled tour

May 19th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
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Cancelled tour

WMy husband and I were booked on a 21 day tour of Europe in July (our honeymoon after 35 years of marriage and five children later!) but it was recently cancelled due to lack of numbers. The travel agent is searching for a similar tour - do we take it or tour on our own. It seems from other posts that the cost of a car with fuel is expensive
HonHun is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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Sounds like you probably dodged a bullet. Please do yourself a favor and tour on your own. And start by skipping Monaco unless you want to pop in for a half day just to see all the glitz. If this is your first trip to Europe, Monaco doesn't deserve a place on the list.

Renting a car in Europe isn't all that expensive IME. But you also have a plethora of train options, particularly if you want to stick to major cities. There are also really cheap intra-country, intra-city flights.

How much were you going to pay for this tour anyway? I'm guessing Fodors can help you plan a better trip for less money.
StCirq is online now  
May 19th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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I agree with StCirq. It is fun to go it alone and probably les expensive. I planned a 16 day Italy/Germany trip (first time trip) with the help of Fodors community. Everyone gave me detailed information and we knew what we were doing when we got there!
Cindywho is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 04:47 PM
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A 21 day tour would be far more costly than some gasoline! I xwould also rethink seeing 3 countries in 3 weeks. It's a lot of moving around.

If you post a tentative itinerary people can help you create a wonderful vacation.
adrienne is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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Your travel agent is searching for "off the shelf" package tours, which is an easy sale for her that is commissionable.

To offer another point of view. Traveling on your own is fun for a lot travelers, and Fodors is the perfect resource for them. Others frankly don't enjoy doing it all themselves, preferring the convenience and economy of an escorted tour with a group. (Yes, economy, because the cost of transportation and tour guides is split among the entire group). Do you want to do the research, construct your itinerary, figuring out transportation, evaluate a dozen different hotels in each city, determine what to see when there, and visit those attractions on your own without the expertise of an experienced guide?

Instead of just searching for another package tour (which you can frankly do just as easily for yourself - look at, for example), you can put together a "modular" tour, an "escorted" tour in each city you go to. All you have to do is get from Place A to Place B, Place B to Place C, etc., and your travel agent can figure out trains or flights for you.
travelhorizons is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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I would agree that if your tour was cancelled, you likely dogdged a bullet. As for costs that depends a lot on the tour you were going to take. Tours have advantages, particularly for first time European travelers; someone else planning and arranging tours,hotels and transportation arranged as well. BUT! The experience you have depends totally on the tour you take and how well you and your husband get along with groups on the whole. Do you like meeting new people? Comprimising? Will (often) waiting for others bother you? And finally what about kickbacks for the tour guide? On many tours you may find yourself at the "BEST CLOCK MAKTER EVER!" for an hour and half in the middle of nowhere because the tour company has a deal with the shop. This is not true of all tours.

Traveling on your own can be a wonderful trip of discovery and planned well it will give you and your husband a relaxing tour based entirely on your wants and desires and this forum is one of the best places I know of to look for help! Give us your budget and places you want to go. Pay attention if many posts suggest the same thing, particularly if that "thing" is to limit some of your stops. Many of us are fortunate to travel frequently and we can save you some headaches by sharing with you our experience. Oh and...if you don't want to drive (though it's loads of fun), the train and/or flights are easy to schedule.
chevre is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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I also agree.

I was in Carcasonne several years ago, eating at a local restaurant.

I watched a tour group march in, eat their dinner and march out as a group.

The last one to leave was the tour guide, who patiently waited for his kickback in cash. I was about 15 ft. away.

As my mother often goes on tours, she usually says "we saw everything, sort of".
Rastaguytoday is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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Another vote for doing it on your own. Been to Europe 9 times and all planned out with guide books and Fodors. Never a problem. Rented cars in France, Germany and Belgium and visited many little villages which were delightful.

Travelhorizons and Chevre gave good advice
John is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 09:53 PM
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Do it on your own. After 35 years and 5 kids you deserve being together and enjoying an adventure. Can't imagine being on a tour and having someone else in control. Decide where you want to go and as many before you, it will get planned. Planning trips on Fodors is almost as much fun as the travel. Almost
returntoyourseat is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 12:08 AM
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mee agree too... I have often travelled - with a small child - with NO reservations! something really cool will pop up. Once in France - I am still shocked ten years later - a "B&B" in a house with a family - they invited eight people and cooked a huge lunch for us that was not part of my payment plan, just because...? I am still really not sure why. Now don't go expecting THAT - expect NOTHING and you will be rewarded infinitely. I once rode a bike to a taverna on Crete and put my hands together next to my head and tilted it, closed my eyes to signify I needed a place to sleep. Being a woman, I guess I was quite strange, and the lady LOCKED me in a room for the night. I went back to visit her with my mom more than ten years later, and she remembered me! Things will work out, most people are really nice inside, although you absolutely do need to be aware of your surroundings, money and passport at all times. Don't bring too many clothes or expensive jewelry - a heavy valuable suitcase is an albatross... yes totally agree with returntoyourseat and others above. GO FOR IT!
windscape is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 03:38 AM
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Hi HH,

If you tell us what the tour was, we can help you do something like it on your own at less cost and with more freedom to do it your own way.

A car might not be the best thing for you.

ira is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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"We" of Fodor's fame may vote to tell these folks to do it on their own, but that really might not be the best advice. I would be interested to know how much the tour was. And then I might look for a reliable tour company to fit their budget. Being able to travel on your own takes a certain amount of boldness. AND sometimes, just being "taken care of" and shepherded is a choice.
But Ira has also said "we can help you", and that is true. But we need to know the budget and time of year you are going.
Gretchen is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 04:39 AM
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I've always been an independent traveler, and wouldn't ever consider one of those tours for myself. And first-time, inexperienced travelers can get a wealth of information in this forum.

But not all people fit the same profile, and some travelers just prefer a formula where someone else decides which sites to see, which hotels to stay at, which restaurants to eat at. In my experience running a small travel agency, many/most of the people who choose the tours would have been fish out of water traveling independently. Sure, they could have done it, but their idea of a vacation is often just sitting back and watching as things pass by.
DonTopaz is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 05:40 AM
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You could do a wonderful Netherlands/Belgium/France trip by train and not have to drive at all. Fly into AMS and home from Paris. A creative Travel Agent might even figure out how to incorporate a cool river cruise into the adventure that lets you finish up with a week in Paris at a lovely apartment where you can pretend you're expats.
uhoh_busted is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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Just a little nit pick--not watching things pass by but also possibly soaking them up.
I've done tours with civic groups that opened doors I couldn't get myself. I've done a college tour that introduced me to Europe as I could never have done, particularly at the time.
It doesn't HAVE to be one size, and sometimes circumstances say "tour". It also locks in most of the financial obligations which can be very comforting, particularly to someone not familiar with all the possibilities. Getting "out of kilter" on your own can sometimes get to be an expensive thing.
Gretchen is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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Look at the Rick STeves tours, they are fun, not huge( they limit numbers to 24-26 people) and they stay in central small hotels ,, not chain hotels on outskirts like alot of tours do ( since they have up to 50 people on them!) . They stay minimum 2 nights in each city, you always get free time. And, they do not cater to lazy need luxury people, so that elimantes old farts .. there are people who are older, but they are fun and lively types. Go on the website, look at the tours, click on the tour scrapbooks( these are compiled by those who have been on the tours, so you will see actual photos of the groups , hotels etc) ..

I have always travelled independently, and also travelled solo , I have only taken one tour in my life, it was a 14 day Family Tour( meant for those with kids) and it was great,, really well run.

Also, Rick Steves has a NEW tour called "On your Own" or something to that effect, its probaly a great idea for you as you are provided and escorted on the actual transport ,, and hotels are booked and breakie included, BUT you are not on an actual tour,, you do all your own sightseeeing, but no worries about booking train tickets or hotels.
justineparis is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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>... you do all your own sightseeeing, but no worries about booking train tickets or hotels.<

It seems to me that, with today's internet, booking train tickets and hotels is much the easiest part.

Why pay to have someone do that for you?

ira is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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I was actually going to mention Rick Steves tours myself but he's a polorizing topic here and I didn't want to go there, but!, here I am. I travel solo on my own all the time. I have also taken 3 Rick Steves tours, (Europe Through The Backdoor for the uninitiated). I must say I loved each of them. These are not tours where the guide is getting kickbacks or where you're stuck in some shop for 90 minutes. They are expensive; count on anywhere from 2,500 to 4,000 without airfare per person. BUT! all of your tours are included, a large portion of your dinners and lunches, (which by the way were never rushed) and all of your breakfasts. One of my fondest travel memories is being on one of these tours in Amboise France. It was my 40th birthday, we were all having a wonderful dinner in a garden and when my birthday was metnioned champagne arrived for all. It was a wonderful way to celebrate and I'll never forget it.

I actually travel independently now, if for no other reason than I can keep costs down. Ultimately you need to decide what works best for you, and in either case, help is here if you choose the independent route!
chevre is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Ira, it is easy for you to say this, and actually I did it for our family trip in 1984 WITHOUT the internet. BUT it is not a total anathema to do a tour and let them do the arranging.
I like the Rick Steves idea. Never done it. Have looked at it a long time ago.
I think there is also ABC tours who will do sort of what the clients want arranged. The internet HAS offered a lot of options, including tour arrangements that can be tailored.
Gretchen is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 03:31 PM
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WOW thanks guys for your thoughts. We have a lot to think about and discuss. I must say one of the reasons we went for tour was because in our lives and our jobs we are both usually the ones organising things and just wanted a break from that, thought a tour would do the job!
HonHun is offline  

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