Cosmos- European Jewels Tour

Jun 1st, 2004, 05:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Cosmos- European Jewels Tour

Hi everyone,

This is my first time on this site, and I must say, there is so much information available! Thank you all so much!

I will be leaving for my first trip to Europe on the 15th of June. I will be doing the 13 day European Jewels tour by Cosmos and will be travelling solo. I am a 24 year old female, and haven't travelled very much, especially not alone, so I thought a guided tour would be the best way to figure out what I want to explore in Europe in the future. I definitely realize that bus tours can be very structured, and I'm going to be seeing the "touristy" sites, but I have realistic expectations of what the tour will offer me.

My only concern is with the age groups that are on the Cosmos tour. I'm a very outgoing person, so I'm sure if there are people willing to accept me into their groups, I'll make friends and have a lot of fun. I'm also curious if any of you experienced travellers can give me tips on how to save space packing... where the best cities to splurge my budget on dining are.. etc. I'll be visiting London/ Amsterdam/ Germany- the Rhineland/ Munich/ Innsbruck/ Venice/ Florence/ Lake Lucerne/ & Finally Paris in that order... (I know... It's a lot in a short period of time...)

The tour will provide guides in the cities for me, but I'll have to decide soon on what optional tours I should purchase- Maybe I'll just venture on my own for these... When I get this info from the tour company, maybe some of you can help me decide.

Oh, and if there are any other Cosmos travellers out there, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks again!
Maureen
momcpherson is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 05:30 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'll tell you something..you made a wiser choice choosing Cosmos than by choosing their classier first class tours offered under the name Globus. You will find on most Cosmos tours people your age, many of them single. You will also find folks from other English speaking countries such as UK, Canada, Australia and perhaps South Africa. Globus first class tours usually consist of retired American couples with oodles of money to spend and few younger people.

Of course, understand this is a generalization and might not hold on every single tour but take it for what it's worth.

Cosmos tours are great values, usually. Of course every so often you get a dud for a tour director but that can happen with any tour.

But be aware for the most part you will not, in the big cities, be staying in the centre of town. I know that on their tours they usually use in Amsterday the Ibis hotel near the airport in the middle of nowhere. If you are adventuresome, and they will almost surely offer some kind of optional dinner in Amsterday for a lot of money, you can take the train from the airport into town and do some exploring on your own. This will generally be true in all the big cities. A good thing or a bad thing? That's a matter of personal opinion.

I know when I was a little younger, I used to enjoy Cosmos tours for the international crowd they usually brought in and it was a great way of making friends throughout the world.
xyz123 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 05:42 PM
  #3  
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Wow... Thank you so much for your post.. you've definitely put my mind at ease.. I will definitely take to heart your advice.

Thanks again!

Maureen
momcpherson is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:00 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Momcpherson - We will be doing a Cosmos tour for the first time in a couple of months. Would like to hear your thoughts about it on your return. If possible, let us know how you found the lodging at Lake Lucerne, Lugano, Venice Innsbruck and Munich. Enjoy your trip!
Lallie is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:49 PM
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Hi Maureen,

That's a pretty name.

Congrats on your first Euro trip! You ask re: saving space in packing. I assume you've already chosen your luggage. If not, let me know.

Off the top of my head (and I travel a LOT):
1. Jeans are versatile, but they're HEAVY. Pack one super-comfy pair that can be dressed up with a blazer and leave the rest at home. Substitute with Tencel and knit coordiantes that are wrinkle resistant. Also, I love those safari pants with the legs that zip off to make shorts. Older people think they're hideous. So shoot me.
2. Choose toiletries that serve multiple functions. For instance, Bumble+Bumble makes a conditioner that can also be used as a leave-in for extra texturized hair, as a spot-dressing on dry hair to cure fly-aways, and as a shaving lotion. Likewise, Biore facial wipes are a make-up remover and cleanser in one.
3. If you wear contact lenses, count on unusual discomfort when you are overseas and make sure you have a pair of rx glasses you think will look good enough to wear all the time.
4. Look for t-shirts and underthings that are designed for athletes and/or say "wick-dry"- these tend to be lightweight fabric that will not get you clammy and are easy to wash in your room, if you're saving on laundry bills. Plus, they're comfy and take up way less room in your luggage.
5. Zip-lock freezer baggies are your friends!!! Put your toiletries in these baggies (freezer baggies are made from heavier plastic and so are more reliable than regular baggies) to prevent spills that will RUIN your clothing. Seriously, if you ignore everything else i say here, at least use the freezer baggies for your toiletries!
6. Put your intimate apparel in regular baggies to prevent customs agents from pawing through your dainties (that happened to me in Korea - YUCK! I had to pay to have everything sent out for cleaning via the hotel).
7. Accessorize. A lovely scarf with the right make-up and some cute (but understated) jewellry will dress up a day outfit and take up way less room in your luggage than a whole other ensemble.
8. Get tonal. Pack a few items in coordinating neutrals (navy, beige, black, white) that can be mixed and matched to work together, as opposed to multiple stand-alone outfits.
9. Relax! If you forget something, you can probalby buy it once you get there.
10. HAVE FUN!

Also, ANYTHING that requires an rx (meds, glasses, contact lenses, etc.) MUST go on board with your carry-on items. You can buy new socks if your luggage gets lost, but at least you'll have your essentials with you!
JetLag is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 04:31 AM
  #6  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I have travelled w/Cosmos several times and really enjoyed it. It is a great way to see the world on a budget and to meet new friends from around the world. Xyz is correct that you will not always be in the center of town, but usually it's a short bus or train ride into the city. The hotels are usually 3 star quality. 3 star in Europe is sometimes very nice and sometimes not, but so what, you'll hardly spend any time in the room.

Cosmos appeals to many people your age. On my tours, there have always been mostly Austrailians and New Zealanders and not so many Americans, but that's great!! I meet Americans every day at home and it's a rare treat to meet the fine folks from down under. You'll have a blast!!
P_M is online now  
Jun 9th, 2004, 05:12 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 28,738
I went on one Cosmos tour when I was younger (part of a family trip/college graduation gift). It sounds similar to yours - it was a 13 day tour that took us to God knows how many countries. Not my preferred style of traveling but it did allow me to get a preview of some places that I want to (or have) gone back to. So for that it was good. Also, it gave us many humorous stories that we still talk about.

I can't say that this is typical but the group that we were with varied in age from 20s to 60s, mostly couples and a few singles. There were people from all over - England, New Zealand, Canada, Fiji, and a substantial number from India. There were only a few other people from the US. Everyone was friendly and it was interesting to travel with people from different cultures.

My experience as far as hotels was similar to other posts - do not expect the hotels to be in the city centers. This was a major drawback for me. The hotels themselves were adequate, just not in desireable locations.

It sounds like your expectations are realistic - it is very structured, you will be doing very touristy things and you will not really get a full sense of the places you visit. However, for a first time traveler to Europe, it is not a bad way to be introduced to a variety of cities, many of which you will want to return to later in life.
tom42 is online now  
Jun 10th, 2004, 10:41 AM
  #8  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Thank you all for your replies!

Lallie.. I will be sure to post back to let you know of the lodgings in the cities you requested... Please check back in early July and I'll let you know.

JetLag... Thank you so much for your useful packing tips. Freezer bags are a great idea!

P_M & Tom: your insight into Cosmos was also very useful! I'm so excited! Only 5 more days to go!

Happy travelling to everyone out there!

Maureen
momcpherson is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 04:11 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 101
Message - momcpherson
Did I miss your trip report? I have been checking off and on since first part of July. Hope everything went great for you. Just wondering what you thought of Cosmos and how you found the hotels to be.
Lallie is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 07:00 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'll only comment on saving space packing. Downsize all toiletries into tiny travel bottles and pack in ziplocks. Ahead of time, hang up all the clothes you think you want to take & really take a look at them, evaluate travel-worthy fabrics, and outfits you like best that you won't mind wearing many times. A few synthetic/knits that will rinse out well in a sink with hotel shampoo are always good. Don't skimp on shoes (not brand new, aim for comfortable yet stylish)... that can save or ruin a trip where a t-shirt more or less won't matter. Oops just realized this is an older post that got topped!
suze is online now  

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