europe january tour

Oct 15th, 2012, 12:47 AM
  #1  
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europe january tour

Me and my parents are planning to tour europe in the first week of jan. unti the second week. The places that we will visiting are london, lucerne,paris ,florence, rome and venice. Is it worth it to pay thousands of dollars to this tour. My parents are in they're 60-70's this will be they're first tour together. I was researching and some of it are nice reviews but some of them saying that it will be too cold and wet also because of the rain. Any suggestions please???
Yohj_Gal is offline  
Oct 15th, 2012, 01:33 AM
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A bigger problem than the weather is that you will be visiting too many places in a short time. And yes, it will be cold and probably wet on some of your days.
tarquin is offline  
Oct 15th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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It appears you are taking an organized tour. Exactly how many days is this tour? It seems like a lot of destinations but as long as the tour operator is responsible for getting you from one place to another, that will make it easier for your parents. Of course you can expect cold and wet weather during that time of the year so be prepared with appropriate warm clothing.

If possible, you might consider touring Europe at a more comfortable time of the year.
mamcalice is offline  
Oct 15th, 2012, 06:27 AM
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January in Europe can be cold and rainy yes. I am not sure where you are from, but you may want to check out the seasonal averages on a website like the weather channel. In January in Paris and London you will need a winter jacket, gloves, scarg etc. You may even get snow.

How long do you actually have, one week or two weeks?
jamikins is offline  
Oct 15th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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cold (-10C), short days, probably wet. Rushing about. If they are well cared for not a problem.
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 16th, 2012, 09:15 PM
  #6  
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yes it is from affordable tour. Our trip is from jan. 3 - 13.
Yohj_Gal is offline  
Oct 16th, 2012, 10:20 PM
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Six cities in eleven days? Well, you aren't going to have time to see much. You will be trapped on the bus most of the day, going from one city to the next.

January is likely to be cold and wet. The days will be short, with late sunrise and very early sunset.

I would hate this sort of trip and be completely exhausted by the time it was over. But some people actually seem to enjoy it. You said it was your parents' first tour together. Is it your first tour, too?

If your main goal is to see as many different places as possible, in a short time, a tour is an ok alternative. It gets you from one place to the next and you don't have to think or plan. But you are locked into the tour schedule.

I've never heard of "affordable tour", so I have no idea if they are good value or not.

You should research the tour hotels to see if they are decent and exactly where they are located. Staying in a hotel an hour's drive from the city centre would not be much fun.

Are the meals included? Usually the included tour meals are not the best. If the meals are not included, where is the bus stopping for lunch? Will you be forced to eat the hotel's dinners or will there be other restaurants close by?

Are there any excursions? Are they included in the price or can you choose to do your own? Some people who have gone on tours complain about being forced to go to expensive shops and listen to sales pitches during excursions. I've been lucky enough to avoid that horror on the tours I've gone on, so it's not something all tours do.

Is this your only chance to see Europe? If you are likely to return to Europe again soon I'd advise you to drop a few cities from the list and do them next time instead.
anyegr is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 05:32 AM
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I suspect this is the tour:

http://www.affordabletours.com/search/tours/52723/
ellenem is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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I suggest a tour that has fewer stops and more time to enjoy where you visit.

We have no problem visiting Europe in winter when crowds are fewer and prices lower and would absolutely choose that over summer months. Fall is our favorite but we also love the spend the Christmas holiday in Europe. Weather is fine as long as you are prepared it with proper clothing.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Ok. That's really nine days, not eleven.

Day 3: "See a host of sights". That probably means a quick walk past with an opportunity to take a few photos.

Day 4: "Drive past" means the bus is unlikely to stop. If you want to take a photo you'd better be quick AND sit in the right place on the bus. "an orientation drive" may sound nice, but will probably only make you confused, especially if you are doing it in the dark.

Day 5: "Drive along" to "view" also means the bus isn't likely to stop.

Day 6: "See the sprawling vineyards" and "passing the medieval castle" - the bus isn't stopping here, either.

Day 7: "Catch a glimpse of" well, I'm sure you can guess what that means.

Day 8: "Witness a Local Speciality glass-blowing demonstration" - yes, and listen to the nice sales pitch, too.

Day 9: "Shop for 18-carat gold jewellery and the finest Italian leather goods" Well, if you like shopping, that's fine, I guess.

Looks like eight evening meals/dinners are included. That can be good or bad, depending on the restaurants. But where does the bus stop for lunch?

A quick Google search shows that the Venice hotel lies outside Venice, with a 25 minute bus ride into the city if you want to go there on your own.

According to Google the Evergreen Laurel Hotel is located near Paris in the quiet suburb of Levallois Perret. It's a 15 minute trip by metro into central Paris. Not too bad, I guess.

Well, I'm sure you can look up the rest of the hotels on your own.

By the way, the tour website says it's twin rooms. Will you be able to arrange for a third bed in your parents' room (keeping in mind it's likely to be a small room) or are you going to have to pay extra for a single room or will you have to share with a stranger?
anyegr is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 07:46 AM
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Yes, it will be cold and gray and possibly snowy or wet.

It sounds absolutely horrible to me - just sitting on a bus peering out the window for hours on end "getting a glimpse of" this and that, being pressured to buy stuff by touts, staying in hotels outside the main center of things, eating at terrible restaurants...

I would be miserable doing this, but that's not to say you would be. It depends on expectations. Mine are a lot higher than this, especially when I'm paying money for it. Frankly, even if I were completely clueless about traveling in a new place, I'd rather just pay the airfare, land, and let whatever happens, happen.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 07:46 AM
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Going on a tour has its disadvantages as Fodorites above pointed out, but for some, especially in case of erderly people, it has its own many advantages. My mother always joined a tour since she was in her late fifties up to early eighties - and has stopped joining tours for holidays just a few years ago due to a hip replacement operation she had to undergo.

She always liked the fact that she had everything planned out for her and organized, and that she always had the tour bus at their disposal everywhere they go,without the hassle of having to catch buses, trains, queue for tickets, etc - it does save you a lot of time - that is why they manage to visit so many countries and sites - and she even liked the fact that she toured around by bus a lot and visited many places and saw lovely mountain or country scenary along the way. She also was confident in knowing that if anything happened to her, she would have the support and help of the tour leader - you do get pampered, sometimes way too much. She even often used to have her baggage carried to the coach for her, by the leader or someone from the group. You end up feeling part of a large family. I only went once with her - it is true that you have to go wherever they take you, and eat in restaurants that they book - but you do have some time for leisure, and being in my late teens at the time, I did enjoy the fact that the tour leader used to take us the younger ones by coach to night clubs and discos very late in the evening after the dinner outing. My mum also liked the fact that she was with a group, and made so many new friends throughout the years. It is not my cup of tea now, but I must say that I had enjoyed that guided tour.


Of course, there are tours that more hectic than others - that try to fit more in. Sometimes they do overnight stops on their routes, but you still manage to have a glimpse of that particular place as usually they include at least a sight-seeing tour in each stop. Again,now it is not my way of travelling with my own family as we always rent car to tour around at our own leisure, but if that is what your mother prefers, or maybe if she has some mobility issues, or you want to just have everything taken care of, then a tour is a sure option.

Weatherwise, January is not the best of months to go on holiday in Europe. Paris and London can be extremely cold. I did visit my uncle and aunt once in London in January, and it had been snowing and the road was icy and slippery. As a family we did go to Italy various times, and visit Rome, Florence and Venice area end of December, and it was not so bad, in fact the three times we went in December it never rained or snowed - even so you still have to wear warm clothing, especially in the evenings when temperature drops, but we went and walked around everywhere, nothing at all that you can't endure. Hovever, a few weeks after we arrived back home on our last vacation in Italy last December there was a spell of very cold weather in Italy with snowfalls in many towns and cities where it hardly ever snows. So weather is unpredictable anywhere. But being with a tour and being driven around to destinations and sites helps for sure. I wouldn't know about your parents - whether they have medical issues, or whether they are used to or hate colder weather, as I must stress again that you can never foretell whether it would be raining or snowing - especially in Paris and London - nobody can forcast that for you now for sure. But anyway, coaches would have special tyres, snow chains etc in the unlikely event of extreme weather.

Just make sure (as my mum always did) that you have bathroom ensuites with your rooms, and that the accomodation offered in the tour is good enough for you. I would also check on the credibility and professionalism of the tour operator and tour leaders, enquire what age group will be attending the tour, what meals and tours and entrances to sites are included in the price of the tour, and last but not least make some travel insurance (most tour operators request this anyway).

However, considering that you are taking your elderly parents with you (saying that sixties is not really elderly nowadays) I would certainly prefer to do my vacation in late Spring or Summer. However, it is all a matter of preferences and availability and budget - tours in Winter most probably would be much less costly since it would be low season for many hotels etc, so you would probably get a good bargain for your vacation.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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I can understand a tour for elderly people who don;t want to cope withtheir own luggage and don;t mind sitting on a bus for most of the day and seeing thing out the window.It also look like you will spend a lot of time shopping - whether you want to or not.

In tour language:

View - means see out the bus window as your drive by (if on the wrong side of the bus see nothing)

Stop means a 5-minute photo op out front

Only visit means you go inside and actually see something

I would be more concerned about the weather. Not sure where yuo are from - but if you are not prepared for sub-freezing weather, snow, sleet, ice, chilly rain and short gray days - this is not a great idea. No flowers, no leaves on trees - so everything will be dreary. And you may need to buy a new wardrobe for the weather if you live somewher that doesn;t have a true winter (heavy coats, hat, wool scarf, gloves, sweaters, warm pants for both sexes and waterproofed and non-skid walking shoes or boots.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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If the tour that ellenm found is the one you are considering, it is a very bad tour for the money. Days 4, 6 & 7 are almost all travel all day with little sightseeing. In winter, it will be dark when you arrive in the evening and likely not pleasant enough to be out doing much, especially by time you check into the hotel and eat dinner. You have basically a half day in Venice and a half day in Florence, with travel the other half of those days. So, being realistic, you are using up 3 whole days and two half days (four days total) of your time mostly just sitting on a bus.

That is a very poor return for your money, IMHO.

In your parent's case, it would be a better trip if they did two cities like London and Paris with EuroStar in between (so they don't waste the whole day on a bus) or one country like Italy and stayed in two or three places there, like Venice, Florence & Rome, and took the train in between. They would actually have much more sightseeing time.

I've been to Europe quite a few times. Were this my first trip, I would also wait for nicer weather and longer days.

I can't say it strongly enough - that is not a good tour! If you want a tour, pick an different one - with less bus time and more real sightseeing.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Strongly agree to consider:

1) Is this the right time of year for you?

2) Can you find a tour that gives you more sightseeing and less sitting on a bus (probably napping from exhaustion/boredom)
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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I would concentrate on Italy and perhaps southern France in January. Have been to Italy several Januarys and weather is kind of like California IME in winter though maybe not quite as warm.

If going by train to all those places mentioned then consider the Eurail Select Saverpass - for lots of great info on European trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

With older parents strongly conside first class on trains - lot more roomy seats - often lots of empty seats, more room for luggage, etc. - for the trip of a lifetime go first class - the Select Pass, valid in France, Switzerland and Italy in your case is only first class if over 25 - so when comparing regular fares - cheapest fares are 2nd class - consider that the pass is first class.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 17th, 2012, 03:01 PM
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"Going on a tour has its disadvantages as Fodorites above pointed out, but for some, especially in case of erderly people, it has its own many advantages."

"I can understand a tour for elderly people . . ."

yes -- some tours are fine, and yes -- tours can be great for older folks . . . But not THAT tour, and not at THAT time of year, and not for THAT much money.

It is a horrible itinerary and a huge waste of money IMO
janisj is online now  
Oct 17th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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Ditto
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Not all tours are bad. That one sounds bad. Too much rushing by , not enough visiting.
Also, january it the middle of winter in Europe, which in most places does mean cold and rain, and possibly snow in some places. If you are from a warm country you may not have the clothes you need to enjoy such a trip .

I would choose another tour. Perhaps one that focuses more in the south, ( it will still be cool, but perhaps a bit better weather then the northern destinations) And for only 10 days, I would only visit 3 places.

I also love Paris and suggest you could just go to Paris and London and take the Eurostar train between them. Yes, still cold, but these cities have many amazing sites to enjoy inside, museums, churches, shopping, opera and dining out on lovely food. For some seniors rushing about is very tiring.
justineparis is online now  
Oct 18th, 2012, 02:57 AM
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I think the main problem about this tour is that, amongst other stops, there are visits to three major capital cities in Europe including Rome, which is very far from the other two (maybe if they did Brussels instead that would have been another thing) in a very limited time - so naturally there are long journeys to reach Rome by coach. All these three capital cities have a lot to offer, and for sure they deserve at least a 3-night stop each. This tour needed to take 2 weeks the very least. I am not surprised, as many tours, (not all, but many) do this, also many Europeon tour operators from various countries - and try and fit a lot in - maybe to impress and lure people who have never been to these countries to do them all in one go - like to convince them the more the better and the more you see. But I do think there is a limit, and this tour operator IMO did go over the limit in choosing these major cities.

But then again, it is up to you - I do not know the price of the tour, or whether January is the only time you can go for a holiday and did not manage to find another tour for this month, or if you absolutely don't mind staying for so long in a coach. It is not my preference for sure, but everyone has his own tastes.

One advice - be careful that there are no hidden charges - many tour leaders make lots of profit this way - like optional tours or excursions, which would would be obliged (or at least need to take otherwise you will end up somewhere alone) optional dinners,optional sight-seeing tours, or so they transport you to some place in the evening, etc etc. They can come up to a hefty sum. Also bear in mind that every place you go, like for dinner, shows, etc - tour leaders often charge more than the actual price, to make profit. I clearly remember once when I had been on the tour with my mum, we had gone to some show or dinner somewhere, and the rate of prices were displayed at the entrance. We had paid to the tour leader a substantially higher amount, probably it was optional - and one of the tourists with us thought that we had paid too much and we had been ripped off and told him so. He had replied that they are tour operators who work for a profit, and not some non-profit charitable organization!! So, bottom line, they do try and make some money during every single minute of the tour. Of course, there are also many honest tour operators who do not try to rip you off at every opportunity, on the contrary. My mum usually stuck to the same three or four agencies and chose the tour that appealed to her most - she did this twice a year for so many years, always at Eastertime and Summer. Again, I do agree with the others that January is not the best of times, unless you are keen on seeing snow like in Switzerland. But it certainly not pleasurable to walk around and sightsee if it turns out to be very cold weather in London or Paris. Saying that, I have been to London for New Year's eve in 2004, it was very cold, but endurable. However, during that holiday we also drove around the south-west of England, basing ourselves in Taunton, and drove northwards to Weston-Super-Mare and close to the Welsh border, and even though it was not snowing, we hardly ventured out of our car it was so freezingly cold. It is ok is you are used to it and live there, but to go and walk around as a tourist is another matter. So after that, we always visited Italy in the Wintertime.

Anyway, good luck whatever you decide.
Anna_Galea is offline  

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