europe january tour

Oct 18th, 2012, 09:45 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,889
One of the most odious to me of the hidden charges of group trips is the seemingly mandatory tip you are very pressured into thinking you must give the tour guide or guides - the person escorting the bus and telling about things, etc.

Apparently these folks may not get any pay from the tour company but depend on tour members for their income - kind of like wait people in American restaurants - whilst I feel sorry for the tour guide I think this should be part of the tour price and not a surprise at the end of the trip - fine print may say something about gratuities but they rarely say you are 100% expected to tip the tour guide(s).
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 18th, 2012, 03:58 PM
  #22  
 
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Tipping on a tour is the same as tipping on a cruise. Usually the cruise line tells you what the tipping standards are.

And while it would be nice if tour guides were better paid - they're not. So if nobody tipped, the price of the tour would go up to give them a better salary. You pay either way. This gives you the option of tipping more or less depending on how well you think the guide met your needs.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2012, 10:19 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Im Yhoj gal. I already made an account here in fodors. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL YOUR REPLIES it will help me with our decision making. I'm from San Jose CA. and my parents don't really mind being in the cold place but I am just realy worried about the tours. I don;t know anything about the tours and my parents wants to go somewhere by january before they will go home in our homeland. I checked this globus tours and i found this 2 tours

http://www.globusjourneys.com/Product.aspx?trip=3LH

http://www.globusjourneys.com/Product.aspx?trip=3LJ

I've checked some of the tours that only stick to one city because most of your advises is to be in just one city rather than going to diffrent city and we'll spend just in the bus or coach most of the time! IF YOU CAN PLEASE HELP ME CHOOSE WHICH ONE IS BETTER. IF THE FIRST LINK OR THE SECOND LINK!
Nobody can help me because most of the people I know haven't been to europe and never tried the tours yet. I APPRECIATE ALL YOUR COMMENTS! AGAIN THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR TIME AND IF YOU CAN HELP ME AGAIN...
charm31 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2012, 10:32 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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or if you have any suggestions of places that are nice to visit on january. It would be helpful. I've been spending almost a week looking for nice tours and especialy reviews from the tours company.
charm31 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 02:46 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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As a travel agent who plans many trips to Europe for clients, groups and myself, I recommend you look at Monograms, a division of Globus. They take care of the train tickets, transfers, hotels (located in the center), an introductory walking tour in all the cities and have a host at the hotel to answer questions and assist with whatever you need. It is a nice balance between a planned your and an independent DIY trip.

The most popular Italy itinerary is Venice, Florence and Rome and I receive consistently excellent feedback on this tour:
http://monograms.com/booking/monogra...aspx?trip=3DIQ

There are no buses involved and the tour takes cares of the details but provides lots of free time. No bus rides, mediocre meals or out of the way hotels and ten quality is consistently good.

As for tipping tour guides, I personally do not find as big a deal as others make it out to be. A Euro or 2 per person for a 2-3 hour tour hardly breaks the bank and adds about 10E per person to the trip. Hardly a hardship.

Good luck with your decision.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 06:20 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
With 1 week you could have a great time in any major city, here are three examples:

London - there are lots of free museums, shopping, churches etc that can be seen in the rain and it doesnt usually rain all day. Added bonus of the language being English so it shoud be easy to manage.

Paris - beautiful even in the grey rain, and also lots of museums and cafes to drop into if it rains

Rome - likley to be a bit more temperate. We were there for a week over NYE last year and while we wore jackets we could still sit outside. Of course it could be colder...no one can say.

You dont need a tour to see these places. Get a good guide book and start reading threads here and trip reports about the place you have chosen. You can do a search above for hotels and restaurants, and start a new thread to ask your specific questions.

You can plan your own days which will allow you to pick and choose what you see, and also how much time you spend at each place. You can organise your own tours of particular things that you enjoy and we can help with that. You can even plan day trips out of the city for a change of pace and we can help with that too once you tell us which place you are interested in.

I can give you a start on London if you select that:
www.londontown.com great website for things to do and also
www.walks.com great website for walking tours and day trips
www.daysoutguide.com info on 2for1 deals and good suggestions about things to do
http://www.hrp.org.uk/ info on historic royal palaces

We can help with other cities as well but I highly recommend gettnig a good guide book like Michelin Green Guides.

I hope this helps! Planning a trip to 1 or 2 places is not as complicated as it may seem and could be very rewarding!
jamikins is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 08:04 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Of your 2 links, I'd go for the first tour. The second has too many stops in such a short time. Or, better, take kfusto's suggestion of Monograms. That's a good compromise between a guided tour and totally independent travel.

In any case, you should do some research about the sights to see at your destinations, maybe read up on the history a little bit. The more you know, the more you get out of a trip.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 08:53 AM
  #28  
 
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Charms - what mimar said.

of the 3 hotels the 1st tour uses, the ones on Rome and Florence are not exactly in the centre of where you will want to be, which may be a problem for your parents.

in your position, I might be tempted just to pick London and Paris, [or Paris and Rome] book decent hotels in the centre of each, and reckon on using taxis a lot to get about.
annhig is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 11:42 AM
  #29  
 
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IMHO the first Globus Tour is a much better choice since you aren't spending all of your time sitting on a bus. You still MAY get very cold weather - but the lowest temps and snow are much rarer in these Italian cities than north of the Alps. (Although you should still expect temps it he 40s and very chilly rain - much colder than where you live now.)

If you feel comfortable on your own you could easily do a similar trip to Italy yourselves by train - and take a couple of days longer to be able to see more. Or - if cold/snow really isn't an issue you could do London an Paris for 10 or aa days - with the Eurostar train in between.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 01:14 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,898
Sometimes you get what you pay for,, and if something is alot cheaper there is usually a reason why. Rick Steves tours are not cheap, but they do not nickel and dime you on the tour and they have a no tipping policy, which they mean.

Tours can be tiring, my ex mother in law found the Globus Italy tour she took a few years ago quite exhausting, and she was only 68 and in great shape, but too much moving around, and hotels were never really centrally located.
justineparis is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 01:26 PM
  #31  
 
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As someone who has often traveled with my parents over the years, I understand the appeal of not having all of the responsibility a fully independent trip requires.

The OP stated in her first post that it will be their first time really traveling together and hence the burden will be on the OP; this is not always easy and especially for one person and two parents. Been there and done that and still take my 82 year old mother to Europe every couple of years, but not by myself as it is just too much.

That being said, I would never subject myself to a bus tour, hence my recommendation for Monograms. It is a good compromise and uses trains and private transfers with all of the details taken care of while still offering a lot of independence.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 19th, 2012, 03:15 PM
  #32  
 
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I didn't look at prices and was not familiar with Monogram, suggested by Kfusto. However, if you decide a tour is best, the Monogram tour looks best to me. It stays longer in cities that have a lot to offer plus (a very big plus, IMHO), it uses trains rather than buses from Rome to Florence and Florence to Venice. They are fast and comfortable, saving travel time and giving you more sight-seeing time. I would like it more if it started in Venice and ended in Rome. At least it doesn't seem to have a terribly early departure from Venice.

Both Globus tours have "buying opportunities" and options that are just a way to get more money, and they use up time that could be spent seeing wonderful art and architecture, or even just sitting in a cafe observing local life and soaking up culture. Of course, selling and hawking goods is also part of a culture - personal choice. Both use buses. The second one makes entirely too many "photo op" stops, so more time riding a bus to see less.

Skip all optional tours and "buying opportunities." You can do any of these on your own for less money and probably use less time to do them - such as the tour of Rome sights like Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps. Anybody with a good map can walk these on your own for free. Even if you use a taxi or subway to get there, it won't cost much.

If Pisa is a must see (With such a short trip, it wouldn't be for me), it is a quick trip by train from Florence if you are staying there and have a free afternoon. It can be tortuous by tour bus if you happen to run into traffic. Unfortunately, I know from personal experience.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 02:35 AM
  #33  
 
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sassafras, it is also available Venice to Rome.

I agreed about the buying opportunities on bus tours and they have a captive audience - a waste of time. I also agree with skipping all of the optionals and seeking out experiences on your own.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 09:29 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3
thanks guys for all the replies. I talked to my dad and asked him if we can do the inependent travel but he insist. I think he's scared since it's ourfirst time and we dnt know anything in europe and also were not flunt to speak in english so he really wanted to go with tour and doesn't want to explore independently. So i found one that i think it's much better becuase we are ruding in trains. Please suggest and comments.

http://www.globusjourneys.com/Produc...ntent=overview

AGAIN, Thank you for all the wonderful comments. For my next trip without my parents if that will happen I will consider the monogram. I learned a lot with all your suggestions! THANK YOUsO MUCH! I hope you can help with me with this decision.
charm31 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 09:57 AM
  #35  
 
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Charm31: "So i found one that i think it's much better becuase we are ruding in trains."

No - you are not riding on trains. The ONLY train is the Eurostar between Paris and London. All the rest of the tour is by motor coach (buses).

Plus the ONLY included 'inside' visits are the Vatican, the Coliseum/Forum, the Accademia, up the Eiffel Tower and St Paul's Cathedral. Only five actual 'sites' visited. Everything else included are walking tours (no admissions), bus tours (no stopping), or commercial/shopping.

You will be paying almost $8000 PLUS airfare PLUS additional meals PLUS opptional excursions PLUS personal expenses. So you are looking at nearly $15,000 for 9 full and 2 half days on the ground!!!!

This would be awful IMO.
janisj is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 11:39 AM
  #36  
 
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If your father insists on a tour - then I guess you have no choice. But if their English isn't that good how are they going to cpe with everything the guide says - either on the bus - or the guids say in the sights you visit.

I would think limited English is a strong reason to set up your own trip so yuo're seeing what you want - and can have the necessary guide books that they are more comfortable with.

The more that you do individually the more info that you can provide to them - assuming yuo are willing to be tour guide. Or - you might be better setting up private tours in just 2 or 3 cities - given by a guide that can speak whatever language they are more comfortable with.

On a group tour the guides are unlikely to want to do a lot of repetitions for people who don;t understand everything the first time through - of you constantly translating for them if necessary. Also, if it turns out the tour is too active for them - the guide can;t make any rearrangements. They may be stuck just waiting in a bus if an activity is too fast-paced for them - the whole group can't wait for people to catch up.

The more you tell us the more independent travel - with local support as necessary - makes sense.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 11:41 AM
  #37  
 
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The Monograms package is a tour, using trains, and not on a bus. Did you read the details?
kfusto is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 01:43 PM
  #38  
 
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Charm31, Please take this as it is intened to be - helpful. This Globus tour is perhaps even worse than the first ones. It is almost entirely by bus. There are very few great sights included. Here is what it comes down to.

Day 1: Travel and dinner (no real sightseeing)

Day 2: Rome (one day of sightseeing - very rushed - hope they at least see the Sistine chapel and ancient Rome)

Day 3: 1/2 day travel (1/2 day sightseeing in Florence - pitiful amount of time in this great city)

Day 4: more than a 1/2 day travel (less than a 1/2 day of sight seeing in Venice - one of the world's treasures and they get half a day - too sad to think about it)

Day 5: Travel - very little real sight seeing

Day 6: Lucerne (One day basically walking around) It will be very cold.

Day 7: Travel

Day 8: Paris (one day of sight seeing)

Day 9: 1/2 day travel (1/2 day sight seeing)

Day 10: London (one day of sight seeing)

You have 4&1/2 total days of actually sightseeing, one day of walking around (sightseeing?) and 4&1/2 days of travel - all by bus except for the Paris to London bit.

First, it is criminal to go to Florence or Venice for only 1/2 day! I can't say that strongly enough. If you can not find a tour that gives each a complete full day, then don't do that tour.

If you get a good map of Europe and look at how far you will be traveling each day, you can gage how much time you will spend on the bus.

Was Switzerland even on their priority list?

Seriously, seriously, please consider doing Rome, Florence, Venice or London & Paris, and give up this horrible, bus ride from London to Rome. It really is not a good idea. This is meant in the kindest way in the hope your parents have a wonderful trip and actually see beautiful things of importance rather than enduring days in a bus.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 03:10 PM
  #39  
 
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Posts: 52,309
charm - have you shown your dad this thread?

for the cost of that awful tour, you could have really super hotels wherever you go, lovely food, private guides.
annhig is offline  
Oct 20th, 2012, 03:26 PM
  #40  
 
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Have a look at these tours. They give you maximum time in each place with minimum travel time. They use high-speed trains and planes for long distance legs of trip. They give you 2&1/2 days in each major city. They are independent, rather than a big group, but have everything (including some tours) planned, for you. They are listed as Globus Independent tours offered with Affordable Tours.

Venice, Florence & Rome, code DIQ3
This is almost exactly like the Monogram tour suggested by kfusto. Uses high-speed trains. This gives a good variety in one country.

Rome, Paris & London, code DRR3
Air from Rome to Paris, ES Paris to London
If they really want a taste of three big cities in three countries, this works.

London, Paris & Amsterdam, code DRE3
Another nice variety of cities, using High speed trains.
Amsterdam may be pretty cold.

These are ideas for you to see the kinds of tours that offer more sightseeing.

Look for: 3 places (cities) max, 2 full days in any major cities, 1 full day in smaller cities, no one night stops, fast trains or planes for longer legs of trip, no all day travel in buses. Hope this helps.
Sassafrass is offline  

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