European group tour or no?

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Oct 26th, 2015, 10:48 AM
  #21
 
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'What a ridiculous and moronic statement consistent with the left-wing echo chamber that NYtrav lives in but completely divorced from reality.'

You write exwactly as NYCfoofSnob - you married to each other ?

Since you are talking about stats : coming from UNDP.org (look for the abbreviation if it doesnt' ring a bell' :

Homicide rate in the period 2008-2011 (per 100 000 inhabitnats) followed by population in prison (per 100 000 too)
US : 4,7 / 716
Canada : 1,5 / 118
Germany : 0,8 / 79
France : 1,2 / 98
Belgium : 1,8 / 108
Singapore : 0,3 / 230

Worse homicide rate than US : Baltic countries (Lith : 6,4, ESt : 4,8)Cuba 5, Argentinia 5;5 Russia is 9%.

Then in the not so well develpoed countries, you'll find death rates > 20 in Bahamas, Trinidad, Panama, Jamaica, St Lucia, Venezuela, mexico,

Worst countries are Honduras (92) and El Salvador
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Oct 26th, 2015, 11:51 AM
  #22
 
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BigRuss: I like your posts and generally (almost always actually) agree w/ you, but that one was nutso - meant in the nicest possible way of course.

>>I do think safety is a concern for two women traveling alone in a strange place where they may not speak the language or understand the customs. <<

vincenzo32951, you are kidding - right? What makes you think a naive/clueless woman is at any greater risk than a naive/clueless man? But since the OP doesn't sound naive OR clueless I wouldn't worry.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 03:10 PM
  #23
 
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What part of my statements are nutso? Cops in the US (including the ones I know locally) worry about knives more than guns in close quarters because they can effectively handle gun wielders (European cops cannot because they have little experience with them and European cops are not prepared for those encounters). Knives are like snakes that twist and slash easily. Go take any self-defense class dealing with such close-quarter fighting and your instructor, if he's worth anything, will tell you the same (best bet - Krav Maga because they'll teach you to disarm someone and incapacitate him quickly).

Claiming that people run around US cities shooting them up with AK47s is nutso. That's what NYTrav claimed and she's off her head in doing so.

The simple fact is that the US homicide rate has fallen dramatically in the past 20 years (indeed, as the incarceration rate has increased . . . ). You can debate that as much as you all want, but it is a simple fact. NYC alone has nearly 1800 FEWER homicides per year than it did under Mayor Dinkins in the early 90s (data through 2012, the rate has actually gone up recently thanks to DeBlasio but is still comparatively low). That has nothing to do with gun control (the Brady Bill was in the mid-80s), it's a question of policing.

The US homicide rate for non-black non-urban Americans is higher than Europe in general, but about 1/2 the level of the misleading stats pariswat posted above (and those are NOT percentages - Russian murder rates are not 9% and have not been since the 1930s). This is true. This is especially not good (or rather, fairly horrendous) for blacks, especially those who live in American cities, unfortunately, because the murder rate among black Americans is nearly 20 per 100,000 (which drives up the overall US rate; and before we go off on a different tangent, note that murderers and victims are usually of the same race).

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/b...ped-countries/

Travelers to the US don't normally go to the worst US cities (read: not Camden or Detroit).

All that said, any time you leave your bloody house you have some risk. In major European cities, the risk is primarily pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Major tourist areas are safe.

That said, I wouldn't walk around the council flats or banlieues that ring some of those old cities. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today...00/9772018.stm
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Oct 26th, 2015, 04:36 PM
  #24
 
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Getting back to the topic, how fun. DH and I are starting to plan our DD's graduation trip, though she decided sometime last year where she wants to go - Barcelona, then from there to the Dordogne area of France, and finishing in Paris.

Re safety, if one of the daughters goes to school in NYC, it's likely that she now has enough street smarts to be a very good travel companion. Your biggest problem might be that you are having such a good time that you forget to pay attention at times, or in areas, where you should be paying attention (i.e., getting on and off public transportation, deserted areas at night, etc.)

Get a bunch of travel videos from your local library, or netflix or Amazon, and get yourselves together to watch them. Also, before then, talk about what each of you wants from the trip, what you like to do and what you don't want to do. For example, museums or art, interests in particular eras of history, shopping, walking, lots of cafe time, no early starts, some time in rural areas, that sort of thing.

You might want to try to fit in some time for the younger women to do something by themselves, or the more mature women to do so. And keep in mind that the younger set will be of legal drinking age.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 05:25 PM
  #25
 
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I fail to see how the falling homicide rate in the US has anything to do with the MUCH lower rate in much of europe.

This is like when did you stop beating your wife!

Europe is much safer in terms of violent crime - and while areas with huge conglomerations of tourists do have a number of pickpockets - that might be enough to head you away from Las Ramblas in Barcelona - but not most places in most cities.

Obviously statistics can be twisted to show almost anything.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 05:38 PM
  #26
 
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We let our kids wander around Europe by themselves at 9, 6 and 3.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 07:33 PM
  #27
 
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Sorry.. a knife handler cannot be disarmed unless at arms reach.. a gun handler you can just shoot. as it is assumed you could just shoot them so therefore deadly force from a distance is permitted.

I suppose if American cops figure its ok to shoot a knife handler who is within a distance from them is ok.. then yes.. knives are better for them. Shoot first.. justify later why you used deadly force right away..
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Oct 26th, 2015, 07:34 PM
  #28
 
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Sorry.. a knife handler cannot be disarmed unless at arms reach.. a gun handler you can just shoot. as it is assumed you could just shoot them so therefore deadly force from a distance is permitted.

I suppose if American cops figure its ok to shoot a knife handler who is within a distance from them is ok.. then yes.. knives are better for them. Shoot first.. justify later why you used deadly force right away..
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Oct 26th, 2015, 08:36 PM
  #29
 
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I was once mugged in Paris by an old woman with a stale baguette.

We have friends who have never traveled and they have the same fear. It is very hard to overcome an irrational fear and coaxing will do little good.

While a tour afford some protection, it is not ironclad. And it certainly will not protect you from the local merchants with whom the tour agency has an agreement. It is simply another form of theft.

We have spent considerable time in all the places you want to visit except Greece. And my wife and her sister who was 74 at the time walked the 500 mile Camino across northern Spain on their own.

No one can assure another's safety anywhere. But if you have your wits about you, there should not be a problem.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 10:59 PM
  #30
 
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A very good point has been made about tours.. they do not guarantee your safety.The guide is not your bodyguard. And being a tour only makes you more attractive to pickpockketss in some way.. you stand out, you may be listening to your guide etc.
Also, you do get some free time.. would you spend that in your hotel room alone?
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Oct 26th, 2015, 11:13 PM
  #31
kja
 
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"My husband's concern is our safety... he has never been anywhere other than Canada and thought a group tour would be safer for us."

I have been fortunate to travel solo to MANY places in Europe and Asia, and the ONLY time I was concerned about my safety was the ONE time I was with others -- because I was attending to what THEY were saying, I forgot to think about the space immediately around me, until someone nearly grabbed my purse!

I see few merits and many disadvantages to going with a group, most of which have already been mentioned.

Enjoy!
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Oct 27th, 2015, 04:26 AM
  #32
 
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>>And being a tour only makes you more attractive to pickpockketss in some way.. you stand out, you may be listening to your guide etc.<<

LOL.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 06:16 AM
  #33
 
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Just got back last night from our self-planned three week trip in Sicily. During our travels we observed many different tour groups.

From our perspective these are the negatives to group tours:

The tour aims to address the most popular attractions, even if these aren't always the "best" things to see/do in an area.

A tour often stays in hotels on the outer fringes of an area (so the buses can drive in an area). This leaves you (the tour group person) stuck in a locale that might not offer easy/convenient access when you just want to walk around on your own.

You'll often be tagging behind that umbrella-carrying tour leader like a gaggle of geese without the possibility to take five or ten minutes to wander off to explore that intriguing little alleyway that just called to you.

A tour does not offer you the opportunity to linger at sites you enjoy or to avoid sites that do not call to you.

Do you really need a tour group leader to do things like wander around a colorful market?

There is probably very little flexibility or allowance for making changes on the fly. For example, if your tour group is in a locale for two days and the excursion for one day is better done on a good weather day, you will end up doing it on the bad weather day just because it was pre-scheduled that way. OTOH, if you are on your own, you just wake up in the morning and look at the weather and decide which of the two days will be better for what you want to do.

From our perspectives, these are the pluses to a tour:

There will be someone who knows the area and the route to deliver you from place to place, so you will not have to figure out bus & train schedules or how to drive in an unfamiliar area.

You probably won't get lost when in transit.

No one has mentioned costs: You can do things much cheaper on your own than on a tour group.

What might be fun for two moms and two daughters to do is to choose two places you want to locate, and get an apartment each place. That way you can all have your separation and your togetherness (and some breathing space). If you and the other mom want to get up earlier, you can go into the living room while the teens sleep in during the morning. Just doing things like going to the local market for snacks to take back can be as much (or more) fun than running around non-stop to all of the standard must-see sites.

Have fun whatever you choose.
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