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Gate 1 9 day Enchanted Italy

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Dec 12th, 2013, 11:44 AM
  #1
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Gate 1 9 day Enchanted Italy

We are thinking of taking this trip with Gate 1. We have never been to Europe and this seems like a nice itinerary. Any comments, good or bad? I do not know anyone who has traveled with Gate 1.
Lovestripletees is offline  
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Dec 12th, 2013, 12:07 PM
  #2
 
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In my opinion, it's too much in too short a time. You would have only 7 nights in Italy, which is only six full days. Two of those six days will be almost entirely spent on a bus.

Read very carefully the detailed itinerary. When you see that you will "view" something, it means you'll see it from the outside, but won't go in. Often it means you'll see it from the bus. For instance, it says you'll go to Assisi, where the famous Basilica of Saint Francis is. It doesn't say you'll go inside, and, really, there's not much point in going there without going inside. In this case, they really don't even say you'll "view" the Basilica. Maybe you'll just drive past the city.
bvlenci is offline  
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Dec 13th, 2013, 06:00 AM
  #3
 
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Most people here are not fans of tours and for good reason. To be fair, that tour gives you seven nights and seven full days (but certainly not nine). But there is absolutely nothing included that even someone who has never traveled anywhere can't do on their own.

Transportation between Venice, Florence and Rome is incredibly easy by train. There are places that are more complicated to get to by public transportation and in those cases a tour could make sense but not this itinerary. If you book it in advance (which you are going to have to do with a tour) the trains can be as low as 19€ per person. That's less than 100€ ($130) for your ground transportation.

It looks like this tour might include four admissions to museums/sites - about another 100€. Anything else you'd want to see would be extra. They give you what looks like a walking intro tour to each of the three cities. If you really want a walking tour you can get those on your own easily enough. I never bother, much preferring to explore on my own, but lots of people like them, they are usually 20-30€.

All the hotels can be booked on booking.com Go to the site and plug in the hotel names and you'll see the prices (about 150-170€ for a double in high season). They don't look horrible (some tour companies put you in hotels far from the city centers, this doesn't seem to be the case here) but they look kind of overpriced.

If you add it all up I have to say they are not horribly overcharging you like some tour companies do. They are not saving you anything. You could do a lovely trip on your own for the same or less. You've already found Fodors so you can easily find and book a trip like this. We can help you with hotel and train booking sites, sites to research destinations, and book walking tours, etc if you choose to do those. Planning is half the fun of travel but if you really want to just let someone else do it for you, Gate 1 tours don't look that bad.
isabel is offline  
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Dec 13th, 2013, 08:21 AM
  #4
 
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Here's the question: why can't you take the itinerary and do this on your own (skipping the Assisi drive-by) and add a night or two in each place so you have more time to explore?
BigRuss is offline  
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #5
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Thank you all for your replies. I should have provided more info. I have an extremely stressful job and I do not feel that I have the time to properly plan a trip to a Country that I have never been to. In addition, we are taking my 80 year old mother and I thought a tour would be a better option for her. Thoughts?
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:27 AM
  #6
 
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Many tours require early morning departures (in order to cover as much ground in a short period of time). This could work if your mother is an early riser. The pace of a tour would have been too much for my mother at 80.

Perhaps you can plan a more leisurely trip without all the logistics of traveling to several cities. It might be more relaxing for you and your mother.

When I worked in a stressful job, my therapy was researching a trip in the evening!! I realize that might not be calming for everyone but it sort of put me in a fantasy world for a bit....and was quite productive.

When did you plan to take this trip?
Judy is offline  
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:54 AM
  #7
 
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Tours can be very difficult for elders - especially if they are not quite mobile and don't have fairly high energy levels. They require early starts (luggage outside door at 7 am), long days on a bus - and often the bus parking lot is not near the site. This may require a 15 minutes brisk walk to the site, trek around and then another brisk walk back.

If your mom cannot keep up then she will be left on the bus while others saw the sights - or parked in a cafe by the bus lot. (I have seen this happen on a day bus tour. A middle age couple with an elderly dad had to take turns missing things so one could stay with him in the bus. He could walk - but not fast and definitely not quickly 8 or 10 blocks, esp if partly uphill.)

With someone older who may have limited energy you are much better off making your own arrangemtns - working to the timetable of her stamina and enjoyment.
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:55 AM
  #8
 
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If you want to take a tour, there are tour companies out there that offer "at leisure" type tours; offering hotels, transportation and guide services but more time on your own to explore each location. You might want to research those. Trafalgar or Globus would be a good place to start.
azzure is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2014, 09:25 AM
  #9
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Hi All,
I am back from our Gate 1 tour and it was terrific, and a great value. It was hectic, as you said it would be, but I thought it was a great overview of a beautiful country. My Mom did stay behind on one or two outings, but she was happy just to be in Italy.
We are already planning our return, but it will be on our own and definitely for at least 2 weeks. Thank you again for your help!
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Jul 21st, 2014, 09:44 AM
  #10
 
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We took a Gate 1 Danube River cruise last year and really were impressed with the company. There were a number of people on the cruise who had done Gate 1 land tours and had a lot of positive things to say as well.

Glad you had a good time. Tours aren't for everyone, but I agree that there are times when they make sense.
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