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globus tours best of italy

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Jul 12th, 2009, 08:21 PM
  #1
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globus tours best of italy

Anyone out there do a Best of Italy tour with Globus? I am wondering if the excursions are worth it. Is anyone going on this tour?
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Jul 12th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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You'll find that most people on this board do not take tours; most travel independently. You can do a search for Globus and will get some reviews of their tours.

I took one Globus tour and would never take another one although I have taken tours with other companies. With Globus I found that the hotels were outside of towns so needed to take a taxi or long ride via public transportation in the evening, the food was not good at all, and the tour guide was not well informed.

Regarding optional tours - I would stay away from any options that involve meals.

I'm not sure how you will have time for any optional tours with only 1 day each in Rome and Venice. The only option I would consider would be Tivoli (without the dinner) and that only if you are not travel experienced enough to get yourself there on your own.

The hotels for Florence are an hour away in Montecatini; the hotels for Venice are outside the city in Mestre (15 minute train ride). So if you want to stroll around the cities at night you'll have to find your own way back to the hotel. Did you look at any of the particulars of this tour?

I would shop around for a better tour if you feel you can't do Italy on your own which is very easy to do.
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Jul 12th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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It's true, as mentioned above. Fodor's is mostly a forum for self-planning trips. Mostly we'll all try to talk you in to going on your own (unless there is some pressing reason you are unable to travel independently).
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Jul 13th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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Hi; It's all about your comfort level. On this board we do mostly independant travel. That doesn't mean these tours are 'bad'. Many people have enjoyed using these companies. The food is OK, and some nights you will be on your own to select a restaurant. If you chose to go on a tour, consider Trafalger along with Globus. If you book with one of these companies, you save 10% and they are reliable. www.cheapertravel.com/ or www.afordabletours.com/ Dick
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Jul 13th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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I've been on an almost identical tour. I have also been everywhere except Orvieto on my own. IMO, you can do any of those optional excursions easily on your own for a lot less. You can almost always do a better dinner for less.

You can do the exact same walking tour in Rome yourself - for free. Just get a map or a guide book that has walking tours.

You can take a vaporetto down the Grand Canal in the evening for just a few euro (about six, but some cheaper and you could get a 12/24 hour pass for just a bit more) instead of the expensive taxi. You can take the vaporetto to Burano and have a meal there on your own, if you wish. The place is really, really small, so you sure do not need a guide to go there. With only one day in Venice, I would not go to Burano. There is too much to see in Venice. Also, unless you have never seen it and will never have another opportunity to do so, I would skip the glass blowing thing. It makes money for the tour guide. Nothing wrong with that, but with so much art and architecture that you can't see anyplace else, why spend a couple of hours doing that?

The same for Rome. You do not have time for a day trip. You can see two or three wonderful things in Rome itself, feel more a part of Rome, and save money. There are tons of things to do in Rome. Share your interests with the board here, and you will get suggestions.

Scout out restaurants for yourself and, perhaps get together with someone else on the tour to go there. You can find some really nice local places. They will be more interesting because they are local and not catering to such a large group. If you can, call ahead, even just a few minutes ahead. You will be greeted more warmly. If, as you are walking around, someplace strikes you as interesting, stop and make a reservation for later. You will already be eating with the group at breakfast and several times. IMHO, you will have a nice experience by venturing away from the group some.

You are already moving around a lot, and will probably need the break on Capri. Staying two nights there is a good part of your tour. That being said, if it were me, I would probably take a short boat ride over to Positano as early as possible on the day in Capri. You will have the two evenings to enjoy Capri and that is when it is at its best.

As others have said, you could easily go to Italy on your own. If you have already booked the tour, however, and have questions about any of the other excursions, I will be happy to give you my opinion.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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If you have alredy booked the tour I would spend some time now on figuring out transport from the hotels (in hell and gone) back to the cities you actually want tosee. If youfigure it out in advance you'll have knowledge of the most convenient/least expensive ways - and not be stuck paying a fortune in cabs to and fro.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Do not despair - you are going to Italy! A tour will help you see alot of the "must see" sights, probably with less time wasted waiting in line or figuring out local transportation. This board has mostly independent travelers who do not like tours but for a first time trip to Italy it allows you to cover alot of ground with minimal hassel. But do some homework - if you can, find out where your hotels are and sights not covered by the tour that you can do on your own. Usually the optionals are overpriced and may be for things easily doable apart from the group. As much as possible seek out some local restaurants not a part of the tour. If you are a foodie, try to get some ideas for restaurants ahead of time and you might want to forgo some tour meals (whcih tend to be mediocre) and do dinner on your own. I have taken several tours and I actually like meeting the other tour participants - sometimes I like someone to chat with besides my travel partner. Have a wonderful trip!
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Jul 13th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Even within the structure of an organized tour, I'd work out my own plans for any extra free time you have, rather than pay for extra excusions thru the company.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Agree with Suec1. You will see a lot, perhaps not as in-depth this trip, but Italy is so fantastic, I think you will have a great time.

Don't worry too much about the location of your hotels. I find, no matter where I end up, there are interesting things to do and see. I have stayed in Montecatini twice. When on my own, I choose someplace else, but I enjoyed Montecatini. It is an upscale spa town with neat shops, etc. and fun to walk around.

If you are lucky, you will stay in the Astoria. It is in a beautiful park like setting in town.

In Assisi, best would be Windsor Savoia. If you end up at the Grand Hotel Assisi, I would skip the dinner (if it is included at the hotel) and take a taxi back into Assisi or someplace else in the countryside. There is a lovely family owned Inn near Assisi, but I am sorry, I don't remember the name of it.

We always ask the hotel staff for recommendations of things to do, etc. I traveled with teens. When we were in Montecatini, we took taxis to a nearby town to a huge dance place. There were also some nice little bars and restaurants there. Anyway, you can have fun and new experiences anyplace you are. You make it happen.

When is your trip?
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Jul 14th, 2009, 08:08 PM
  #10
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Hi thank you for all your responses. Unfortunately, life has thrown a few curve balls and my time is very limited. I was originally going to travel on my own but I decided on a tour to maximize the time spent without waiting around. A well thought out decision on my part. I am the type of person that makes the best of any situation...I am not a foodie at all and don't drink so really it is all about the beauty. That said - I have travelled extensively on my own in the psst so I have already mapped out my excursions. Just thought I might get some other suggestions from well seasoned travellers. Thank you for your suggestions - those of you who gave them and i will be messaging you.
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Jul 14th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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Listen...

No matter what many of the well intentioned people say, in some respects, tours can be excellent value for the money you spend and you will see quite a bit.

There are some advantages and some disadvantages of tours. Tours are very convenient...no worrying about your hotel each night. The tour drives you right to the door, they pay for porterage of one bag to your room. In the morning, when you leave you simply put your bag outside your room and the next time you will see it is at the next hotel.

You will have very organized sight seeing....in the big cities you will have local guides....can you on your own make the same type of arrangements for a bit less...yes I don't question that. But the bus will drive you to the starting point and pick you up at the end.

Are the optional tours good value? Most are. Again, somebody said avoid optional that involve meals. In many cases I have been on tours where the optional tours including meals have been exceptional. Again, I don't question that in some cases you can do it on your own a bit cheaper. But on the tour, again the bus will drive you door to door and you will be with the group you are travelling with.

The hotels will not necessarily be in the dead centre of town, granted but almost always there will be public transportation available for you to get to wherever you want to go if you want to do it on your own.

Disadvantages of tours...early starts on a travel day....baggage out by 0630, breakfast at 0700, departure at 0745 so no sleeping in. And also unless you understand tour language in the brochures, you might be somewhat disappointed. It might say see such and such a castle in the brochure. You know what that means...as the bus whizes down the autostraded at 100 km/hour and you pass this castle, the tour director will see, look to your left and there's such and such a castle. There, you've seen it.

Also if you find something charming and the schedule says a 45 minute stop, well that's it.

But many people who have never been on a tour put them down, brag how they can do things cheaper and proclaim tours stink. Many of them are very excellent value for money and take some of the hassle out of travel; as long as you understand the disadvantages, you will almost surely have a great time.
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Jul 14th, 2009, 10:36 PM
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years ago we did a globus tour that focussed on italy
i think globus is supposed tobe better than their sister company cosmos- thats the one that is a bit cheaper but the hotels are further out

we were very very happy with the hotels
if they werent central - we didnt notice because there was always something going on where we were staying

but
like others have warned
stay away from cultural events at night
anything to dowith nature - go for it- the excursions get you up and away early and you can pack it in but the cultural/foodie nights are best left alone
they take you to some basement restaurant where you eat with other tourists and get a cheesy rendition of a few classic italian favourites
youre best to wander on your own
we didnt do the gondolas either - wandered venice on our own
otherwise
it isnt a bad way to travel if you want it all done for you

i loathe the 'ill meet you in 45 mins' deadlines and the breakfasts can be rushed but you do get the history and you definitely dont need to handle your luggage apart fromlugging it to the door at 6 am most mornings
if you have a nice tour guide it is also kinda fun but usually you get lots of regional guides - locals and thats where it can be potluck with personalities and passion for their history

italy- id do myself in a heartbeat
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Jul 15th, 2009, 06:05 AM
  #13
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So...going back to my original question...which was I have a few extra days in Rome and time in the evenings

Rome? something off the beaten track

and again - people should remember that not everyone is in a position to travel solo/independent - we come to this forum to get suggestions not to be told that our choice is the wrong one.
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Jul 15th, 2009, 06:58 AM
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brontem: I've been on a number of tours. I like Globus very much. As far as excursions: Are they worth it? It usually depends on your travel companions. Size them up quickly. If you have a good group, yes they are worth it. Excursions with meals can sometimes turn out to be the most fun. I remember one with gondolas and dinner, and I'm still laughing. The meals I have never liked, are the included ones at the hotel. I'm usually off wandering, and have found a great little restaurant to eat at on my own.
Once in a city, you can pretty much do as you please.
When I pick a tour, I look mostly at itinerary. I like budget tours, because they don't include much. I get hotels and transportaion from city to city, and someone there if I need help.
With hotels that are "far out", tour companies are good at putting you near public transportation.
My favorite company is Cosmos. Globus "budget" sister. Itineraries are great, and they don't waste my money on many included meals and such.
Again, with tours it's a lot about the group. You'll know pretty quickly if you want to stick with them, or go off on your own. Buy optionals as late as you can. Have a wonderful trip !!
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Jul 15th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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thank you...I agree and if the group is so so I would rather forfeit the meal and explore...
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Jul 15th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Hi bronten; Keep in mind that both web sites I suggested to you, offer 10% off, [for either Globus or Cosmos]. You pay the full price on booking and then with your 'paperwork', usually sent two or three weeks before departure, the company refunds the discount. Dick
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Jul 15th, 2009, 11:24 AM
  #17
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thanks for the tip!
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Jul 17th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Brotem, you wouldn't happen to be leaving for your trip in the very near future? I thought I'd do a last minute search before I start packing and found your post...
I've found mixed reviews about the optional tours, and not so good reviews about the hotel dinners. I've done a little research, and we're not planning on doing any/many optional tours, but will probably stick with the hotel dinners because we paid for them. If I don't see you on the bus, I'll be happy to report back...it's been so hard finding decent feedback on this trip.
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Jul 17th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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yes very soon...i am leaving a day or two earlier though...
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Jul 17th, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Hi Brontem,
I went on the Best of Italy a few years ago and had a wonderful time! Some tips:

1) start drinking red wine (unless cannot for health reasons

2) If your hotel is out-of-the-way then make the best of it--we were in Assisi on top of a mountain too expensive to taxi to town so we drank lemoncello by the pool with our friends

3) Tell the tour director in the morning that you are separating from the group after the day tour such as the Vatican etc and eating dinner on your own. My 2 friends and I did this 3/4 of the time and they dubbed us "Charlie's Angels" and couldn't wait to hear the next morning what fun/adventures we had the night before!

4) Do not do the Pantheon, Trevi with the tour--do it on your own. Both are free and much better without a whole tour group.

5) The one dinner you should really do with the group is the welcome dinner to meet everyone and get a feel for your group.
Are you going alone on this trip?

Note: I NEVER drank wine until I went to Italy!! I actually never drank much at all. Not so anymore after 4 trips to Italy

I also never laughed as much as I did with the 2 Globus tours that I took. A great introduction to Italy.
Now I just came back this past weekend from an non-tour trip to Italy with my husband which I never would have attempted had I not first gone with Globus twice.
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