Italy Trip

Aug 5th, 2012, 06:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
Italy Trip

In another post I wrote some questions about an Italy trip I'm planning for 9/2013.

I'm going with 3 other people as I mentioned. They are looking at making this easy so they believe a tour would be best. We are looking at a Rick Steve's Tour, 10 days, 3 in each Rome/Venice/Florence. It looks like decent in town hotels. We'd planned on 12-14 days if necessary but this is the only trip by Rick Steve's that's with a tour guide.

Has anyone taken this tour? Or one of this? Are they worth the cost? Is there anything similar for less that is a better option? I'd appreciate any feedback.
wdhicks is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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if you are planning on Rome/Florence/Venice there's really no need to do a tour as it's pretty easy to do yourselves. trains will take you between cities and hotels are numerous in each.

then you can stay as long as you like!

regarding costs, only you will know how much you think is reasonable. you can check how much you would pay by going independently by checking the cost of the hotels on TA or the hotels' websites, and look at context Rome, for example, to work out the cost of a guided tour for say, the Vatican and/or colosseum [most people wouldn't think that you needed a guide for all day every day in these cities].

buon viaggio!
annhig is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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I'll play devil's advocate , which I usually don't do...

If the 3 others you travel with want to do the Rick Steve's tour, maybe you just want to go with the flow, spend the money and enjoy yourselves. Many people will get his books (and a couple others) and frequent forums online, and end up staying at the same or similar hotels, eating at the same oe similar restaurants, and seeing all the same sights. It could be they save a couple hundred bucks by doing it on their own, but you know, they've also put in a good number of hours in planning, and stressing over details.

It is fairly easy to plan the big three on your own, but if your European travel experience is slight-to-none, and the others in you group are not interested in doing planning (or hesitant to trust you to do it all) the tour may be the best choice on the end.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 07:15 AM
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Hi wd,

Ditto AnnH.

The Big 3 are very easy to arrange.

I would
Fly to Venice (or Milan) - 4 nights
Train to Florence - 4 nights, visit Siena
Train to Rome - 5 nights - visit Orvieto and Ostia Antica
Fly Home

What's your budget for accommodations?

ira is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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i agree with busted to the extent that if you do intend to stay in the same hotels and do the same things as RS's tour, by all means do the tour.

if the tour would be a bad fit for you, that's a good reason not to do it.
annhig is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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We usually do things ourselves, but I agree with uhoh_busted, if they are not interested in doing the research and planning, then maybe best if you don't rock the boat.

On the other hand have you talked with them about doing some of the planning yourselves? We will be doing 4 nights in Venice and a day trip to Florence from our Agritourisimo in Chianti. Although not doing a "tour" inclusive of hotels like Rick Steves, I am booking some tours in each city. A 6 hr tour in Florence, which will leave us about 4 hours to do what we want, and probably 2 tours in Venice on different days. This way we are able to choose our accomodations and number of days in each place.

I think ira's plan looks pretty good, although I might take one day off Florence and add to Rome. Pompeii would be another option from Rome.
wrenwood is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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To me it is really a $$$ decision. You can do it yourself for at least 20% less---is that important to you?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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You may also want to see if you could stay an extra 3 or 4 days on your own at the end, so you can spread your wings and do your own thing. You will have the feel of Italy by then, and you could take the train to visit Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, or to Orvieto for a little Umbrian charm...

Having just checked out the website, since they don't appear to include airfare, I don't see why you couldn't....
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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I've done one tour--not RS. They have their advantages, mostly in that you have a knowledgeable guide full of information and ready to answer questions. (I also liked the fact that they handled my luggage, but a RS tour doesn't do that.) However, I got enormously frustrated because I wanted to spend time in some places and ready to leave early in others, but couldn't.

Ever since, it's been well worth the time and effort for us to plan our own trips and with that itinerary, a novice would do fine handling it. One idea (should you chose not to do a tour) is to start your visit in each city with a City Bus tour--one of those on again/off again things. We try to do one to get an overview of the city.
Lady is offline  
Aug 5th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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Why limit yourself to a 10 day tour when you have 14 days to travel. Doing the big 3 in Italy is child's play - and you will see a lot more and spend less by doing it yourself.

Unless the other 3 are essentially dead weight - that is, not willing to do any of the work in terms of sights, lodging or dining - and you wold have to do ALL the work yourself - IMHO independent is better.
nytraveler is offline  
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