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Please tell me if my itinerary will work...

Please tell me if my itinerary will work...

Jan 22nd, 2008, 10:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Please tell me if my itinerary will work...

My mom and I will be taking a group tour to London, Paris and France. This is the detailed itinerary with GoAhead Tours and was wondering if it's worth sticking to it or doing my own thing. If you have any suggestions, I'm totally open to tehm! Thanks in advance!

Here is the itinerary:

Guoman Tower Hotel
Day 1
Relax aboard an overnight transatlantic flight to Great Britain.

Day 2
Arrive in London, one of Europe’s oldest capital cities. After clearing customs, you’ll be met by a Go Ahead representative, who will escort you to your hotel. The rest of your day is free to unpack, settle in or begin your explorations of London. Meet your fellow travelers at this evening’s included dinner. (B in flight, D)

Day 3
A professional local guide leads this morning’s sightseeing tour of London. You’ll see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Downing Street and the gates of St. James’s Palace, where you might glimpse the ceremonial Changing of the Guard (seasonal). Included in your tour is a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral, showplace for the work of architect Sir Christopher Wren. This afternoon, join an optional excursion to Windsor Castle, a thousand-year-old royal retreat built by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings. (B)

Day 4
With a free day in London, you might view the collections of London’s museums, such as the National Gallery or the Tate Gallery. Or join an optional excursion to the Tower of London, which includes a leisurely cruise down the Thames. (B)

Hotel Magellan
Day 5
Transfer to Waterloo Station, where you’ll board the state-of-the-art Eurostar train for your high-speed journey to Paris. (B, D)

Day 6
Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées, one of the world’s most celebrated boulevards, as a local guide introduces you to the historical and cultural landmarks of the City of Light. View the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde (once the site of the notorious guillotine) and the Opera House. Walk through the colorful Tuileries gardens, so named for their location upon the former site of a ceramic tile (tuile) factory. As you pass through the many graceful avenues and squares, your guide will familiarize you with Paris’ fascinating history. You’ll also pass Notre Dame Cathedral, which stands on the Île de la Cité where ancient Romans once worshipped Jupiter. This afternoon, join an optional excursion to Versailles, opulent retreat of Louis XIV and his descendants. (B)

Day 7
Absorb all the romance of Paris at your leisure today. You might wish to walk amid the booksellers’ stalls on the Left Bank or visit the Louvre. Alternatively, join a half-day excursion to nearby Giverny (seasonal), the home of Monet. End the day at our optional Evening in Paris, with dinner at a fine local restaurant followed by a romantic cruise along the Seine. (B)

Mercure Piazza Bologna
Day 8
From Paris, fly south to Rome. After hotel check-in, the rest of your day is free to begin discovering the Eternal City. Your tour director can give you an orientation to the city and suggest sightseeing activities. (B, D)

Day 9
Spend a free day in Rome however you wish; you might visit the Trevi Fountain and Marcus Aggripa’s Pantheon. Or, join an optional morning tour of Vatican City, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. Follow this with an optional afternoon excursion into the Roman catacombs, where popes and saints lie buried. (B)

Day 10
Follow the route of the ancient Roman emperors on today’s guided tour. Stop outside the ruins of the Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) and the Colosseum. Enjoy a free afternoon before this evening’s optional Dinner with Tenors, an event featuring savory Italian cuisine and live entertainment. (B)

Day 11
You’ll be escorted to the airport for your flight home. Alternatively, stay for two more memorable days in Rome. (B)
romansluv is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
One small point - it's not Waterloo station anymore, but St. Pancras.

None of the hotels are particularly central, but you can use public transport from all of them.

I think the described tour days sounds as good as any standard tourist choices - it would more be a matter if it matches what you want to see.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
I've did a tour for my first visit to Europe, becaase I had no idea of what to expect, how to book hotels,etc (and there was no Fodor's back then Now it's all solo, no tours, no travel agent (some exceptions).

Note, for example, when the tour says "see XXX", in all likelyhood you will see it from the bus (assuming on the correct side, and not be stopping. So if there are things you really want to go to that are not part of a visit, you would have to plan to go on your day off.

So the question is, are you willing to take the time and effort to plan it all yourself, or feel more comfortable letting someone else do the work?

You can find enough information from people here to book everything, plan your days, suggest restaurants,etc. But...it takes initiative. As an aside, just by not taking a complete tour, does not mean you cannot DO tours. For example,you could do multiple London Walks, could do London Hop ON Hop Off bus tour, guided tours of British Museum, tour to Windsor, Seine River Cruise, tour to Giverny,etc... It just won't be a "hand over the money and show up" vacation plan.

Good question...the answer is within you
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
I see you've already booked for Feb 29th?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,195
I'm unclear on your request--
Are you wondering if you should take this tour at all and opt to plan your own trip?
Are you wondering which optional tours you should join?

In summary, you have 9 days on the ground to visit these locations. At least two half-days will be taken up with intra-Europe flights, which leaves 8 days to see London, Paris, and Rome.

My biggest suggestion would be to opt for a tour that includes only two of these cities in the same amount of time.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 679
Seems lke a decent itinerary, but we fodorites loooove to plan our own trips so we'll all tell you to try it on your own with out a tour

With what amounts to 9 days I'd be inclined to either spend it all in one place (my pick would be London) or split the time between 2 (London and Paris would by my choice mainly because of logistics). I think you'd have so much more fun and probably save money!
laustic is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,195
Ah--my posts crossed with these others. It seems that you are confirmed for this trip. Then I suggest that you take any of these optional tours that interest you. With so little time, and staying in less-central hotels, you tour group will get you to these typical areas of interest most efficiently.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,048
Love it - you are staying at the Tower Hotel, yet the Tower of London is an extra optional tour. It is NEXT DOOR to that hotel. No need to take a cruise to get there - you walk less than 5 minutes from the front door of the hotel. How much are they charging for that optional tour? Ya'd think they would include the Tower over that bus tour whizzing down whitehall and around Westminster.

How much is the charge for the optional tour to Windsor? We can't tell you if you should take these optional tours w/o knowing how much they are charging you.

And yes, "view", "see" and "pass" are all tour brochure-speak for driving past w/o getting off the bus.
janisj is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Thank you all so much for your helpful information. Yes I've booked the trip already last year thinking it was a great deal. Then I found Fodor's and not I'm second guessing everything and only wished I found this site sooner so I could've planned my own itinerary.

Good thing is we don't have to go on the tours provided. I was considering just doing our own thing and planning my own itinerary at this point.

What we want to see are the main highlights of each city. Now I see why so many choose to create their own itineraries!

Thank you again!!!
romansluv is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,195
The tours offered are the main highlights to be found in many sources. Based on your particular interests, you must decide what would be a main highlight for you--there is no required list.

Check your library or bookstore and for city guides for each of the three cities. With an entire guidebook dedicated to just one city, there will surely be some lesser-known sights you might enjoy more than the packaged tours.

Personally, I might tend to skip the optional tours that took me away from the city center, preferring to spend my afternoon wandering the streets, exploring neighborhoods, and getting more of the local vibe.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 679
Well now that I know the tour's already booked I say go have a great time and go off on your own as much as possible. You'll be glad you did. Have a great trip!
laustic is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
My reco is to assume that all you've bought is air, hotel and airport transfers.

The city tours provided sound like a waste of time (drive by Notre Dame???). I would just tell the guides you're not interested in them and set off by pubic transit to do/see whatever you want - rather than waste 1/2 day of your very short time in each city having waving out the window and saying that's the Louvre as you drive by at 20 miles an hour. You want to be inside seeing what interests you - not sitting in traffic in a bus.

(My second trip to europe was one of these - London, Amsterdam and Paris - that we did just to get the cheap hotel rates. We ignored all of the free and "optional" tours and ended up seeing much more than the others who were herded around - as well as special activities we wanted (seeing the English Derby and a specific play) that the guide told us wouldn't be possible (she was trying to sell us a tour of Windsor Castle, which can be easily done from London in 30 minutes on a train - and another to Wales that came back too late for the play).
nytraveler is offline  
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