Surviving an 18 day tour

Old Dec 4th, 2000, 05:25 PM
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Surviving an 18 day tour

My husband and I are planning our belated honeymoon- we found a tour that we want to go on, but it is 18 days. Does anyone have experience with a trip that is this long? I am worried about living out of a suitcase for three weeks. I sort of want to go on the ten day or two week tour instead, but then we would miss seeing some of the countries that he wants to see. What do you think?

Also- we are looking into either a Globus tour or a Grand European Tour- please share your experiences with either company. Thanks!

Old Dec 4th, 2000, 05:45 PM
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Hi Carmen,
18 days is a long time on a tour, but can also be very enjoyable. Keep in mind that many of the hotels only offer twin beds and you're often required to be up and out of the hotel at very early hours, which might not make for a fun and romantic honeymoon. Any thought to going on a shorter tour and then taking a sidetrip on your own to this other city that your husband wants to visit? At the end of a 10 day tour, you could just delay your flight home and take a train to your other destination. Enjoy your vacation.
Old Dec 4th, 2000, 07:18 PM
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I recently took a Grand European Tour of 14 days to London, Paris and Rome. It was "hosted" meaning you get hotel and airfare and a few activities, but you are on your own for sightseeing, and you aren't confined on a bus. You can buy escorted tours a-la-carte, so if you are burned out and decline a particular day tour, you save money and energy.

Generally, I would say that if you have any experience with foreign travel, you might be happier on your own than with a tour. Many tours move at a really fast pace that makes it more of an ordeal than it should be. So if you can find something with 3-4 nights per city (nothing less), then maybe that would be OK. But there is a serious "do-I-have-to-look-at-these-same-25-people-again-today?" factor that you ought to be aware of. Maybe take a shorter tour and then extend your stay once you have gotten used to everything?

Have fun!
Old Dec 4th, 2000, 07:24 PM
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We are generally 'do it yourself' folks, but we took a 3 week tour of Britain once, and thought it was one of the highlights of our life together so far. We are still friends with the folks on the bus (there were a couple of lemons, but they were soon isolated) and we saw and learned more together than we could on our own. Our tour leader was very knowledgeable in the local lore and habits, music, culinary tastes, history, etc., and she brought tapes of music to play. This tour was not particulary hurried. I think 'hurried' is the key word. Stay a day or two in at least a few places. And lastly, most travel is just about what you want it to be, barring any terribly unforseen event. Enjoy.
Old Dec 4th, 2000, 09:27 PM
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We have taken a 21 day trip to Scandanavia and Russia. It was in late summer, so things we washed out dried fairly quickly--especially if we were in a place for two nights. We have done a 14 day plus another two weeks on our own--but then you can find a laundromat. We are booked for two tours next Feb/Mar which will mean one month. Packing will be a challenge. We both usually take lots of knit tops, which usually don't wrinkle. Rolling them is my choice, my spouse folds his. We have done 1st Class Globus and Trafalgar tours and they are basically the same, so it depends on your choice of itinerary. Think Grand European is more $$ but slightly more leisurely, according to friends. We also have made friends with people on tours and didn't mind seeing the same faces (most faces, anyway.) every day. Maybe they didn't like ours either. With seat rotation, you aren't stuck with the same people near you each day and you can choose your dinner partners. What ever you do, it will be memorable. All of our trips have been, in some way.
Old Dec 5th, 2000, 03:08 PM
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Carmen, Do you know anyone else on the tour? Does the group going have anything in common...local museum or garden group for instance, church group, gourmet food club. Sometimes it can be fun if there are people on the tour that have similar interest. I like to be able to stay in one spot for at least 2 nights every once in a while when moving around a lot. It just means one day without a 7:00am baggage call. Will you be with the group every minute of every day? Traveling together is one thing -but eating every meal and spending every day together gets to be a little much for me.
And finally - it is really important to pack ultra light when moving around a great deal. We used Eagle Creek packing system bags for a trip to Italy this fall and it was the best!!! My husband was able to manage his own clothing with ease and everything stayed in perfect shape. (No I don't even own any Eagel Creek stock - but I have ordered lots of this stuff for Xmas Gifts) Enjoy! jwg
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 06:21 AM
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Unless you choose a "hosted" type tour that allows you to stay put in one place for several days I'd not do a tour, particularly for a honeymoon. It's not my idea of fun getting up at the crack of dawn every a.m. and getting on a bus with a bunch of people who may/may not be your choice of travelmates. 18 days is very long - I'd simply opt for doing it myself, perhaps 3 cities and day trips from them. Since you don't mention your age it's hard to say exactly what would be best, but most tours I believe cater to an older group of peope. Another thing with tours is that frequently you eat in hotel's where you stay and that does not allow for any experiencing local cafe's, etc. Tour guides can be great or terrible from what I've heard and tours also tend to not spend enough time anyplace for you to see anymore then a glimpse. If something interests you personally it is hard to spend 3 hours there if the tour allows 45 minutes! I'd reconsider a tour since it is your honeymoon. Depending on your interests I'd aim for 3 cities in 18 days and unpack those suitcases inbetween, you'll have a lot more fun in the long run. You don't mention how many countries this tour covers but if "seeing" them is important to your husband he needs to look closely at the tour brochures. You may indeed only be "seeing" them, from a bus window. This is not experiencing anything in my opinion.
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 07:09 AM
Bob Brown
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I don't know why people get the idea that the farther you go, the more cities you see, the more countries you traverse, and the more hotels you crash in, the better the trip. Success is measured by (cities seen)+ (total kilometers travelled/days in trip) + (number of different hotels). My reaction to similar measures of success is "Hogwash".

Last summer we were gone a total of 19 days (1 going and 1 coming home) and I was ready to be home long before I got back. We stopped in only 4 places: Paris, Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland), Salzburg, and Vienna. The trip was totally freelance, so to some extent we could set our own schedule. We did have a couple of constraints to develop that dictated when we got to Vienna -- like we had to buy our tickets to see the Lipizzaners perform.
By the end of the 4th day in Vienna, which was the 18th day of the trip, I had reached the point that I didn't care if I hadn't seen the Belvedere, or that I hadn't seen some other famous monument, I was too tired of jumping on and off underground trains, trams, and buses to really care. I'll see it next time.
My own experience indicates that if you are averaging 2 cities a day for 18 days, you will be seeing big blurs as you travel, and you will not remember in which city a certain event occurred.
Yeah, you saw the country all right, but which one was it? (NO!! it was Tuesday, hence Belgium.) Besides from within the insulated cocoon of a tour group, you don't really see the country and its people anyhow. You drive through it and look at it through a bus window.
Anybody know a tour that lets you sit at Place des Voges in Paris and people watch for over an hour?? We spent a very fascinating time one sunny afternoon watching parenting styles with small children. One thing is for sure, fountains with flowing water attract small children like fresh flower blooms attract bees. Or had we not been strolling down the walkway between Ecole Militaire and the Eiffel Tower at a liesurely pace, I would have missed one of the funniest incidents I have seen, ever.
(Some young hotshot on a skateboard was out of control and banged into an elderly lady. No damage done as we could discern. The old gal blasted the youngster with a withering oral barrage. At the climax, she kicked his skateboard down the steps. Too bad the steps did not lead down to the Seine. Hope she didn't hurt her foot.)

The advice about the beds in an earlier description above is right on target. We did find a big bed in the Alt Weinerhof in Vienna, but it was hard as a rock. At home we bought an extra firm mattress for nightly use; but this Viennese slab made my extra firm model seem like extra soft.


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