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Untours--Do they really provide anything for you that I oculdn't arrange on my own

Untours--Do they really provide anything for you that I oculdn't arrange on my own

Old Sep 17th, 2002, 07:39 PM
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Untours--Do they really provide anything for you that I oculdn't arrange on my own

We have never taken a tour and have always travelled independently having done all our own research amd making all our own reservations. We have been fine in our trips to France, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania. Know how to figure out public transportation in cities and have had no problems with driving rental cars we have arranged on our own. This year on our own we arranged a rental of a cottage for a week in Normandy.

That said, I am wondering about Untours. Is there actually anything much more involved in their package than arranging for an apartment and providing you with a transportation package? Is the arrival meeting with the local area host actually anything special, or is it just basically a packet of information on where to shop, local sights etc.? We would be very interested in doing something where we would actually be hooked up with local people and could make some acquaintances with people who aren't just out to make a living off tourists. But, don't know what the thrust of the Untours approach actually is. If you have used them, please enlighten me as to whether there truly is anything more to this than just having someone set up a 2 week trip for you. Thanks.
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 03:43 AM
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topping for Julie
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 10:23 AM
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Julie, your first paragraph pretty much describes us; we have always been independent travelers.

My husband decided that two Europe trips a year are enough, but not enough for me so I will be traveling solo at least once a year. I looked into Untours as they have a great reputation and are very reasonable in cost. There are many people who have taken repeat trips with them. Nearly all the profits from Untours go to the Idyll Development Foundation which provides low interest loans to create jobs. I have decided they are a fine company.

I am leaving next week for Ascona, Switzerland, my first Untour. I have received so much valuable information from them. One is called the Dream Book which is full of ideas for hikes, walks, train trips, rainy day activities, etc., more than I will have time for.

I don't expect to have to call on the local support people but, being a solo traveler, it is a comforting thought.

If you want to email me after I return (the middle of October) I will be happy to tell you of my experiences with Untours. My email address is pj2592 plus what is after the @ sign.

In the meantime hopefully someone who has taken an Untour will chime in.
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 07:31 PM
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Thanks much for the response. I'd love to hear about your experience.

Anyone else out there done one of these?
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 07:55 PM
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Old Sep 21st, 2002, 08:27 AM
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Julie, I haven't used Untours, but get a travel newsletter and a recent issue had a letter from a couple who used it frequently. They were very happy with it because so much of the work was done for them but their time was still their own to plan. They also expressed satisfaction with the accommodations, etc.
Old Sep 21st, 2002, 06:24 PM
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I've travelled three times with Untours in the past three years: Switzerland, Portugal,and Vietnam (plus Cambodia.) This is after various ways of travelling for the previous 17 years or so.
I love their approach, their company ideals, and the enrichment that their local service provides (differs, of course, depending on locale, but I've been to a local home in Vietnam for dinner, hiked up a Swiss mountain to a cheesemaker's cottage, and so forth.)
I'm sure you could arrange what they do as far as transport and accommodation on your own, but their prices and service have always been terrific and the price difference, if any, is well worth it to me.
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 03:21 PM
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the enrichment you describe is exactly what I've been wondering about. Did you do something special to arrange those unique things, or was it really a standard part of the package? Was this usually just a one shot event over the course of a 2 week trip, or are there lots of different kinds of options available?

Another quick question, and let me use biking as an example. if we told Untours that we are interested in biking in the local areas would my info include detailed materials on where to rent bikes and possible places to go? Thanks.
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 07:46 PM
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The Untours rep on site is a local and can help out with just about anything, it seems; there's a good possiblility they'd walk you to the nearest bike place, giving you the pros and cons, or so it's seemed to me. Some of the events are included, some just happen, and some are optional; you kind of choose your amount of involvement. Your landlords/landladies are also usually a font of useful information, although sometimes you'll need a translating dictionary if you don't speak the native language.
I met Mr. Taussig, the founder of Untours,on my first trip (in Switzerland.) He's a warm and wonderful man whose ideas and spirit seem to permeate the whole company. I really don't usually rave on like this but to me Untours is unique. The accomodations aren't extraordinarily lush, but I'd love to be able to "untour" everywhere I go. (Now if they could just get established in Iceland...)
Idyllchat, their e-mail list, is a good source of info as well. Of course, it's mostly the "converted", but it gives you a good sense of the company, I think. You can subscribe to it from their website and then unsubscribe whenever you want.
Happy travels!
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 05:00 PM
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thanks Amy
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 05:09 PM
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Just got the most recent edition of the Untours 2003 catalogue today. Julie, don't know if you have a copy of it, but if you do read it, you will understand what Amy wrote about. Besides the descriptions, there are articles written by travelers. I read an article by someone that made a two week trip to Malaga, and it was delightful. I wish I had two weeks to spend in Malaga at the guest house that the writer had written about.
Old Oct 13th, 2002, 05:47 PM
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I just returned a few days ago from my first Untour. I stayed in Ascona, Ticino, Switzerland and had a wonderful time.

For me as a solo traveler it was perfect. I could do whatever I wanted but it was nice to have a "family" to occasionally have dinner with or to travel on a train or bus with if we were going the same direction. It was a very congenial group.

The Dream Book that was provided contained more ideas than I had time for. There were some suggestions for biking, Julie. Also we were given a list of festivals, concerts or other special things that would be held during our stay. There were two walking tours and a farewell dinner that we could participate in if we wanted to.

The local Untour representatives were so nice and helpful.

I would definitely do another Untour.

If you want to read what others are saying about their Untours you can read the trip logs at www.untours.com . Or you can read the archives at
Old Oct 13th, 2002, 07:46 PM
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We took an Untours trip to Switzerland and found it a delightful and different experience. They provided a massive amount of information that you would never find in the usual tourist literature, both ahead of time and after your arrival. Lots of information on biking, hiking ,etc., all to places most tourists don't find! One of the nicest touches was arriving to a stocked refrigerator, with bread, cheese, meat, milk, eggs, coffee, butter, etc. to get you started on your first day. Then, the first day was a group meeting to teach you how to read the massive schedules of the Swiss transportation system, including trains, buses, boats, trams, etc. Optional activities included guided tours of Thun and Lucerne, a mountaintop visit to a cheesemaker, and an informal discussion of local traditions, governmental systems, education, taxes, etc. Whatever anyone wanted to know. The Untours philosophy is let you live like a native, not like a tourist, and this always involves lots of interaction with local people, and finding offbeat goodies other tourists never know about. It was great!
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 07:07 PM
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I have noted that the apartments are in small towns (I am interested in the Rhineland Untour). How do you get from the airport to the apartment? Are you met at the airport? Is transportation provided? Same question regarding getting back to the airport.
Old Apr 18th, 2003, 05:25 AM
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