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Europe in February and tour operators
Old 11-28-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
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Europe in February and tour operators

Planning an early February 2011 trip to Europe. Pretty cold time but that's the only time DH can get vacation. Been to most southern regions in Europe like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Portugal but don't mind re-visiting. Usually join tours with Insight Vacations when visiting Europe but if I re-visit the countries, would like to check out other tour operators. As I am not familiar with tour operators for Europe, would appreciate suggestions of other good tour operators who can offer good accomodation. Below is a link to insight vacations just to give an idea of what services and quality of tour operator I am looking for. Thks

Insight Vacations - Motorcoach Escorted Tours and Cruises of Europe, Egypt, Greece, Canada, Alaska
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:02 PM   #2
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We did a tour with Trafalgar a few years ago. While I didn't like the "tour concept" (ie. today is Monday, we are at...) everything else was ok.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Planning an early February 2011 trip to Europe. Pretty cold time but that's the only time DH can get vacation. Been to most southern regions in Europe like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Portugal but don't mind re-visiting. Usually join tours with Insight Vacations when visiting Europe but if I re-visit the countries, would like to check out other tour operators. As I am not familiar with tour operators for Europe, would appreciate suggestions of other good tour operators who can offer good accomodation. Below is a link to insight vacations just to give an idea of what services and quality of tour operator I am looking for. Thks

Insight Vacations - Motorcoach Escorted Tours and Cruises of Europe, Egypt, Greece, Canada, Alaska
Good luck

DW has been invited to present her work in Frankfurt in February so we are renting an apartment for a week in Munich.

Weather is so dicey for tour bus activities you might look into a city or a region to plant in and explore. We just had 10 days in a very nice apartment in Rome. It was FANTASTIC
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Just curious as to the reason why you do tours and don't go it alone.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #5
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Just curious as to the reason why you do tours and don't go it alone.
This was our first attempt. DW made the "reasonable" suggestion that we try a tour, then go back to the places we like on our own. Someday we will, we know where they are.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:48 PM   #6
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Below is a link to insight vacations just to give an idea of what services and quality of tour operator I am looking for. Thks

Insight Vacations - Motorcoach Escorted Tours and Cruises of Europe, Egypt, Greece, Canada, Alaska
Wow. You like niiiice hotels. I hope you get there early enough and leave late enough to enjoy them. I knew one couple who "did Europe" at great expense like that, and barely spent half an hour awake in any of their rooms.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
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I think doing Europe in the off season is a great idea. Less costly, fewer crowds, etc. Also many European destinations are not really for the weather. Pick places with great museum, architecture, hotels, restaurants. You will actually have a chance to see the locals. Good places in this regard would include London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Munich, Rome, Florence. We have done this many times. About 6-7 days works for us. If you want to splurge get a private guide for a few days. This will greatly enhance the experience. One city at a time is our template.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:48 PM   #8
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We were stationed in Europe in the early 80's. We, me and the family, took several American Express tours of multiple countries in Europe. Without exception the tours were outstanding. In Rome, the city tour guide provided was a history professor at the American Institute in Rome. Needless to say we got great in depth lectures about the many historical sites. Most bus trips were short no more than five or six hours on the bus, and there was a tour guide with you. When we reached a destination, they took care of all the luggage, the hotel rooms and we took on a city guide for more touring.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
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Just curious as to the reason why you do tours and don't go it alone.
Basic reasons like saving time (since we are pretty jet lagged when we fly from Hong Kong and we have only like 10 days to cover major areas), DH too stressed out to self-drive and I'm hyper-insomniac and not fit for much, we prefer a good guide to explain history etc to us. We usually arrive a few days early so that we do some self-wondering around for instance when we got to Madrid, we did the museums on our own. We don't join the optional tours and spend time then on our own and eat at places we choose. So, it feels like some private time plus tour time.

BigNick, we find that Insight Tours allow us lots of time to spend in the hotel when we want. We usually choose those not too fast paced where we stay at hotels at least 2 nights before moving somewhere else.

Rustic23, I have not tried American Express but have explored their web-sites. Will check them out again.

Thanks, all for your replies.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:27 PM   #10
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One city at a time is our template.
Agree with you there. We used to do at least 5 areas in one country at a time since we have such a long flight but now one or maybe two cities may be enough esp when it is a repeat trip.
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:57 PM   #11
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Agree with you there. We used to do at least 5 areas in one country at a time since we have such a long flight but now one or maybe two cities may be enough esp when it is a repeat trip.
Funny but we just decided today to do a two city trip (London, Paris) in late Feb. Repeats on both so 4 days in each linked by chunnel should be fun.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:59 PM   #12
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Funny but we just decided today to do a two city trip (London, Paris) in late Feb. Repeats on both so 4 days in each linked by chunnel should be fun.
Great combination. Hope it is not too cold then. I always like London for the museums and buildings and Paris for food and wine.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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Planning an early February 2011 trip to Europe. Pretty cold time but that's the only time DH can get vacation. Been to most southern regions in Europe like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Portugal but don't mind re-visiting.
Make it late February/early March, then you can see the Carnival in Nice and in Venice. There might be others, but the above two were what we experienced. We traveled on our own for 2 weeks. Flew to Nice, then train to Monaco, then night train to Naples and Sorrento/Pompei, then night train to Venice, and finally night train to Paris, where we flew home.

Carnival in Venice was really nice, and not at all rowdy like Mardi Gras in N.O.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:13 PM   #14
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Great combination. Hope it is not too cold then. I always like London for the museums and buildings and Paris for food and wine.
Thanks agree about museums etc. Probably won't be any colder than Toronto or Canmore.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:07 PM   #15
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Thanks agree about museums etc. Probably won't be any colder than Toronto or Canmore.
I'm also thinking about a Feb Europe trip with a friend (DW won't fly). Budapest is #1 right now, but we are thinking it over. One thing my friend mentioned, if it is off-season, some things may be closed down so you might want to research that.

I also read that while the UK area is pretty mild in winter, you will have short, dark days since it is so far North. Something to consider.

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Old 12-02-2010, 07:27 AM   #16
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Feb in Europe can be quite cold and if the recent weather is any indication, it might be a snowy and very cold winter - tours are great if you haven't been there before - I like the short ones. Or do the work yourself, Rick Steve's has great guides along with the Day Trip series of books.

Bring your coats, scarves, gloves and boots - also, remember it's dark here in the winter time - i.e. less light - even here in Stuttgart, I'm at the latitude of northern Maine - great in summer - not so great in winter.

However, the trip will be what you make of it - if you are prepared, you should have lots of fun. PM if you want some more info.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:49 AM   #17
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Thanks ERD and Deserat. Now we are thinking Berlin might be more fun than Paris. Agree it will be winter. Us Canadians are generally OK with that. Berlin has really gotten a rep as being a neat place to visit and since we have never been there, thought we would give it a try. London still in the mix. Generally don't do public tours preferring to hire local guides for a couple of days in each place. Another advantage is we were able to get good flights via our frequent flier points.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:59 AM   #18
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I visited Berlin in March 2009 to take in a conference and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are so many places to see and things to do, and the history is compelling. It's also very easy to get around: the S-Bahn and U-Bahn are excellent and inexpensive. Because my conference fee was expensive, I was economizing, so I stayed in a modest hotel (Mercur chain) in Siemensdamm, next door to the U-Bahn station (and across the street from the original Siemens factory, a jewel of the Bauhaus). I would say that Berlin is as interesting as Paris, but very different. This is a frugal city with little extravagance, but it has a buzz about it.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:04 PM   #19
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This was our first attempt. DW made the "reasonable" suggestion that we try a tour, then go back to the places we like on our own. Someday we will, we know where they are.
Travelling to these places is fairly easy. Just pick a few spots you want to visit (Rome, Paris, etc). Get a travel guide (I like Fodor's) or two and use their insight plus a little web research. Most European countries are fairly easy to get around (metro, rail air) and have good deals that time of year.

The best part is not having to listen to that idiot in the group who is always complaining, too loud (one in every group). No need to wait for the 30 people to all be accounted for before you leave for every destination. If some place flicks you switch, you can stay longer. I would never consider a tour
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #20
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Travelling to these places is fairly easy. Just pick a few spots you want to visit (Rome, Paris, etc). Get a travel guide (I like Fodor's) or two and use their insight plus a little web research. Most European countries are fairly easy to get around (metro, rail air) and have good deals that time of year.

The best part is not having to listen to that idiot in the group who is always complaining, too loud (one in every group). No need to wait for the 30 people to all be accounted for before you leave for every destination. If some place flicks you switch, you can stay longer. I would never consider a tour
Agree about the idiot except that when we hire a private guide I am the idiot.
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