A tour or plan your own? Personally, I don't like tours. However, it was necessary for us when planning to go to 5 countries in Eastern Europe. We saw things we would have never seen if we had tried to do it ourselves. That being said, I don't like 5 star hotels, being herded with 30-40 other travelers into a bus everyday, and following someone with a raised umbrella. I would rather stay in a B&B or a pension with the locals and take my time finding the sights I want to see.
When I went with friends, we all chose one particular place we would like to visit at our destination and did the research to plan that day. Going on your own provides flexibility-you may not see everything you would have with a large tour but you are the master of your time. A one week stay in London allowed us to go to the Apollo Theater and see Wicked, a city tour on the double decker bus, a trip to Oxford (CS Lewis home and pub where the Inklings met), the Victoria and Albert and British Museums, Windsor Castle, London Tower, Hampton Court and 7 different pubs for early dinners, Westminster Abbey, and changing of the guard.
Cost. The Eastern European tour was a once in a lifetime event. Greg's family came from Warsaw so he really wanted to see the area of his ancestors. I taught a college class for several years so I saved all my money from a few semesters to pay for the trip that was close to 6,000.00 for the 2 of us. I saved miles for first class tickets-so airfare is not included.
Both of my trips with girlfriends cost 1,500.00 (airfare paid for in miles-coach). One was 10 days in England and Scotland and the other was 1 week in London and 1 week in Paris. We stayed with a lady in the Adventure Travel Club in London and rented an apt. in Paris (split 4 ways made it very affordable and cooking in the apt at night helped with cost as well). It also depends on the exchange rate of course. Being your own tour guide is less expensive but you will have more research to do. I have a friend who has traveled a lot oversees and has never gone on a tour-she swears by Triple A. I, personally, like to do the research.
An oversees trip is doable with advance planning. next week: museum passes.
|View from the balcony of the pension in Berlin-we went 2 days before the tour started and stayed 4 days after-in pensions with local proprietors|