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My Way vs fully guided tour

We're early 60s, physically fit, well-read, adventuresome BUT would like to hear others' thoughts on My Way vs fully guided tours. Yes, we'd like to economize but don't want to be penny-wise, pound foolish.
UPDATE: Well, as luck would have it, the decision has been made for us. July is the only time we can travel this summer, so we'll be enjoying Italy via a RS My Way tour. We're bracing ourselves for crowds and heat, but will enter the fray well armed with every RS trick possible.
Appreciate all the insights.

Posted by
1058 posts

I think it really depends on where you are going. If you are planning to go to Italy, a tour would be a big help in getting into the major sites without having to worry about reservations. Italy will be very crowded this year as it is a Holy Year for the Catholic Church. I think other countries are more doable with a My Way Tour.

Posted by
1331 posts

When my wife and I did an independent 30 day trip to Italy in May 2014 we had no problems with long lines. We just did as advised in the RS books and either made advance reservations ourselves or used a city pass such as the Roma Pass or Florence Pass. That should be a very minor concern in making the decision between a full tour and a my way tour.

Posted by
9930 posts

Actually I do base part of my decision on taking a tour vs not on what the perks are and yes, jumping the line is a huge plus and time saver. If you are able to travel for an extended period of time then it may not make much of a difference and there is always some good people-watching in those lines!

Yep, my Paris and Heart of France tour had a reservation for Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and yes we got dirty looks when the guards opened the group lane for us to jump ahead of perhaps 100 people. Worth it? Totally!

I also think it depends on which tour you are looking at taking.

Posted by
3659 posts

On the guided tours there is plenty of free time to do your own thing. But the guided tours also have enough structured activity that you will really get to see the things that really matter. In addition, the guided tours eliminate the hassle of doing a lot of logistical planning on your own. We've taken many RS guided tours and, while there is nothing wrong with the My Way tours, we personally prefer the guided ones.

Posted by
4 posts

My traveling friend and I have taken 2 RS guided tours and we did Italy My Way 3 years ago. All were great and the My Way tour had a wonderful RS leader/guide who provided a lot of important information during the bus rides or at breakfasts. For us, it was a matter of what areas we wanted to cover, comfort with language, driving conditions and amount of time we had to plan. We were very glad to be on the guided tour for the Eastern Europe trip. Because the travel and accommodations are covered on both types of tours, you can concentrate on reading through this Forum and guidebooks to make advance plans for tickets. We're going on the My Way France tour this year with plenty of days before and after the tour on our own. We have been fortunate to tour with fun fellow travelers on both types of trips.

Posted by
242 posts

Think back on all your previous guided tours. How much do you remember in a year or now? Probably not much. I like to research ahead of time so I'm not clueless and then take a self guided or maybe audio tour. We are in your age range and love history but much of it just isn't really that important to me in the long run.

Posted by
9930 posts

Actually, I remember quite a bit from my guided tours! I learn better when I have someone talking to me over reading it on my own.

Posted by
127 posts

I've done both and I'll echo the idea that it, in part depends on what you want to do. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the "tour" thing so I took a My Way, figuring that it was a good compromise. With some research, I pretty much did what I wanted to do and had a great time. I had a wonderful time exploring Munich and spending time relaxing in a nice shady beer garden.

That being said, if you look at a guided tour and it pretty much covers the same things you would want to do or see, then the guided tour may even be more economical. I've since done three guided RS tours and have not regretted the extra expense. With the exception of some of the city guides (who were subpar), I really got a better sense of the places that I was visiting than had I structured my activities myself.

Posted by
371 posts

I wrote up my thoughts on My Way versus Fully Guided tours in two parts. Search the forum for this

Thoughts on my first My Way tour in comparison to a fully guided RS tour - Part 1

My biggest conclusion: If you like the itinerary of the Fully Guided tour (where you going, time spent where you want to spend it, etc.) , then, IMHO, it is a better deal. Not necessarily cheaper, but a better deal for the dollars spent.

Posted by
4624 posts

If you're considering the My Way Italy vs. the slightly longer guided trip, I would definitely recommend the guided trip. There's some wonderful places (Dolomites, Siena) that you would miss on the My Way trip.

On the other hand, the My Way France trip is a nice itinerary, especially if this is your first time to France.

I've planned our itineraries for our past 5 trips, and we save a substantial amount and have fantastic vacations. But, our initial trips to Europe as a couple were the RS Germany, Switzerland, Austria trip and Best of Italy trip several years ago. We have fond memories of those as well, and we consider them the jump-start of enjoying exploring Europe.

The nice thought is that you can't go wrong with either option! : )