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My Way tours feedback

Would like to get feedback on the MyWay tours vs guided tour.
Thanks

Posted by
851 posts

From your other post it looks like you have done a "regular" RS tour and know what to expect from them?

I assume you have read what the My Way tours include/exclude here?
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/my-way-tours

I don't think many people have done both, and it mainly depends on your needs/wants. I know I prefer and enjoy being with a group as a single person, others probably feel differently.

Posted by
16827 posts

I haven't taken either type of tour, but I recall a comment by another poster to the effect that it seemed the financial savings from choosing a My Way tour were rather small compared to what the traveler was giving up. Of course, a lot would depend on how you feel about the group-tour milieu.

Posted by
2954 posts

I haven't done a "my way" tour yet, only regular tours and independent travel, but here is what would tip me in that direction.

If I was traveling with someone else and we had specific activities we wanted to do in each location that involved more than the free time allowed on a guided tour.
If transportation logistics made a tour bus a better option than independent travel because public transportation links were not very efficient.
If the itinerary was particularly attractive in terms of the locations the tour goes.

I don't think price would be a deciding factor. I recognize the value offered on the Rick Steves guided tours by having the guide, 1/2 the dinners, and admissions paid for. Yes, you can definitely travel cheaper. Yes, you can definitely have a wonderful trip. It won't be the same experience as a tour, but that may be just fine with you.

Posted by
56 posts

We've taken both kinds of tours. And we have traveled independently many times. If we have our own itinerary that is not covered by a fully guided tour, the My Way is nice since it takes care of the stuff that just takes up time like arranging for hotels and transportation. You don't spend much time with the group at all, except on the bus between destinations. You decide what to do, how to spend your days when not on the bus, where to get meals. The fully guided is better for when you either don't have a lot of things you plan to do and would like someone to take you to the stuff that most people enjoy, or if you want to see the things that are already included on that tour. The convenience of having the admissions paid and appointments made and local guides booked can really be worth it. We've enjoyed My Way tours when we had certain museums and off the wall places we wanted to go to, and enjoyed Fully Guided when we were content just to go where the tour led us. And of course we still take trips (well, we will again some day soon!) on our own, too.

Posted by
358 posts

As I have now done both, maybe I can give you some feedback.

After more than several RS guided tours I found that I was relying more on the tour itinerary and not doing enough planning on my own, so last year I did the MyWay Italy tour. I totally enjoyed planning my own days but also having to not worry about hotels or transportation. My group and tour manager were wonderful and there were several dinners together and happy hours. As I was by myself, I figured that I would be on my own for most meals but I had more invitations to join people then on any tour before. Someone mentioned that the thought the cost savings might not be that great and in truth, I probably spent as much but I did things that I wanted to do. I got lost a lot more, especially in Rome, than I might have with a group but that was part of the adventure. The tour manager was available each morning to help with things - he helped me get train tickets from lake Como to Milan as I had tickets to the Last Supper - but almost everyone on the tour knew what they were doing so I don't think he had to help with much planning. It was fun getting together at breakfast and hearing everyone`s plans for the day or meeting a few people for dinner and sharing what we all did.

In the future, I will continue to do both. I really want to do the MyWay Alpine and France but my friends that I usually travel with prefer the guided ones as they aren't into planning as much as I am though i may have changed their minds.

Hope this helps you in your decisions.

Posted by
5 posts

We've enjoyed 2 My Way Tours - Italy and Spain - and are signed up for France in Sept (but expecting that will be postponed to next year) and as one would expect, we love the My Way Tour format! To have the logistics of in-country travel and central hotels already booked for us allows me to plan activities we want to do with the help of the RS guidebook and this forum and skip those that do not hold our interest. Our Tour Manager gave us excellent advice the first morning in Madrid to ride the regional train to El Escorial and take a local taxi to Valley of the Fallen. The taxi fare was very close to what he suggested and negotiating the return/pickup with a driver that spoke no English and us no Spanish was an experience we would never have experienced without a day away from the group. We especially like that we can eat when and what we want to eat. We are "early dinner" folks and more on the "light side" and "light volume" for dinner. We've joined in on most of the group happy hours and last night dinners, but we'd prefer a lighter cafe dinner at 6 or 7 than a heavy restaurant dinner at 9. We also like the flexibility to just sit in a cafe (or streetside) with a drink and snack and people watch or take an afternoon break at the hotel before venturing out again for the afternoon and evening. We've also enjoyed going with a few others on the tour when our plans meshed especially in Rome and it's fun to see fellow tour members through out the day and learn what interests them. With our flexible schedule, we've even shared a sight or two or joined with them for a few hours or for a meal. The My Way Tour format offers the best of logistical planning done for us and activity planning for us to do.

Posted by
766 posts

Hi. I like the alpine areas and have taken the guided Munich, Salzburg, Vienna tour (2x) plus the Best of Switzerland tour. I have traveled through the area on my own, often on the way to or from a guided tour. I especially enjoy the corridor from Verona to Munich.

I work and usually have a limited time available for a trip. Generally, I like the structure of a tour for putting me in the location where I want to be and for taking care of transportation and lodging. A good guide is a fantastic opportunity to learn, as was the case this past December with Rolinka in my second time on MSV. I like to balance the structure of time and place with forays on my own either by arriving a day or so early or going on my own after.

Given my inclination for the alpine area and my ability to speak German (and I really need the practice I get venturing a bit on my own) and balancing that with my need for some structure (work vaca days), My Way Alpine was a perfect solution for me. And, it is on my list for a repeat sign-up. After my several ventures with a group and solo, I have a growing list of to-dos that I am eager to try on the next My Way Alpine (hope it is not too far in the future).

Also, tours change. I have had my share of visiting Hallstatt - had a great time and am happy now to skip the crowds. When I did My Way Alp., we stayed in Bolzano. Now I am looking forward to staying in Alpe di Siusi. I enjoyed the Matterhorn, but seriously doubt whether I would have gotten there while travelling solo - not to mention that train ride for the bus! So, while my exposure has been limited, I would say My Way has worked for me. We had a fun group who explored on their own but then we also found ourselves dining as a group. I am looking forward to repeating the experience. Hope this sheds some light for you.