We're planning to take the Sept 25 My Way Alpine trip and wondered if anyone can give us an idea of how much to budget for meals? Does the overall cost roughly equate to a full tour? I realize it depends on where we choose to go and what sights we see as well as the food. We've never done a RS tour before and don't quite know what to expect cost-wise.
Rick's guidebook listings will always address budget meal options and supermarkets. The recommended tour packet that you can buy with your $100 tour member coupon includes a guidebook that specifically fits the Alpine My Way tour. Some chapters of this book, such as Lauterbrunnen and Chamonix, include price quotes in the restaurant listings, while others don't. In small-town Lauterbrunnen in expensive Switzerland, for instance, the price of a main course at two recommended hotel restaurants ranges from 18 to 35 CHF, while a pizza is listed at 16 and another place sells burgers for 15.
At the start of Rick's regular Switzerland book, a reasonable daily budget summary allows $25 for lunch, $40 for dinner, and $5 for chocolate or indicates that "students and tightwads" might spend $30/day for supermarket meals and snacks. That's higher than other stops, such as Italy and Austria, where he suggests an average of $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. Beer not included.
Since European restaurants all post menus outside (but not online), you'll know the prices before you go in.
If Chani doesn't see this thread, send her a private message. She's a forum regular who took this tour in 2015.
This was one of the trips that I kept a detailed record of spending. For the 11 days of the tour, I spent a total of €470 on all food and drinks, including snacks and Swiss chocolate (shared with the group). Lunches were negligible, mostly snacks or grocery purchases. For instance, the supermarket in Hallstaat made lovely sandwiches to order. Mine cost €1.60. Dinners usually included a main course, a first course and/or dessert, and 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks. In Austria, Germany, and Italy, the range was €16-27, including tips (about 10%). In Switzerland €35-40 for fondue dinners at the hotel. In Chamonix, I picked up groceries for the first night, then splurged on a €51 farewell dinner.
The only expensive "sights" were some of the cable cars. Zugspitz was €40, Chamonix (2-days) was €64.50. Sadly, zero for Lauterbrunnen - the mountains were so fogged in, there was no reason to go higher than Gimmelwald and Murren.
As others have stated, the prices can vary. We took this tour last September. On our travel days, we stopped at rest stops for lunch so you have a range you can spend -- eat as much or as little as you want. I do recall the meal at the rest stop in Switzerland was definitely more (and with fewer options I seem to recall) than the options in Austria. One couple on our tour often shared an order, or ordered soup at the "hut" while the rest of us ordered more substantive items. If you are a beer drinker, beer was usually cheaper than ordering water at meals. No one on our tour went up the Zugspitze as the weather was very bad; we had no interest in going inside the castles, so our day there was very inexpensive, but included a wonderful walk/hike to and from the castles. What we liked about the tour, and probably all My Way tours are this way, there was so much flexibility about where you ate and how much you spent on extra activities.
Thank you everyone for the very detailed responses. This is a 25th anniversary trip for us and we are looking for low stress. We've been choosing between the My Way Alps tour or the full Best of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It's our first RS tour of any kind.
Further recommendations welcome. :)
I would always budget more than you expect. Since it's a special anniversary for you it would be nice to budget a bottle of wine or two during your dinners! Many stops (as others have mentioned) are at rest stops where it is up to you how much your spend. As an aside, while stopping at the rest stop in Italy we purchased a bottle of wine that cost 16.90 euros.....the same bottle of wine back home was over $75! We came at or under budget for most of our trips and I don't think we ever charged anything. Getting money out of ATMs and paying cash was nice since we didn't have any "bills" when we returned home!
The tour you are taking is probably the only "my way" tour we are considering. The stops are magical!
I have nothing useful to add except that it's always best to budget a little extra, just in case you find the perfect place that demands that you eat there! ;-)
Also, I think someone mentioned how inexpensive sandwiches are in certain places. They're also sometimes HUGE. You may be able to split one for a cheap lunch!
And happy anniversary! We're celebrating our 35th later this year with our first RS tour as well!
If you are still weighing the Alpine tour against the Best of GAS, I'd encourage you to choose the latter if you want a European experience. The Alpine tour is more geared to hiking than to experiencing Europe.
The Alpine tour is more geared to hiking than to experiencing Europe.
That was not my experience with My Way Alpine. I was on this tour the first month it was offered. I know the overnight locations have changed in one instance, but I did not find this tour to be geared to hiking, though there certainly were opportunities to hike or walk. This was one of the tours where I thought the group bonded really, really well. There was always someone to join for dinner or other activities. In fact, many members of the group frequently found themselves in the same location without prior planning. I recall I set out for a walk on my own in Hallstatt and then took a stroll with others in Muerren. Of course, there were not the usual scheduled museum visits, but we all undertook the activities we wanted to. In Salzburg, I investigated the local Way of St. James; others bicycled or took part in Sound of Music activities. In the Alto Adige, I spent the day in Bolzano. Anyway, I did not feel bound to hike. Our last day in Chamonix, a tour member and I shared some wine on the hotel lawn and watched river rafters go by. How wonderful: wine, Mont Blanc, rushing river...
Arlo, I cannot recall what my dining expenditures were. But I do have fond memories of the Greek restaurant in Fuessen and the outdoor eatery by the lake near Hohenschwangau. One of my concerns with the guided tours (have done a few) is the dining experiences. I like a bit more freedom or choice.
I have not been on GAS, though it looks interesting. I enjoyed My Way Alpine and did not find it to be mostly hiking. However, either or both are sure to be enjoyable.