Are there any experienced independent travellers who have gone on this tour? I believe in the "back door" philosophy and I've been an independent traveller for about as long as Rick Steves has. I've lived in Guatemala, Mexico and Italy. I will already be in Rome this winter, but have never been to Sicily, which is why I was thinking of taking this tour in February 2015. Do you think a usually independent traveller would fit in and enjoy a Rick Steves Tour?
Absolutely, yes. I've traveled independently all over Europe and continue to value that freedom. But I'm also continually impressed with how much fun our groups have together and me with them. The tour is nicely balanced by having key sightseeing transportation organized while maintaining quite a few free afternoons and evenings. You're also free to opt out of specific activities, as long as you tell your guide ahead and don't miss the bus leaving town. Bus time will include some lectures or discussions, but also time for reading/headphones/naps. Many people who choose the Sicily tour are experienced travelers.
Grazie mille for your reply.
As a many times member of those groups Laura mentions, I can tell you she is just exactly right. And about half of my trips to Europe have consisted of independent travel. I have to say, the Sicily tour leaped right to the top of my favorite tours after I took it in Feb. 2013. It has a wonderful balance of free and structured time and as Laura says, you can choose to opt out of any of the structured activities in which you don't feel like participating. For that matter, you can even get advice from your guide as to what alternatives you might be considering. I love the idea of being treated as an adult who can actually have a choice as to how to spend my tour time!