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BOE 14 Day Tour on August 22nd

Hi guys! I'm a young solo traveler going on my first ever Rick Steves Tour! I'm super excited, but also a bit anxious! If there's any advice you can give, I would greatly appreciate it! Also, I've made plans to go paragliding in Lauterbrunnen on our free day! Has anyone ever done that over there? If so, what was your experience like? Thank you in advance!

Posted by
377 posts

Have fun. Pack light. Recognize that you’ll be progressing at a tour pace rather than a vacation pace - very active schedule. You’re already planning for the free time. Learn whatever you can from the guide for making the most of the tour (and future personal travel). Prepare to meet (engage) everyone on tour and prepare for a range of social interactions and dynamics. Have fun. Accomplish what you set out to achieve. Have fun.

Posted by
198 posts

Realize you won’t see everything, and spend time just absorbing—you can always return.
If you can get there a day or two early it helps. Rome is amazing. When in Italy (or whenever you find it) eat gelato and other local treats. If your tour guide arranges a gondola ride, consider it. Ours got us a group rate with 3 gondolas and a singer.
Have fun!

Posted by
2216 posts

Great advice above. I would only add that while I myself didn’t go paragliding, I had a friend who did. He was on the same tour as you’re taking and said it was among the single most awesome experiences he had ever had. It was his first time and he wasn’t a youngster, like brothers on our first family tour. They were late teen somethings and felt the same way.

Posted by
5710 posts

When we did a similar tour (it was the 21 day BOE) some years ago, one of our tour mates went paragliding, and said it was just amazing. He had a wonderful time. It was the highlight of the trip.

Tips: most of the folks on your tour will be couples and older than you, but almost everyone we've met on RSE tours is warm and welcoming. Don't be shy about joining other tour members during meals and free time, and for sure don't be shy about accepting invitations from others for you to join them.

Posted by
5 posts

What a coincidence. I just finished writing my answer about paragliding out of Mürren in another recent thread. The OP is not a fan of roller coaster rides and wanted to know about whether or not he/she will experience any G-force while paragliding. Cut-&-paste time: "Not a roller coaster fan here, but I totally had the BEST TIME paragliding out of Mürren a few weeks ago. It was one of the highlights of my several-country trip. I concur with what Rocket, Susan, and Nancy wrote about the experience. No drops. No G-force. So, all things considered, thumbs up for going for it. The pilot will ask you towards the end of the flight if you'd like him/her to do some stunts. That's when you decline, but, you can tell him/her that before you start your ride, as well. Surprisingly, I went for it. Not too bad, but gentle swirls, instead of corkscrews, would be more my speed. :-D At one point, I briefly piloted the paraglider. Yes! The pilot will take videos and pictures during the flight and, of course, it's an extra fee for them, but well worth it. It brings me joy looking at/watching them. Your family and friends will get a kick seeing them, too.

It was my first time paragliding and, oh, what a first time it was! It was so peaceful (and epic, really) soaring through the sky in the Swiss Alps. The Swiss Alps! For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, since there are so many more countries to experience. And if I don't ever paraglide again, at least I did it in one of the most breathtaking and majestic places on Earth."

As. you can tell, I highly recommend it, sarmenteros1! As for the tour, excited for you! Others have already given great advice. Adding just a couple: You will have plenty of opportunities -- during meal times, specifically -- to get to know everyone in the group. Try, in the beginning, to sit with different people during those times and just have fun getting to know each person/couple. As in all group situations, you'll gravitate to some people more than others and that's perfectly normal. I've only been on one RS Tour, but, from what I've experienced and from what I've read on this forum, RS tour members tend to be really friendly, in general. So, I don't think you'll have a difficult time connecting with people.

Read the RS guide book and plan accordingly, but don't necessarily stick to your plans for your free time as things can change. For example, I didn't plan on paragliding in the Swiss Alps, but my plans changed; and I'm glad it did! You do not have to participate in all the tour activities or group-initiated activities. I opted out of a couple; the hikes mainly, but not the 'big ticket items'. :-) I also didn't go to a couple of smaller museums that I had booked for myself before the tour, because, well, plans change. So, don't stress. Be flexible. Go with the flow. Enjoy the amazing experience of a Rick Steves Tour!