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Early morning start times?

I'm considering the Holland/Belgium tour and the My Way alpine tour.

I can't find breakfast or activity start times on the itineraries, but I assume the day gets started fairly early on the guided tours. Being a person who likes to sleep in, this could be a deal breaker. Any advice welcome!

Posted by
80 posts

I haven't been on the tours you mentioned, but usually tour day starts early, 730a-830a. Not sure how the schedule works on the "My Way" tours, as you set your own itinerary, but might have to get up early on travel days.

Posted by
2788 posts

Send your question to the RS Travel Desk people to see if they have any tour specific information. I have been on 13 RS tours and the start times have varied from day to day and tour to tour. Mostly, the first group activity, being a city walk or a bus departure, happens between 8:00 and 8:30 with occasional start times of 7:30. I sleep in until about 8:00 at home but forget that on tour unless you want to skip breakfast which I have never done.

Posted by
9692 posts

When you are in cities it is sometimes a bit later, like 830 as the museums usually don't open until 10. In my experience breakfast is usually at 7 in most tour hotels. Usually they have trouble getting things together before that. In Switzerland (Hotel Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen Valley) our guide wanted breakfast at 615 so those of us who wanted to go up the Schilthorn could get to the gondola for the cheaper rate at 730. They served breakfast as he requested but had not had their bread delivery yet!

I am an early riser so none of the times bothered me. I am not sure the RS tours are really sleep-in kind of experiences except on free days. As mentioned the My Way you could probably do that except on transit days but you also might miss a lot!

Posted by
3620 posts

Not a morning person myself, but on six RS tours the starting times have not been bad at all. Usually 8:00 or 8:30 with an occasional 7:30. One time we were out for an early morning walk and one of the large main stream tour groups was waiting with baggage for the bus at 6:30! Never heard of such with a RS tour.

Posted by
526 posts

I took Belgium/Netherlands tour last April. I went back to look for pictures of the daily schedules. These were our breakfast/departure times. The time for breakfast was when it was available. Not a requirement to be in dining room and eating at that precise time.

Day 2
Breakfast--7:00
Departure--8:20

Day 3
Breakfast--7:00
Departure--8:30

Day 4
Breakfast--7:30
Departure--9:00

Day 5
Breakfast--7:30
Departure--9:35

Day 6
Breakfast--7:00
Departure--8:00

Day 7
Breakfast--7:30
Departure--9:00

Day 8
Breakfast--7:30
Departure--7:45

Day 9
Breakfast--7:00
Departure--8:45

Day 10
Breakfast--7:00
Departure--8:40

Posted by
6627 posts

On a day you are traveling from one destination to another, you can sleep on the bus. Another advantage of not having to drive or lead.

Posted by
14898 posts

On the Alpine tour, the bus departures were between 9.00 and 9.30. Only once there was an 8.30 departure. Most of our group were usually out early on non-bus days to get buses/lifts to sights and hikes.

Posted by
206 posts

Never heard anyone complain at all about morning start times. Usually always 8am or after before the bus would load or a tour would start. However, that said, if you take the Alpine tour, some of the most beautiful mountain views you will find are in the early mornings. I sure would not want to be sleeping late every morning and miss those views. I was out at daylight many mornings and Swiss alps are so amazing at that time of the day. Not something you need to do each day, but don't miss those chances and views at least a couple mornings.

Posted by
8293 posts

If the OP is a person who not only likes to sleep in, but must sleep in, then an organized tour is all wrong for him ( or her). One of my sons was like that.

Posted by
3491 posts

If your expectations for vacation are getting up late, having a leisurely breakfast and then slowly getting going for the day's activities -- RS Tours are not for you!! ;-)

These tours pack a lot into each day. Breakfasts at most of the hotels and B&B places we have stayed start early around 06:30 and the first activity of the day, whether walking to sites in that location or a bus ride onward, all happen around 08:30. A couple tours I took have had a few days where the departure was 09:00, but so far none later than that.

Oh, the bus will leave without you if you are late. It really will.

Posted by
524 posts

People I met on RS tours who liked to sleep in later often came down for breakfast at the last 30 minutes. They'll have a cup of coffee or juice, then take a piece of fruit and a breakfast roll/other and pack it in a baggie. They'll eat it on the bus. But this idea doesn't work well for days your group has a morning walking tour or you're off to Museum.

The earliest days departures for this tour are the days 6 and 8 when you are sight sighting in route to your next destination.
Day 2 is close to *815-820am departure as you're taking a train to Brussels for the day. The other mornings are 830-930 departure days. Day 5 is a free day so you could sleep in that day.

On Bus days the driver must stop after 2 hours. So you'll have another chance to buy a snack and beverage. Also, the drivers have water, beer, and some soda each day to buy on the bus. Also, as Stan said, you can nap on the bus.

The daily itinerary is designed to avoid the heavy tour crowds, congested traffic areas on the roadways. RS brand prides itself on avoiding the queue. Personally, I found it refreshing and appreciated not being overrun by other travelers.

Bruges was the only base where the bus could drop and pick us up closest to the hotel.
Whatever you decide just be downstairs and ready to go on time!

Posted by
13484 posts

Aside from start times on the tours, Europe is a very good place to get going early in the morning before the tourist hordes hit the streets. It's well worth changing a sleeping-in habit during the trip to take advantage of the golden hours when streets and squares are blissfully free of crowds: great time for pictures!

We're often up and pounding the streets before or shortly after sunrise to enjoy a relative bit of solitude and quiet before all heck breaks loose! :O)

Posted by
5784 posts

It's well worth changing a sleeping-in habit during the trip....

Easier at the end of a 14 day trip than the start for us North American West Coasters. I like to arrive several days ahead of active trips to let my body adjust to local time.

Posted by
11450 posts

Since you are looking at the My Way tours it may be different then regular tours, the days you are not travelling you are not !meeting a guide for activities so it would seem you could sleep in those days( and waste your precious time in bed lol) . You are on your own so only need to worry about travel days time of bus departure. And missing breakfasts, most hotels seem to stop breakfasts by 10 ,,,