Anyone have info on this family trip they've been on this summer? Recommendations for pre and post trip stays? Thank you in advance!
Is this your first trip to Europe?
If not, where have you already been?
How much 'extra' time do you have?
More information would indeed be helpful. Especially how much European travel you have already had.
If this is your first trip, or even if it isn't, a pre stay of a few days in London can never be a bad thing. And since you would be flying on a multicity ticket and likely flying out of Rome, then ending with several days in Rome would be an easy fit.
Info on your family group would be helpful as well. How many of you, ages and family interests? Off top of my head, I'll suggest several days in London before the tour, and extra days in Florence after it ends. Firenze itself is a wealth of treasures (if they interest you) but it's also a good base for some easy day trips.
I myself traveled to England through Europe to Egypt and Israel in 1995 for my 21st birthday gift from my parents from May through August of that summer. Now married and with a 17 year old daughter we will travel next summer for our first "big" overseas trip as a family. My husband and daughter have never been to Europe, I'm so excited for them to see so many of the places I've seen and see them together as a family. We will have 3 full days in London before we begin the trip and 3 full days on the Florence end. I traveled with a Contiki tour group in that summer of 1995 and it was crazy, lol, and I was "only" 21. I saw so much, truly unbelievable, but quite topical. When I started watching Rick Steve's programming and reading the books, I yearned for a more intimate experience, "the next time around". We love people and culture and meeting folks and talking and eating and learning more about where we are. I want this experience to be more nuanced for my family, for sure. I have not been overseas since that summer, so I'm sure 28 years has seen tremendous change. Thanks for your replies! Lisa
Sounds like you have your pre- and post- trip stays already set (three days in each London and Florence, based on your response above, correct?). Are you looking for suggestions of things to do during those six days that are not on the tour? The tour hardly touches London so you shouldn't have difficulty filling time - Westminster Abbey, any of dozens of London Walks, Churchill War Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, National Gallery, catch a show, day trips galore (Stonehenge, Greenwich, etc). Others can weigh in on things for Florence, as I haven't been there recently.
Reviewing good guidebooks and travel DVDs (see your local library) should be high on your list. Lots of things to see and do around London including day trips to Bath, Stonehenge. etc. If your trip ends in Florence I would move onto Rome and come home from Rome. Again the possibilities are also endless for Rome. The local TIs - both locations - can hook you up local walking tours or even bus tours. The Appian Way on a Sunday along with a cat-a-comb visit is good. Pompeii is a little far for an easy day trip but Ostia Antica makes for a nice trip from Rome. It is just a matter of how much time do you have to spend.
Sorry for being unclear, yes, we are going to have 3 extra days on each end of the tour. I guess what I meant to ask was whether or not we should book our first 3 nights sleeps at the hotel where we will be staying for the RS tour? Or should we book those night someplace else, like a B&B? And the same on the back end after Florence?
Thanks again to all for your insight!
Ah, gotcha. Personally? I'd stay put. Moving accommodations eats a certain amount of time and energy. Unpacking and packing up again just once in each city is my kind of easy. :O)
I think it depends on a number of things. You may want to spend your first 3 nights in London in a completely different part of town from the tour hotel, especially if there’s an area you’d like to get to know or a part of the city where several of your pre-tour activities will take place. When we did the RS Eastern Europe tour in 2018, we arrived in Prague several days early and stayed in a wonderful b&b in the lesser quarter, before moving to the tour hotel in Old Town. I’m really glad we decided to do this! We got an entirely different vibe (quieter, less touristy) in the lesser quarter, were able to walk to a number of places we wanted to see, and had the most wonderful B&B hosts, who oriented us to the city, helped us get dinner reservations at local restaurants, etc. The RS hotel was fine, but our B&B experience was one of the highlights of our trip.
Florence is a very compact city, so you might want to stay put in the RS hotel at the end of the tour.
Another question— are you committed to do the family tour? I’ve never been on one (and I know many people really love them). Of course they can have young people of all ages, but my sense is that they’re geared for younger kids— maybe more the 8-12 age.
We took the RS Best of Europe in 21 Days tour in 2014, when my daughter was 15. We chose it because of the itinerary, and also because our daughter loves museums, so we didn’t think she’d be bored by a more adult itinerary. Because the tour was mid summer, it turned out that 10 of the 26 people on the tour were between ages 14 and 19. Of course there’s no guarantee of this, but if you’ve chosen the family tour primarily so that your daughter may have peers on the tour, you might want to reconsider, as she may be the oldest. If there’s another tour that works for your dates and you are thinking of switching, you could even check ahead with the RS office to see if any other teens are signed up.
I don’t think you will go wrong either way, just wanted to throw that option out there.