Background: my parents have asked me to look into some options for us to do a family trip in 2018. Priorities for us would be hiking/seeing beautiful mountains in Switzerland (the Alps are basically the only reason we're convincing my dad to leave the U.S.) and going to Austria because my mom is obsessed with the Sound of Music. My dad watches RS and has heard of the GAS tour and likes the idea of doing a RS tour. I did the Eastern Europe tour and loved it, but I'm less intimidated by independent travel than my parents are (they've never been to Europe) so I'm trying to figure out what would be the best way for us to get the most that we want to do for our time and money.
What I'm wondering is this; since we're not specifically interested in Germany at this time, I feel like doing the GAS tour might "waste" some of our time because of the first 3 days not being of particular importance to us. It also seems from the itinerary that most of the time in Switzerland is relatively unguided because you choose what hikes/activities you want to do based on your own interests and the weather. I know it's subjective, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has done GAS if you felt it was "worth" having a guide in Switzerland if all we really want to do there is hike and wander around anyway. We've hiked independently all over the U.S.
For me personally, I feel it might be a better use of our time to fly directly to Switzerland and spend 5 or 6 days there on our own before transferring to Munich to do the Munich, Salzburg and Vienna tour. I think we would get more out of that half of the tour and benefit more from a guide there to help explain history, recommend places to visit, etc. However, I'd love to hear any arguments for/against either option. We're all in good shape and I know it would also be possible to plan a completely independent trip, but we all enjoy the RS shows and like the idea of walking tours and learning from a guide, which is why doing a tour appeals to us.
I realize that no time in Europe is ever a "waste" unless you make it so, but I do want to try to make the best use of our limited vacation time that I can. (Dad still works, so we're limited to 2 weeks) Any opinions or advice would be appreciated. I plan to take whatever advice I get here, print out both tour itineraries and then we can have a family meeting to discuss our options. Thanks!