My Way Europe in 14 Days Tour

I was so excited to see the 2015 tours listed today. I've settled on the My Way Europe in 14 Day Tour. I was hoping it would be closer to the beginning of June, but I realize I'm good with the June 22 date. I'm just so happy to make this dream a reality! My son and I will be making this tour. He will be 18 years old and just graduated from high school. Back 'in the day' we lived on a small farm that only got 3 tv channels and one of them was PBS. He learned to say "Rick Steves" at an early age!
This is our first trip to Europe. Any and all advice would be welcome.

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
943 posts

What a great graduation present!
Now you can start looking at packing tips and touring suggestions. See if your son wants to do some of the research -- Rick Steves DVD's from the library ??

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22011 posts

What a great opportunity for a grad trip for you and your son! I'm sure you'll both have a wonderful time and will have lifetime memories of the trip.

One bit of advice I'd recommend, is to carefully research all the sights you want to see in each of the places you visit. That's the best way to maximize your sightseeing and to ensure that you see the sights that interest both of you the most so that you don't waste any time. I'd suggest also planning for a bit of free time so you can just "enjoy" the places you're seeing. As you're responsible for planning all your touring on a My Way tour, doing your homework will pay off.

For planning touring, check your local Library for Guidebooks as they provide a tremendous amount of information. As this is your first trip to Europe, I'd also suggest reading Europe Through The Back Door, as that provides a lot of good information on "how" to travel well in Europe and covers some of the differences you'll find.

I'd also recommend arriving a few days before your tour begins to get over jet lag and "acclimatize" to being in Europe. It's easiest if you book the same hotel used by the tour. You could also plan on staying in Rome a few days after the tour ends to allow a bit of extra sightseeing.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

Posted by Terry
13 posts

I've taken both the guided (with my sister) and un-guided (with two 14 y/o granddaughters) tours and completely agree with Ken - research options before you arrive for the My Way tour, and try to arrive a day or two early. The RS "un-guide" who was with us on our My Way tour provided very little information/suggestions for each stop so we would have floundered a bit had we not planned ahead. I will say, it was her first solo My Way tour, so she may have been struggling herself. We had a wonderful coach pilot (bus driver) who took us under his wing and made the trip noteworthy. I thought I had planned well (advance tickets for the Vatican, Eiffel Tower, etc) however in Switzerland I found that several tour members had pre-arranged zip line adventures. I wished I'd known about that! Getting lost in Venice, taking the subway in Paris, soaring on the sky tram in Switzerland, and being humbled by St. Peters at the Vatican...I wish you both the time of your lives!

Posted by Rosie
Rick Steves' Europe
114 posts

How exciting for you and your son! As Ken said, the Europe Through the Back Door book is great for first time travelers.

Posted by joshstandon
28 posts

Hi. I am considering this tour since some friends will be taking it next year.

I have done several fully guided RS tours and overall find them a good value. I enjoy getting a museum pass, or metro pass that I can use even during our free time. It helps keep the value of the tour high. However, I am having some doubts about the MyWay Tours. The tours are about $1000 cheaper than a similar (but not identical) tour with a guide.

If you have taken both kinds of tour I would be interested in how you feel about the value of the fully guided RS tours versus the My Way tours.

Thanks.

Posted by jeff.bock
9 posts

Here is what we learned when we took the same trip last year.

  • Use a Credit Card that has no international travel charges. Very little cash was needed, however if you do want to bring some check out Wells Fargo Bank they have low exchange fees. Also you can use local ATM's
  • To avoid surprises check what your cell phone company will be charging you for using your phone. We ended up renting one from cellomobile
  • Pack lite and pack early, re-look at what you pack and remove those items that you "may use". You can buy anything you might need there.
  • Bring lite clothing that dries quickly, and can be washed in your room in a sink. If it gets cold layering is your friend. We used Campsuds and a mini clothes line.
  • MoleSkin, MoleSkin MoleSkin, this well know hikers friend is the best thing there is for blisters. Unhappy feet, unhappy person.
  • When in Europe do as the Europeans do. Have an open mind and experience the local foods,
  • Lastly HAVE FUN!!!