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Planning a trip to Europe in Oct 2019

I would like to plan my first RS trip to London next October, it will be my husband and I, and would like some tips on packing and deals for flying and such. We live near St. Louis, MO. Also, I have flat feet and we both have knee problems - not serious ones, but still - and would like to know the best advice for shoes. Thanks in advance. I am super nervous because we have only flown overseas once and that was for our honeymoon three years ago.

Posted by
2333 posts

Spend some time looking over the tours on this website if you are not 100% focused on London. . They are graded according to activity level (upper right hand on each tour). Maybe don’t shoot for the hardest one first. Also,check the weather that time of year-you may want to focus on tours that will be less wet and cold. London in October can have iffy weather. Each tour description has a weather section as well. Don’t hesitate to call the tour office, they are helpful. But, key to your enjoyment will be your physical condition. Flat feet and knee problems don’t say anything about your ability to walk, climb, carry luggage, etc. Good shoes will help, but if you are not walking several miles per day, or cannot because of your conditions a RS tour may not be for you. If you just need to increase your activity level, have at it! We loved the RS London tour last year but it’s one of the more active tours. Yes, a lot of walking (one day I clocked 14 miles, not all at once of course). But we had some folks who were not in the best of shape, one with a cane. They managed.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, I can walk up to 10 thousand steps a day if I am really pushing myself...and as long as I am not standing long. I plan on doing some exercise and such to build up my tolerance before the trip. My husband is more active than I am, I think he walks around 15 thousand steps a day give or take a few. Thanks again. I am pretty stoked.

Posted by
46 posts

There is a monthly meeting of RS alums in St Louis at a Panera in Sunset Hills. Usually mid morning on the second or third Saturday of the month. Check out the Travel Group Meetings section of this travel forum periodically as the organizers provide a notice usually a couple of weeks in advance. They can probably answer most of your questions and offer some good advice. I have never attended, but I am a big fan of the RS tours.

Posted by
7681 posts

While I have not been to the St Louis meet up, the one we have here in N. Idaho is fun! In general they are very casual and the folks can help you with trying to figure out the best way to work flights from St. Louis in to one of the London airports. I think there are some St. Louis area folks who have done the London tour. I'm friends on FB so I will PM her if she's not traveling. Anyway, most everyone that goes loves to talk travel and to help others figure out their plans!

Since you've got time, I'd bump up to 15,000 at least once a week and add in some flights of stairs or hills every week. It's not hilly in London but there are stairs!! I've not been on this tour but I've visited London on my own and on another RS tour and I'll tell you I usually wind up with 12,000-18,000 steps a day. You don't have to do this much ahead of time but trust me when I say that you'll have more fun the better shape you are in!

Do go to a good shoe store as suggested above. Do it now so you will have time to see what works for you as you bump up activity.

The international flight will be easier than you think it might be! If you have to change planes somewhere, do give yourselves plenty of transit time. I usually want at least 2 hours going over and 3 hours coming back to give myself time to clear Immigration.

Plan to arrive at least 1 day before the tour starts, 2 if you can do it. There is PLENTY to do in London to keep you busy!

Posted by
179 posts

I’m also in St. Louis, and I also have flat feet, and yet I’m also an accomplished hiker of European pilgrimage trails.

My suggestion is go to Comfort Shoe Specialists in Manchester. They’ll assess your feet and help you pick out a shoe or an insert that will help. I went there 7 years ago and left with a pair of inserts that changed walking from torturous to my main hobby (Birkenstock inserts, specifically).

They also, obviously, sell shoes, but you may also consider going to a store with specialists as opposed to a general shoe store. Off the top of my head, REI, Alpine Shop, or any running store. Their salespeople will know the products well.

PM me if you’d like.

Posted by
9419 posts

Jazz recommendation of The Walking Company is an excellent one. I swear by their orthotic inserts in every show I wear. I always take two pairs of shoes: one athletic and one a leather Mary Jane that I call my "dressy shoes." I like to trade them off, especially if I've walked all day in the athletic shoe it's nice to put on another pair at night.

We pack light: 22" rollaboard and a daypack. 3 pants, 3 tees, 2 blouses, a cardigan, and a light jacket should serve you for October in London. We spent two weeks there the end of October 2017 and had almost no rain!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks. I appreciate all the help. I am hoping over Christmas to get a pair of inserts and a new pair of shoes since mine are about finished. I will definitely look up that meetup group.

Posted by
683 posts

Hello! We would love to meet you at our next travel group meeting. We next meet on saturday, October 20th at 10 am at the Sunset Hills Panera. I actually did the RS Best of London tour in October 2018!

Posted by
406 posts

Enjoy planning is half the fun. I did notice you say you can’t stand for long? There is a lot of standing. In most museums or walking tours while you listen to the guide. Just wanted you to be prepared. We did this tour a while back & while the itinerary has changed some is similar & we enjoyed it.