When choosing a tour (especially if you haven't been to most European countries), do you prefer to choose a new country, or simply whatever is most fun/appealing to you, even if it's a country (or even city) you've been to before? I can see the appeal of both -- it's nice to do things you've previously done and enjoyed, but it's also interesting to visit a new place.
I find my happy spot is where I do both. For example, I am planning an upcoming trip to London, Iceland, and Berlin. I have been to London before but not the other two. I am looking forward to hitting the things I missed in London last time while still justifying a trip across the pond with new countries.
I usually will go with what's appealing even if it's a country I've been to before. City-wise, it would totally depend on the city and how much time I'd spent there. When I first returned to European travel about 6 years ago after having not traveled overseas since the 80's I did do a tour to London. I'd been a lot in the 80's (an aunt lived there) but my knowledge was seriously rusty and I really enjoyed the historical context of the tour.
Now this is pretty pathetic but if I'm unsure about a new country (or new part of a country) I'll bargain with myself and say...OK if you do tour "X" you could add time ahead in London and time on the back end in Paris, hahaha!
Do you have some tours you are considering? Or just thinking?
editing to add: I just saw your other thread on Village Italy vs Adriatic....
We do a mixture, independent travel, not with tours. We enjoy returning to places we have enjoyed in the past. For example, we have made four trips to Tuscany's Chianti Region. There are other places we have seen but have no desire to return to, Central Europe is one of those areas, Vienna, etc. I could go back to London and Amsterdam every year.
And then the not yet visited places constantly call out to us so we include them too. We tend to focus on Asia and Europe.
Village Italy and Adriatic are my top choices. I forgot to mention in my other thread that the Switzerland tour is too. However, having already visited a few of the cities only a couple years ago, it's a little redundant. (Not that I wouldn't mind visiting them again, especially Murren! 3 nights and fogged in each one of them, so, as we say at the slots, "I'm due!" lol). But what's not redundant -- Zermatt, Lugano, Engleberg, looks amazing!
And of course, chocolate and cheese are good anytime anywhere.
I have not done the tours, but like others, when I travel, I like to overlap new and somewhere familiar, especially for a first stop just to relax for a day or two and fell like I do not need to do "major sites".
I suppose on a tour, you having been in a locale before makes you the expert (other than the guide), however, from what I gather some do the same tour multiple times over the years, so you may not be the only one.
That's a good point. It is nice to have a day of downtime in a familiar place when first arriving.
We were the "experts" on a tour once (well, not so much an expert as we were simply ones who actually read our guidebook and knew what we wanted to do). We were prepared, knew what we wanted to see and made reservations for whatever required it (much to our guide's happiness), but I felt like some other members' saw it in a not so positive light.. Oh well lol.
Like some others here, I most enjoy a mixture of both new and old. Even when revisiting a particular country or place (especially larger cities), I try to see my favorite sites plus I'm always on the lookout for a new place and/or experience. Whenever re-visiting, I am in a different place in my life and experience everything through "different" eyes. This is especially true when touring with friends who are new to the area. As regards tours, I took the RS Sicily tour twice. The itineraries had changed slightly since the first tour (late February visit) and then a few years later in late March, which fortuitously included both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. What an awesome experience that was-and when choosing dates, we didn't realize this would be such a wonderful and unique way to celebrate the Easter holidays! I even sometimes take a tour to countries/ cities I have spent significant non tour time in. Again, seeing everything with a different perspective.
After my last 2 trips, to Israel (in March) and the RS Turkey Tour last October, I now want to go on the RS Scandinavia tour or the RS St. Petersburg Tallinn Helsinki Tour for 2020! Entirely new places for me. Although a friend is just finishing up the RS Eastern France Tour which goes to towns I’ve always wanted to visit.
So I would say I always want to go to London or Paris or Rome but I hear the siren call of new places. I will make a decision sometime before the end of November and it will probably be somewhere new to me.
Great question! At this point still discovering new places to visit. This year it's Budapest>>Vienna>> Cesky Krumlov>>Prague>>Amsterdam. It's our "WWll Jewish history journey." Considering going back to Sicily and revisiting some favorite areas but adding other towns we missed the first time.
For a tour, we like to go to countries we haven’t visited, especially itineraries that aren’t as convenient by public transportation. Then on subsequent trips, we return to explore more towns in that country, along with revisiting favorites for several more days.
I see you’re considering the Adriatic tour. We seriously considered this one a couple of years ago, but I didn’t have enough vacation time to add the extra days we wanted to the front & back of the trip. I think that itinerary is the perfect example of the value of taking the tour per the transportation provided, besides all of the value from learning from your guide, maximizing your time, etc.
We usually go for 2 weeks and three weekends. Traveling somewhat slowly, we try to take in three cities/regions. That's two new places and one familiar place. Most of the larger cities in Europe, we've been to 4-5 times over the years.
If we were happening to go to familiar cities mainly, we'd most likely catch an unfamiliar city on the way back. And it would be dramatically different. Like visiting Rome, Florence and Lisbon. Or, Munich, Vienna and Copenhagen.
Been lucky. Did most of my European travel pre- child and then started again when he was 17. So even places we'returned to' were newish to me. Our more recent trips were a mix- a few days in a familiar place but the bulk of the trip somewhere new.
So many places - so little time .
Since I am newly free to travel, and so many places I have not experienced, there are places I want to see, but Amsterdam and Vienna hold a special place in my heart. and least I forget Lake Halstatt! Costa Rica this fall, hopefully eastern France or maybe Australia! so many places to see and revisit! Just enjoy your journeys and adventures!!
We are always tempted to go somewhere entirely new because there are so many places we want to visit, but then again almost every place we've been we would love to go back! So we do tend to add on days before or after somewhere we've been before. We are thinking that if we do the Adriatic tour we might spend some time in Venice before.
This question was "Topic 1" at our tables during the "Test Drive a Tour Guide" reunion in Edmonds, Washington this past January. The travelers at this portion of the reunion were former tour members from the RS French, Spanish and Portuguese tours of 2018. My guess is that the average age of those present would be mid-60ish, although there were younger and older participants.
This seemed to be an "age based" opinion, with the younger travelers eager to "see it all" while the older among us were more focused on the reality that they may not have time to revisit some of their former favorites if they continued to add to their "untraveled list".
As someone closer to the upper age group, I shared that opinion. Would I trade Rome for a revisit to Budapest? Would I trade Berlin for another exposure to Stockholm? My answer is yes.
We have been to almost everywhere in Europe we want to see. Most major cities we've been to a number of times.
We're leaving tomorrow finishing up our "never seen" list--two unfamiliar cities and one familiar city (Paris) with our 7 year old granddaughter.
I’ve got the same dilemma. I’ve narrowed next year to three trips, Poland on my own, Israel by tour or a RS tour of Ireland. I’ve never been to Poland so that trip would be all new and full of trial: either win or error. Either way it should be exciting and fun. I’ve traveled to Israel before with a Pastor who does the best tours there in my opinion. The tour I’m considering takes me to places I’ve seen before but will also take me to Jordan’s Petra, Mt Nebo, Wadi Rum and a swim in the Red Sea which I have not seen. I’ve been to parts of Ireland on my own. The RS tour would take me to new places and places I’ve already seen and I won’t have to worry about driving to get there. Another consideration I made by selecting these three trips is that with all three I can get to my vacation starting point by a direct flight which rarely happens.
We selected our last tour (Village Italy) based on the outstanding reviews, and the fact that it offered an in depth visit to a region of Italy. We have been to Italy five times (including two RS tours), and after the Village Italy tour agreed that it was time to explore other countries.
What I do is find the three things I absolutely MUST get done, and then I plan my trip around that. I try to always make sure there's something new. Say I'm going to spend two weeks in Germany, and I lived there four years and have been back multiple times. But I really want to see the Mercedes Museum, buy some Asbach in Rudesheim, and visit my old friend in Munich. That's what I make plans for. Then I build a second list of "stuff that might be nice" and, if time allows, I do some of that.
I wouldn't use a tour, because I am very comfortable getting around Europe on my own, but I can get sidetracked. Last time I was over I was just blowing off some cobwebs on the Autobahn when I decided to visit Regensburg, mainly because I hadn't been there in a long time. While eating lunch I noticed they were setting up for a fest, so I got a room and stayed for a couple days. It was great! I love not having a structured schedule (which is another reason tours and cruises drive me nuts.)
Another example, I took my boss, a mechanical engineer, to the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The local German guys left after a couple hours, but I couldn't get him out of the place. But it wasn't a big deal, we didn't have anything else that HAD to be done, and both of us had a good time. I've been kicked out of places a closing time because a really interesting place is where I lose track of time. You can't do that on a tour.
I can't understand people who build these super tight itineraries. (One of my brother's is like that.) If I have 3-4 days in Salzburg, or Salamanca, or Podunk, IL, I'm going to want to take a little time and sit and have a drink, eat something local, and enjoy the weather. And if there's nothing there to interest me, I don't want to have to hang around; to me that's the worst waste of time.