1. His trips teach you to travel in Europe if you want to venture on your own later. If you have never been before, and a little nervous, this is great.
2. We are not herded like cattle, the groups are small, and the guides are fantastic. I happen to love headsets because you can hear And not have to stay in lip reading distance.
3. We stay in local hotels, which adds to the ambience of traveling thru the back roads. Example -in Paris we stayed in a neighborhood with the quintessential shops one needs to live in Paris. The boulangerie, the cuturerie, the fruits, wine, etc shops. Near a metro stop that we became comfortable using after our lesson.
4. Time off- adding to #3. We bought our lunch, got on the metro, transferred to the train and spend a day at Versailles, and got back. We met other travelers, local and like us, who were doing the same thing and chatted up people who were like minded.
5. The surprise stops add so much value to our experiences. Seriously we could have had non stops from A to B, but would have missed out on so much culture. Wish I remembered the town's name, but en route to mont st. Michel, we stopped and had real non touristy time off and had the best most traditional gal letters, then had a moment to walk and stretch. The town was where copper pots have been made for centuries. And later, watching Julie and Julia, I found that the shop where Julia bought her famous copper, was the exact shop I bought my omelet pan and rounded bottom bowl.
6. Luggage limit. And yes, my pan and bowl was snugly fit in amongst my smalls... we have travelled with other small groups without the luggage limit, but now I am reminded that I wasn't inconvenienced a bit. Which is a nice reminder since we are traveling to Eastern Europe 8/31, and I was leery of the limit. Now not so much.
7. Casualness of the groups. I hate dressing up and comfort is key to my enjoyment. We are not slobs though. So I love the people we have travelled with. Most are into the immersion, the adventure, and getting the most out of every minute, even if it is people watching, soaking it all in, and participating in new experiences.
Negatives. I love quirky and seeing how showers are fit into a centuries old place is cool. We got a hysterical lesson in bidets from our guide on another RS trip. Still laughing. We now have a bidet in our house. Our grandsons love our butt washer.
To people who are on the fence, you won't get better value than a RS tour. Seriously.