I have two weeks at the end of February to explore Europe for the first time. For work purposes, I am attending the International Conference on Internet Technologies and Society in London that ends 19 February and have just been granted three weeks leave afterward to travel.
With just half a month till I leave to the conference, I'm leaning towards all-inclusive tours. I just don't feel like I have the time to organize a full-on Euro trip in this time without winging it, and that's just not me.
I like the idea of groups tours as I'll be traveling alone and will enjoy having a bunch of people to explore with. These tours also generally seem to go through a number of countries. This is ideal for me as I have never been to Europe and see as much as possible.
My only worry is that many of these tours seem extreme. On the one hand, many are a party through Europe. Don't get me wrong, I hope to enjoy a few late nights out, but could not do so every night. I want to be up early to explore a new city or beat the queues at the Eiffel Tower.
On the other hand, many other tours look like old age homes on wheels, catering to people between 55 and 70 years of age. This would also be a bit of a nightmare, as I am looking for a fast-paced experience with energetic young adults.
So far, the best option I have found is Expat Explore's tour of Western Europe. Firstly, I like the route and they have a tour running between 19 Feb and 12 March.
Secondly, they seem to cater from the right age group and vibe I'm looking for. However, this is not stated outright anywhere and I am having to gauge this vibe from their website. Has anyone been on a tour with Expat Explore, I'd love a first-hand account of your experience?
Otherwise, any recommendations of other tours that fit these criteria?
Depending on your budget I do think you may find something that works for you, although with some types of tours it is hard if you don't have any flexibility. One thing you might do is look at Groupon Getaways, and even if you are not looking for a Groupon (Which if you do buy on Thursday when all travel packages are 10% off) but you can see the names of the companies that Groupon advertises and then go directly tot heir websites. Also, someone recently asked a question on the discussion board about whether anyone has experience with a particular tour group that seems to ahve taken off that is geared towards 30-40 year olds. I forget the name but you'll see it if you look.
Having just come off my first tour (to China) I'll be checking back at this post. I always loathed the idea of organized tours but as my life gets more hectic handing over planning and logisitics to others is a real time and stress saver.
Either way, I hope you find what you're looking for and have a lot of fun!
Btw: Flashpack was the group someone else mentioned. I don't know anything about them but I am sure there are reviews online!
The Expat Explore company has many European coach tours that sound like exactly what you're looking for. I'm quite partial to them, having been on an number of their small tours (Explore Greece, Spain). While the memebers of the groups can vary in 'travel attitude' shall we say, I would really doubt that you'll be spending the whole tour partying it up - maybe one or two late nights and rough mornings, but nothing like your regular student tour.
Sounds like a great time is headed your way.
1. Sounds like you are starting out in London, at the end of your trip, do you have to fly out of London or can you book your return from any city you choose?
2. What is the size of the group?
3. Will you travel by train or bus?
4. How much time will be spent on train or bus?
5. How much free time at each place?
6. Does the price include taxes, fees, admission charges, how many meals?
7. Is there a single supplement charge if you are traveling solo or will you be paired up with another solo traveler for accommodations?
8. Is trip cancellation insurance included?
9. How much to tip the tour guides?
10. Is there a cruise/land package?