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Old 10-16-2016, 09:26 AM
Location: North Dakota
7,773 posts, read 9,085,656 times
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
unless your hair is grey don't do it.
We did one in Spain in high school and it was fun. I don't know how old the OP is, but G Adventures does tours for all ages. I've been to South America with them and they're good.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:40 AM
Location: North Idaho
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I took several of them, total economy trips, and loved them. My suitcase was delivered to my room and picked up and taken to the bus. The hotels were nice, the food was excellent, we were provided with entertainment.

The buses were spotless and comfortable. A thousand times more comfortable than flying. Someone else does the driving and handles foreign language issues.

For these tours, we were taken to places where we would be expected to spend money, but a lot of the time we were on our own. We would stop in lovely quaint villages for the night and be turned loose to explore on our own. Or turned loose for a few hours in some interesting town. Like in Amsterdam we had a guide to take us to see the prostitutes and then we were on our own to see the floating flower markets and museums, but it was a tulip tour and we were also taken to a huge tulip bulb grower and to a wooden shoe factory. Both of which were interesting and no one pressured us to spend money.

A plus was the clean toilet on the bus. Public toilets in Europe are not free. You pay to use them.

Minuses, you are on a time schedule, although it was generous and reasonable, and you don't really get to chose what you will eat, unless you want to leave the tour and pay for a restaurant.

Big warning: single occupancy rooms in Europe tend to be stark and small. I think they were rooms for the servants traveling with their master. Double occupancy rooms were all really large and lovely.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:56 AM
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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I've heard there are squabbles on these bus tours over who gets to sit in the front seats (unobstructed view).

That, and the fact that sitting still for hours makes me antsy and uncomfortable, makes me shy away from bus tours.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:31 AM
Location: Taipei
6,790 posts, read 5,154,148 times
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I've taken Flixbus once from the Netherlands to Berlin and it was ****ing awful. I couldn't sleep on the bus at all and there was no wifi. Flying would be much easier and wouldn't be more expensive if you book the flight early enough.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:49 AM
Location: State of Denial
1,919 posts, read 971,006 times
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I've not taken a bus tour in Europe but have taken one in Ecuador, one in Morocco and one in Turkey. Both were great experiences and we were taken to places that would have been difficult to get to on our own.

As to the "best" seating dilemma, one driver had us shift seats in a clockwise manner every morning and afternoon so everyone moved around the bus to all the seats and the other one drew names out of a bag every morning for the good seats in the front. For another one, it was first-come, first-serve for the good seats.

In my younger days, I traveled extensively on my own but now that I'm a grey-haired old lady, I appreciate the convenience of bus tours. AND, I really enjoy meeting my fellow travelers who come from all over the world to take the tour.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:56 PM
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Bus tours can be more enjoyable if they are themed - gardens of England, Scottish castles, French wineries, Irish folklore, etc. That helps guarantee congenial fellow travelers with shared interests. You may also see sights you'd never find otherwise.

But you will have lots more independence and flexibility on your own. It's a trade-off. You may find that the tour organizer has his or her own set of likes and dislikes - he may cut short a tour of a stately home which everyone else loves in order to go to the pub he favors. Or, he may want to schedule hours and hours of walking through a gigantic garden, when tour-goers would prefer to see a famous cavern below a hilltop castle.

Good bus tours will not try to jam too much into too little time, and will include some free time and flexibility. Look for tours which spend two or three nights in one place, with day trips available but not mandatory. Maybe you'd prefer to explore the charming little village where you're staying rather than head to the nearby larger town for the folk festival. You should have that option, as long as you let the organizer know your plans and show up before the bus departs for the next overnight destination.
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Old 10-16-2016, 02:00 PM
Location: Las Vegas
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I've done it and think they are great bang for the buck. You will see more on a tour than you will on your own. The tour companies know exactly where to go and where to park. You get dropped off and picked up. I am not wealthy so I want to see as much as possible because I can't say for sure I will ever get to go back! And it is pretty stress free. There is much to be said for NOT having to drive in London or Rome! It's not in depth, you just scratch the surface and see the tourist attractions. But it's enough to let you know the places you want to visit again.

I always went with the cheaper tour companies. Not just because they were less expensive. They also tend to stay in local hotels, not American chains and the trips are not dominated by Americans. I enjoy tour groups that are less than 50% American. And you will get more off the beaten path destinations because they are less expensive.

What I don't like about tours is departing at the crack of dawn. But that's the price you pay for seeing as much as possible in a short time. And there are times when you feel like a sheep, herded from place to place. And there is always someone who can't ever be on time!

I have also traveled independently and I can say for sure you will see more on a tour. Independent has it's own set of advantages and drawbacks!
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:10 PM
Location: NW Indiana
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Like a number of other posters, I have done the bus tours as well as several trips on my own. Options not mentioned by others are 1) private tours with a private guide, 2) cruises and 3) all inclusive resorts.

Personally, I think all of these approaches to travel have value. It really depends on the person who is going to travel, the budget and the places the person is going to.

In my mind a bus tour is a good choice for someone less experienced at planning travel. This is a value to not having to do all of the planning and research. Some dislike this kind of research or may just not have the time. A bus tour will take care of a lot of the logistics. It is a safe bet (although not a guarantee that the driver knows where to go and the places will be open when you get there). It is easy to relax and let others to the work. The guide can answer questions and make recommendations. Also, you are with a group of people for a number of days whom you may enjoy talking with or sharing some experiences.

Others have mentioned the negatives which definitely exist. A bus tour is going to be structured. The trou may pass up sites you are interested in to visit ones you do not care about. While you may some time to yourself on some tours there will almost always be times where you have to get back to your group. Also, while it is a nice way to meet people, you may find reasons to dislike some of the people stuck on the bus with you. Also, for some the tour will a very slow moving affair. A bus tour must pace itself to include reasonably frequent rest stops and may sometime have to wait on stragglers do return to the bus.

An option to consider may to to book transportation and hotel for a few select cities are centrally located in the areas you are interested in. Many cities have have a fair number of different 1 day bus tours you can book or even private guided tours. This is especially true in cities like London. For example you can book day trips to places like Winchester or Stonehenge pretty easily. This combines the best of both types of travel.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:52 PM
Location: Looking over your shoulder
30,348 posts, read 27,863,859 times
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I want to thank everyone so far who has provided information and insight on touring by bus. There are lots of things to consider that I hadnít thought about before.

Iíve been on a riverboat tour in Europe and it was a wonderful experience of seeing things, although it did get a little tiresome of only moving up and down the river and seeing/visiting towns alongside it. There was extra time spent in larger cities like Paris and we were able to go off on our own to visit sights that we especially wanted.

Comparing the riverboat to a bus has to be different and thatís why I posted the thread here. The bus tour Iím interested in will be spending two nights in each of the cities so that should eliminate the annoyance of unpacking and packing each day. All of the hotels that were listed by the tour Iíve checked out on other resources and found them to be four & five star lodging so I donít have to worry about that. Most breakfasts are provided in the package price, and some other meals are not which I like as I donít always care to eat three large meals a day. On the riverboat cruise I was getting tired of the meals they provided even though they had a large menu to pick from each night, and after two weeks or so it was like the same old food nothing different.

The river cruise provided excellent bus service when they stopped at ports where they drove and hour or so to other attractions that were not at the post itself. So Iím expecting the same quality of bus on this new tour in the planning that should come up in late spring. And Iím looking forward to seeing towns and villages along the roadside while we move along each day, and the open areas of farmland in-between.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:59 PM
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Europe has wonderful trains. TAKE THE TRAINS!

Ideally, get a Eurailpass!
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