Italian Lakes Tour

Hello All,
I was interested in feed back from past travelers on this tour about a few subjects. My wife and I are both in our early 50's. Is the "group" of travelers about our age? I would not typically choose a group tour for a vacation however I felt for this particular trip it was the best way to make sure we got to see "major" sites. How was the group experience for most of you? Does anyone know the difference between the "small group" tours and the regular tours other than the number of people in it? From the little I read I saw where you stayed was different at least on one leg of the trip. This would be our first trip over seas and since we both still work full time the next one will probably be quite a while down the road. Would any of you do it differently now that you've experienced it? Thank you all in advance for your feedback.

Comments

  • We first used Tauck when we were in our late forties. My husband still works, so vacation time has to be used wisely and we find it is the best way to see places. More efficient than doing it ourselves. We have actually travelled with Tauck to places we have been to independently in the past and there is absolutely no comparison. they know when and where you should be to see the sites when they are less crowded, get you into places you would never find yourself,and generally stay in top notch hotels that we probably would not splurge on when we travel independently. We have noticed in the past few years that there is more and more a much bigger age range within the groups. We actually prefer to travel with more 'mature' people, they are interesting to talk to and never late. Tauck gives you the opportunity to eat on tour own and in groups, however you want apart from the Welcome and Farewell meals for the most part.
    We have never done a small group tour but don't find the bigger groups a problem, Tauck often splits the groups and puts local guides with them on some tours, like our recent India trip where in fact on one paid for but optional trip there were only three of us with the guide, we took a private limo with him and had a great trip, the remainder of the group chilled out ready for the next day.
    We have taken two tours to Italy with Tauck. We have been to Italy independently when we were in our early twenties, we stayed near the beach and took day trips by bus to Florence and Venice. We would not want to drive in Italy, the Italians are crazy drivers and the roads hairy on the coastal areas. Go with Tauck to Italy first time out of the US. Maybe try somewhere like London independently.
  • Bonitabob wrote:
    Hello All,
    I was interested in feed back from past travelers on this tour about a few subjects. My wife and I are both in our early 50's. Is the "group" of travelers about our age? I would not typically choose a group tour for a vacation however I felt for this particular trip it was the best way to make sure we got to see "major" sites. How was the group experience for most of you? Does anyone know the difference between the "small group" tours and the regular tours other than the number of people in it? From the little I read I saw where you stayed was different at least on one leg of the trip. This would be our first trip over seas and since we both still work full time the next one will probably be quite a while down the road. Would any of you do it differently now that you've experienced it? Thank you all in advance for your feedback.

    YOU WILL LOVE THIS TRIP and it does not matter if if small group or not.

    We did the small group tour most were 50 to 60s and still employed. I highly recommend this tour It's a great introduction to Italy and covers all the important sights. Bring comfy shoes and also a good camera because u can't use flash in the museums and churches. My favorite was Venice & Rome….but every area was enjoyable. The hotels were all nice and the food for the most part excellent. Watch the movie the tourist with Angelina Jolie it was filmed at Hotel Danieli in Venice were you will be staying.

    We brought some dressy outfits but never used them on this tour... most people were dressed casual. Keep in mind that you will be entering churches so you should be appropriately covered. Bring one business casual outfit to wear to the Tauck reception and final diner but don't go out your way dressing up unless you want to.

    I opted out of the coliseum tour with Tauck in Rome and instead went on my own ….riding the hop on and off bus…. back tracked to spend more time at the Vatican and some other sites. The hotel front deck in Rome will sell you the hop on & off bus ticket and the bus is just a block away. Check out the bone church Museum and Crypt of Capuchins. I found it interesting but you might find it a bit morbid so google first.

    I would advise you to avoid the TD tours of shops…BIG waste of time tourist traps. Unfortunately i fell for the trap and wasted some vacation time in high pressure shops. Our TD took us to a glass blowing at Murano factory which turned out to be a long pitch to buy their glass. The shop is nice so have a peek in and get yourself a Souvenir if you want, but don't waste more than 10 minutes in there. We were also directed to a gold shop & leather shop in Florence as we'll as a scarf shop in Bellagio.

    It's a fabulous trip... so get in as much as you can. There is just so much to see why waste time in shops when you could find same stuff back home.

    If you want to buy a gift at St Peter's Basilica or get Holy water do it before you leave the grounds…they have their own store. Our local guide for that day rushed us out the gate and deposited us at shops that again are tourist traps and do not have blessed Holy water. You will have plenty of time ....just get a time to be back at the Tauck bus and stay inside St peter's basilica gates until its time to get back on the bus.

    I wish you a great trip.
  • Thank you guys to much for the feedback and I welcome any others. :)
  • To Bonitabob,
    My husband and I have done both size trips, and we prefer the small group if it is available. It is just easier and faster to move 24 people around than 40. The coaches are the same size, so you can spread out on the small group trips. The groups with the local guides are smaller, therefore easier to hear and to keep up and stay together. It is easier to meet all the people and remember who is who. The small groups are more expensive, but we think they are worth it.
    We first traveled with Tauck when we were 65. The groups seem to have lots of folks 65-75ish, some older, and some 50s to mid 60's. Everyone always seems to get along and enjoy each other's company.
    We think that Tauck is absolutely the best way to travel. No hassles, no lines, no fuss--they take care of everything and tote the luggage. Also, except for wine and bar drinks and the gratuities to the coach driver and tour director, everything is included.
    We are considering this Italian Lakes...Rome trip for probably 2016. We are going on a small group to Normandy, Brittany, the Loire Valley, and Paris in September of this year. Then off to South America to Patagonia in February, 2015. That will be 5 Tauck trips for us, and we're just getting started.
    Happy travels!
    Nancy
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