For a while my husband and I have been wanting to travel around Europe, we have seen the Caribbean, Turkey, Egypt, Spain and Cyprus but felt like we were not making the most of seeing the places closer to us in the UK. I had been searching for good deals where we can see a few countries and cities at the same time but found them to be very expensive. Two days in Amsterdam followed by two days in Belgium was costing at least £600 each and that was without food and other expenses. Just when I had given up hope I found a guided European tour package that covered 7 countries in 12 days.
It’s worth reading the small print and FAQ’s as you may find that a few things are questionable such as accommodation arrangements and so forth. For 12 days the fully guided tour cost us only £600 each a bargain to say the least. The places that you would visit are: Paris, Chateau Versailles, Burgundy, Geneva, Switzerland, Pisa, Florence, Venice, Italian Dolomites, Austria, Munich, Rhine Valley, Volendam, Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam and Bruges. It seems like good value for money and if you don’t mind slumming it then go ahead.
Before I booked I made sure that all accommodation would be double rooms as sometimes they give you rooms where you need to share with others, this is the case when it comes to Switzerland as accommodation can be very expensive. We were told it was not guaranteed as they use shared rooms where up to four people can sleep in, it would’ve cost us £240 extra to make sure we had double room with private facilities. Also in Switzerland some rooms do not have toilets or a shower you need to use communal ones on the second floor.
Despite all this we still decided to go as it was so cheap and it would be silly to let the opportunity pass us by. The tour is by coach with reclining seats, DVD, coffee/tea facilities and a toilet on board. The coach makes frequent stops every two hours or so for a toilet break so if you want to stretch your legs and also stock up on snacks there’s plenty of opportunities to do so.
The accommodation is most places were very bad, as we travelled in winter we found some places to be very cold whereas Switzerland had the best accommodation even though it was well below freezing. The meals that were included were also very poor, not much choice and very bland, I would’ve rather bought most of my meals outside. The coach was very much full, around 40 or so passengers but you get on with most of them. I did find some people to be rude and not very friendly but I think this was mostly down to the tour guide not allowing everyone to introduce themselves earlier; she did it when the tour nearly finished.
The tour is also very fast paced and found that we had to tell Sammie the guide to slow down, it was very cold so I understand her being rushed but we were told that it was suitable for all ages but I find that it was mostly for younger people.
You do not get too see much of each place you visit as time is limited, most places only require a short stop whereas others have more history and good photo opportunities which we didn’t get. We are used to 4-5 star holidays and this was by far the worst, also Sammie needs to learn to pronounce the places properly as she regularly misinformed us, I also found we were mislead in what excursions we could do as some you do as a group and others you go off on your own.
If you are tight on money such as a student or someone who finds that this is a once in a lifetime holiday then go for it but for me it was a waste. I would’ve rather paid more for better standards of accommodation and food then slum it for two weeks. More interaction should be encouraged for the tour group as a whole as I found Sammie to favourite her native Aussie travellers to the rest of us. I would also like to point out that people have travelled all over the world to go on an Expat tour as far as New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia and I found most to be people who were not residents of the UK. My husband and I were the only British people on the coach and probably the best mannered, the rest were from Colombia, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and China. If you don’t interact well with others from different countries then this is not the tour for you.