When narrowing your options for choosing a Europe guided tour, it’s important to understand that hosted, guided, and escorted group tour packages come in all shapes, sizes, costs, affinities, comfort levels, and degrees of luxury.
There are as many types of guided tour groups to Europe, as there are types of travelers who take them.
In order for your own trip to be successful, it’s important to match your lifestyle and personality to the kind of European group tour you choose.
In other words, you need to be sure your personal travel style is compatible with the way your chosen trip will unfold.
Nothing can be more costly to your wallet, your dreams of a memorable trip, and your anticipated travel experience than choosing [and paying for] a guided tour to Europe that is as 'foreign' to your personality as the destination you've chosen to visit.
Before you settle on your final choice for a European group tour, ask yourself the following questions. Then decide if the escorted tour you're considering is a good match.
What's most important to the success of your European tour?
You should choose your Europe guided tour to fit not only your lifestyle, but your travel expectations.
This means, if you’re used to a certain level of luxury and comfort at home, you should choose a Europe guided tour that’s decidedly at the top of the price scale for amenities, class of hotels, and included services.
Conversely, if you live a more moderate lifestyle, you'll be content with a more moderate European tour, in the same general price and service range as your everyday life. [Don't pay more for more service and amenities than you need or want.]
As you do your travel research to compare itineraries, tour inclusions, costs, and levels of service for various tour companies, be aware which type of tour most closely matches the way you live your life.
Then choose your European group tour accordingly.
Otherwise, you may not enjoy your trip. And your time traveling Europe will be overshadowed by your discomfort.
Do you want a group that’s more physically active?
Is your best idea for a European tour to be always on the go, constantly moving from place to place?
Or would you prefer to stay in a place for longer periods, with limited demands on your time?
When choosing your Europe guided tour, review each prospective tour's travel itinerary to be sure the structure of the tour offers the level of activity you’re comfortable with.
Group tours to Europe - by nature - are creatures of schedule. It’s one thing to be up, packed, and ready to go, whenever the bus is due to move out.
It’s another entirely, to be constantly on the move, schlepping your bags and barely having the time to adjust to your surroundings, before it’s time to move again.
If your idea of a great escorted European tour is a healthy mix of 'on' time, and 'down' time...if you’d rather take your time to do things on your own time... and enjoy what you came so far to see, you need to be sure your European guided tour does just that.
What are the inclusions of your group tour package?
Does your ideal tour lean toward the cultural - heavy with visits to historical sights, museums, and classical events?
Or do you see your best guided tour with a focus on nightlife, restaurants and bars, local entertainment, contemporary sights, and impromptu events?
Tour groups to Europe have distinct personalities, just as the travelers who participate in them.
It's travel smart to study the inclusions of a prospective tour and understand that what it includes gels with your idea of what you want to see and do.
Does the tour you choose offer optional activities? Can you decline an included day tour, meal, or event to go off on your own?
Is the size of the tour small enough to be flexible, if the group chooses an alterna-tive event?
What is the type of tour hotels - where are they located?
Are they small, upscale, old world hotels in walking districts of your overnight city or town?
Or, are they away from city centers, modern, with limited European flavor and cut off from the action?
The quality and location of your hotels can make or break your trip.
While only a few hotels catering to inbound European tour groups continue to offer rooms with limited bathroom facilities, it pays to be sure!
Ask for hotel web addresses - and do your own online research to check included hotels.
If you’re not sure of the quality of tour hotels, send an email directly to hotel websites, requesting information and photos of their rooms and services.
[Don’t compromise on hotels and their amenities to save on the cost of your tour].
What are other tour members like?
Are you comfortable with people from different walks of life, making friends as you find them?
Or do you prefer to travel with people of a similar age, background, educational level, or financial circumstance?
You won’t be able to get specific information on tour members, but a judgment can be made from the cost of the tour, the quality and location of hotels, the types of inclusions and amenities, and the level - or absence – of luxe.
Search online for comments by participating tour members on previous tour departures for their candid assessment of the tours they took.
Request contact information from the tour operating company [or booking agent] for 1 or 2 recent tour participants. If the tour company has nothing to hide, they’ll make customer names available [with permission] to brag about their service.
Answers to these questions - combined with a review of the tour operator Terms and Conditions - will help you understand the structure, ambience, and char-acter of the European group tour you chose, and whether or not it’s the best tour for you.
If you’re still not sure which Europe guided tour to choose, visit an online travel agent or two and check out the tours and tour operator companies they promote.
Use sites like TripAdvisor for comments by previous tour participants. [Would they take another tour with the same company? What were the high points of their tour, or the things that didn't work?]
Enlist the advice of an independent travel agent for recommendations to help you choose a guided tour that fits your life and personality.
Finding the best Europe guided tour is key to having the time of your life on your trip. And coming home with memories to match.
For more information on how to travel Europe, check these articles:
Your Travel Style reflects your lifestyle - how you live, what you like, what makes you tick. The kind of traveler you are determines how to travel Europe.
Escorted Vacations to Europe are offered by tour operators throughout the world. Learn to choose the best escorted tour for you.
Europe Travel Packages are made for independent travel. Learn how to travel on your own – but with a safety net.
Independent Travel lets you travel Europe on your own – but not alone. Learn how to take the scary out of traveling Europe without a group.