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Coach class

In spite of our crazy summer, my family managed to squeeze in a 12-day trip to Europe that spanned six countries. It was a guided tour by coach (charter bus) where everything was preplanned and taken care of for us, including wake up calls, transportation, local tours and optional excursions, and most meals.

I’ve never been on a tour like this one (run by Trafalgar). You give up the ability to stop at will for pictures and side trips, but for this vacation it was worth the freedom from stress that traveling in so many foreign countries could induce. Just not having to drive was worth it, especially in the UK. No worrying about tolls, border crossings, fees to enter (Venice, London), or where to stay.

The guide prepared us for how things worked in each country. Little things like paying for restrooms, how to order a meal (it can be more confusing than you’d think even without the language barrier), and which tourist traps to avoid.

Spending 12 days with 45 people you don’t know doesn’t exactly sound like an introvert’s dream way to travel, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to. We met some nice people, and it was fun to have others to discuss the experiences with. Plus, our companions added to the international flavor since we traveled with several folks from Australia and South Africa.

I would have liked to spend more time in most of our destinations, especially Germany, but for what it was, the coach tour was a great way to see as much as possible in the time we had, and within a certain budget. We saw not only the cities where we stopped, but also the beautiful scenery in between, albeit from 80-100 km/hour. And since a large portion of the trip was paid upfront (similar to an all-inclusive vacation), we weren’t stressing over money the whole time.

Traveling with a coach tour isn’t for everyone, or even for every trip, but it was perfect for us for this trip. Over the next few days, I’ll share some of my experiences, fun things, and photos.

Until then, ciao, arriverderci, auf wiedersehen, au revoir, and good bye!

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0 Comments

  1. Reply

    I’m glad you guys had a great trip. As a fellow introvert, that doesn’t sound like it’s for me. My wife and I get pretty annoyed over the general public and any mass transportation. I wasn’t a huge fan of the cruise either, it’s fun and easy but the herding me off the boat at 7am in the morning like sheep to a slaughter was not cool.
    Anyway, glad you had a safe fun trip, glad you’re back.

    PS I want to write a book..

    ~Rich

    • Reply

      Rich: I was worried about the whole group thing, but it was better than I thought. It was pretty easy to ignore anyone who was annoying, and we had plenty of time to ourselves.

      And, everyone wants to write a book, but most people never start. Even fewer ever finish. If you mean it go for it. Otherwise, forget about it. 😉

  2. Reply

    Glad you had a good time. Bus tours are cool. My first trip to NY that was the first thing we did. Then, we had an idea of where this and that was. Exploring was much easier. Course in NY everything is ” on the square.” I haven’t been back in years and still have a picture of where things are in my mind.

    Looking forward to hearing and seeing your travels.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Curtis. We took a bus tour in NYC last year, but this was every day with the same people for over a week. Luckily it worked out. We had a good guide, friendly, professional driver, and a decent group of travelers.

  3. Reply

    Wow, Gwen. It sounds like you guys had a blast! I am glad you all made it back safe and sound. 🙂

    And… Rich? Introvert? Must be the computer that lets your inner extrovert out to play… 😉

    • Reply

      Okay, Rich. 100% hate the general public I can relate to. Hitting the cities early in the AM was nice because the crowds were still waking up.

  4. Christine

    Reply

    I’m so glad the trip was fun. You picked a fabulous way to tour and see a lot with a minimal amount of stress.

    • Reply

      Yep, Christine. That was our plan. We often go places and then get there and aren’t sure where to focus our time and energy. The tour took care of all that for better or worse. Mostly better. 🙂

  5. KM Fawcett

    Reply

    I can’t wait to see the awesome pictures. How did the kids do with non-American food? I’d love to take my kids back to Okinawa but I’d fear they wouldn’t eat much.

    • Reply

      It’s taking me a while to wade through photos, but I’m working on it. The kids did well, though we didn’t eat anything too weird. I think mine would love Okinawa. If nothing else, they’d devour endless bowls of white sticky rice. 🙂

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