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Rick Steves Tour Experience?

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Chicago, Illinois
posts: 212
reviews: 11
Rick Steves Tour Experience?

I know that escorted tours are frowned upon here, but the stress of a DIY vacation is starting to wear on us. Since this will be our first (and hopefully not last) trip to Italy, an escorted tour might be a good intro to Italy ( if we can find an acceptable tour). We have never been on a tour, so we have no experience with any of the tour operators. We really didn't find much in searching TA.

So... we are wondering if anyone out there has had some experience with Rick Steves? His Heart of Italy sounds interesting. We are planning a fall trip. Thanks in advance for any comments.

57 replies to this topic
pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 19,961
reviews: 14
1. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

You might have more luck finding reviews on the Rick Steves forums. Some people there have taken his tours.

Donna

Toronto, Canada
posts: 164
reviews: 23
2. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

MortonGrove, I know exactly how you feel about the stress of DIY. I have so many notes and guide books and read so much information on this site that it is somewhat overwhelming. This is also our first trip to Europe. I did book my hotel direct with Albergo del Senato and air separately with Alitalia, so that's sort of DIY, but I am in the same boat as you when it comes to the tour situation. I think I have finally decide to prebook with Presto Tours, who are very well received on this website, they have a deal if you book 2 tours you get the third free. I think I am going to book the Vatical Semi Private Tour (15 people max) 54 euro/pp and the Colosseum Tour 35euro/pp and get the Rome City Tour for free. I'm sure these tours can all be done cheaper and simpler with guide books, but knowing we have these tours to get us started is somewhat comforting. We are there 7 days so we will still have plenty of time to explore on our own, You are not alone in wanting someone else to do some of the work.

north carolina
posts: 5,072
reviews: 114
3. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

Mort,

It's okay, and understandable if you think that we frown on tours. Most of us have gotten into doing our own planning and love it. But I don't think many (any?) of us frown on tours or look down on anyone who uses them. We simply write about what we know, and answer questions for folks who mostly have the same interests.

But please feel very comfortable to bring your questions and ideas into this forum. There is an immense amount of knowledge and experience to be shared - and we love to share it.

Portland, Maine
posts: 81
4. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

IMHO part of DYI planning is deciding whether and which tours help you get the most out of your travel time.

Mansfield, GA
posts: 453
reviews: 3
5. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

I have many of Rick Steves' guidebooks but have never taken any of his tours since we do all of our own planning. If you go to ricksteves.com you can find those who have taken his tours and get their input. From what I have read people give his tours a high rating and some have taken multiple tours with his tour guides.

Escondido...
posts: 323
reviews: 63
6. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

I have been on a Rick Steve's Best of Europe tour and loved it. I have been to Europe 7 times and two of them were tours. I love the planning of the trip but taking a tour leaves most of the stress to the tour company. I think for your first trip to Europe that a tour is a good idea. Italy is a tough place to drive and the cost of parking in most of the towns are very high.(35.00 Euros a night). The Best of Europe with Rick Steve's takes you to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. I highly recommend this tour and Rick Steve's. With Rick's tours you carry your own bag and must travel light. (one carry on size bag and a back pack).

You should be able to climb stairs with your suitcase and get around town walking on tours for several hours. Request a CD from them on their tour experience. I plan on taking the Germany, Austria and Switzerland tour with Rick Steve's in 2012.

Huntington Beach...
posts: 27
reviews: 13
7. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

This might help...

http://www.bestofitalyin17days.com/index.html

I've corresponded with the writer/traveler and she's been very responsive and helpful.

Have fun!

Bath, Maine
posts: 4
reviews: 17
8. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

Morton Grove. I can only say good things about Rick Steves Tours. I took my first (Village Turkey tour) in 2009. It was a wonderful healing trip for me as my husband had died the previous summer. I loved it so much I took "Ireland in 14 Days" in 2011. What is not to love? The people on the tour are educated and fit. The places we visit are "well tested', the hotels and B and B's are at least clean and adequate and the tour guides bring the history and the culture of the coutry come alive. I didn't have to make hotel reservations, tour reservations and I had GREAT people to travel with. I never would have found the restaurants where we had group dinners without the tour. Some people just don't like tours. Some people like me don't like making hotel reservations and figuring out how to get from Dublin to Kinsale. Unless I go to live in a European city for a month long stay I can't imagine seeing Europe any other way ( and I did travel to Europe several times as a teenager). Enjoy and leave the planning to Rick!

Bloomington...
posts: 163
reviews: 42
9. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

I've been on four Rick Steve's tours and would highly recommend. Last one was Venice, Florence Rome in 11 days and it was fantastic. OP's are right- go to his website and check out the info. Send me a message if you have any questions about the tour- would be happy to answer. Incidentally, my spouse and I are planning our own trip to Italy for April. Decided to do DIY and I'm realizing how valuable those oreplannded tours actually are!!! :)

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 212
reviews: 11
10. Re: Rick Steves Tour Experience?

Forgot about this thread, so i guess I better close the loop. We did go on the RS Heart of Italy tour in September. No regrets, everything was perfect. Especially liked the small, friendly group. Wonderful tour guide, excellent local tours (no lines), nice hotels, and a perfect itinerary (Florence, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Volterra and Rome). Yes, you miss all the travel adventures like getting lost, or missed buses and trains, but its worth it. We did go to Siena on our own before the tour, so that took enough planning (stress) on our part so the tour was a welcome relief. Thanks so much to all of the posters to this thread. Ciao !!!

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