Visiting Italy has been a dream of mine for years. I had hoped we could travel there with my mom and stepdad. Unfortunately, mom became too ill for such a strenuous sightseeing trip towards the end of her life and we didn’t make it.
Instead I took some of my inheritance last Fall and booked a trip to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and mom will be traveling in our hearts.
Before I reveal the details I thought it would be helpful to share how we got there. It’s important to know that my husband is not comfortable traveling with uncertainty in the US let alone to another country.
Knowing his style, I knew we couldn’t buy a Rick Steves guidebook and do it ourselves. No, this called for an organized tour. The problem was which one?
Selecting A Tour Company
There are many tour companies offering escorted tours to Italy. The first thing I did was make a spreadsheet of the cities and sights I wanted to visit. I then researched offerings at the various tour companies documenting which items on the list they met along with price per day and hotels.
We didn’t have an interest in hitting the mountains of Italy/Switzerland so I ruled out tours that included this area. When I got down to a handful of what seemed like good options, I researched the included hotels.
If the hotels were out of town or had a lot of bad reviews on TripAdvisor, they were out. That left me with two contenders. In fact, I first booked one and then switched to the other.
The runner-up was Odysseys Unlimited. I think they offer great value for the small group size, list of included visits and meals and really like the slower pace. The problem is the more relaxed pace means more days are needed to see the sights I want to see. That will be fine when I’m retired but not now.
We ended up selecting Insight Vacations. They offer smaller than usual groups (40 or less) and stay at centrally located four star hotels. We booked their Best of Italy 10 day tour with an one day extension in Rome.
My next post will talk about the booking process and subsequent arrangements. Until then, arrivederci!
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