Italian travel is a dream for many, but when faced with the prospect of traveling to Europe alone or as part of a group, most opt for the group tour. Touring Italy alone or with a close group can be a wonderful experience, however. Finding the travel plans that work best requires a balance of your preferences and comfort level.
Travel in a Group
If you book a spot with a tour group traveling Italy together, be sure to research the quality of the group leader or company as well as the destinations you’ll be seeing. Read reviews ahead of time and be ready to follow the crowds. Your first trip to Italy is done well in a tour group. Most groups visit the more prime tourist locations and you’ll be able to utilize the group rates for hotel rooms, airfare and bus tours.
The primary drawback using a tour group is that you’re not able to venture out to explore on your own, or even eat on your own in some cases. You might also find yourself touring factories and other product friendly locations thanks to cash passing hands between store keepers and tour guides. Tour guides often get a kickback for taking tour groups through shops or factories.
When you tour Italy alone, you’ll be responsible for all elements of the trip. This can be a bit daunting initially, but soon you’ll realize that you can take the train or rent a car at will. Bike through cities or take a cab to avoid having to drive in the congested areas. Stay in hotels, hostels or even monasteries to experience the true flavor of the country. You’ll have discretion of how much time to spend in each location. If your first trip was through a guided tour, your second might be simply a rented car and a plan to drive through the Italian countryside.
In many cases, visitors to Italy opt for a bit of both worlds. They start their vacation with a guided tour. But once the tour is complete, they delay their return flight and tack on travel of their own without a guide. This lets you acclimate to the country and its customs before heading out on your own to explore. The only drawback is you might wind up in a location other than your first choice at the end of a tour, but a quick train trip or car rental can get you from one section of Italy to another, and offer you a chance to drive through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.