Europe is by far one of the best Northern Hemisphere destinations to tour with a family in tow.
There is no jet lag, the countries are all in close proximity, the landscapes are magnificent and each country is steeped in history and culture. And with the accessibility that a Schengen visa offers, you can just pass through one country to the next, effortlessly.
Yet with so much to see, choosing where to go can be tricky. To make the most of your trip leisure travel specialist, Pentravel’s CEO Sean Hough suggests leaving all the hard stuff to the driver of a luxury coach and an experienced guide.
Here he shares why spending seven days touring Amsterdam, Netherlands, France and Germany without a care in the world is so much more fun than trying to navigate through borders, speaking badly translated local dialect while driving a cramped left-handed rental.
Sit back and enjoy the ride – before you’ve even left the country! These days, who has time to source cheap flights, rent a safe and comfortable car, find hotels in good areas, sit at the visa office for hours and research tourist attractions? Cut out all the admin that a self-guided holiday requires and happily hand it all over to the professionals. Think of it like an app for your sanity.
Make your buck go further and further: Seated comfortably in your swanky ride, you’ll cover 1600 kilometres and tick off four countries in one fell swoop. All while being chauffeur-driven between major European cities, taken directly to famous tourist attractions, by-pass border controls, ticketing booths, long queues and dodgy hotels. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re Kim K or Brad and Ange. Ideal for anyone looking to add to their been-there-done-that list and Facebook gallery that will make friends at home jealous.
Take your eyes off Google Maps and focus on the sights: While the intention of travelling with family is to bond, it can easily end up in a quarrel if there are important decisions to be made. Eliminate any causes of friction by having an objective third party decide on your routes and excursions. You’ll also avoid any border control meltdowns from your five-year old or grumpy partner as there’s no queuing. And – this one may just save a marriage - as no one will be tasked to drive there’s no need for any unnecessary backseat driving. Rather you can both sit back and play Eye Spy with the little ones to see who’ll be the first to spot the Eiffel Tower as you head into Paris or catch a glimpse of a medieval castle amongst the trees in the Black Forests of Germany. This will create much better memories than screaming blue-murder at customs.
Space to pack in some freestyle: Despite its carefully planned schedule, a guided holiday also takes a time-out by allowing you to unplug from the itinerary every now and again and just explore. So while the excursions set by the tour operator are there to make sure you get to see the most popular sights, simple trips to a local market, or just people watching at a café along the De Champs Élysées are priceless. Your tour guide is an expert on the local cuisine and tourism and is there to make suggestions and also listen to your ideas and point you in the right direction – put them to good use and make the most of their local intel.
Arrive home recharged: Unless the most movement your trip will require of you is from the pool to the beach bar, it’s very common for people to say they need another holiday upon returning from one.
On a guided holiday however you’ll arrive home having visited major international cities including Amsterdam and Paris, cruised along the Rhine River, enjoyed the splendour of the Burgundy wine region of France and lost yourself in the majestic beauty of Switzerland still feeling like you spent a week at the spa – which is why you went on holiday in the first place. Simple logic really.
With Spring around the corner, it’s time to start planning your “Where to?” for summer. Instead of going through all the hassle of booking a trip end-to-end, only to return tired with sore feet and a little less flush, consider taking it a lot easier by hopping on and off a luxury bus. With the Rand enjoying a flash of strength against the Euro, you’ll also get more kilometres for your buck.
Adapted from a press release for IOL
* To find out more about the 2016/17 touring season contact Pentravel www.pentravel.co.za or follow on @pentravel.