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using a tour group or plan it myself

New Haven...
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using a tour group or plan it myself

I am having a hard time deciding if I should use the railroad travel company, a group tour place or just plan it myself for me and my friends. There will be 4 of us...young 60 yr olds. These forums are so awesome, why would I need to pay for a guided tour?

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1. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

We are visiting in November & feel the same, we are planning on doing the FREE walking tour on our 1st morning, then re visiting any points that we want to explore in more detail later on our selves


they work on tips after the tour, so you just pay what you feel it is worth, or you can leave it part way if you see somthing you like?

Budapest, Hungary
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for Budapest
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2. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

Hey Fern,

As Craig noted, there are typically free walking tours and such in almost every European city - and we TA folks tend to know most of them. The "free" piece comes in the sense that they accept tips (to what amount is your decision) after the tour.

And in a sense of direction/where to stay/see/etc., we can help fill in the blanks. I am the of the traveling fraternity that I like to explore on my own, at my own pace versus some tour group establishing the agenda for me. And Budapest for example, is absolutely safe (common sense necessary)!

One tricky item I see people ask about is the trains (I.e., Eurorail pass, etc.). GCEK - a TA expert for Prague is an expert on trains and assists us here in Budapest - he seems to nail it all (and is not a Eurorail fan by the way)...

We'll help you the best we can. My advice would be to do some general research and then ask us specific questions.



Washington DC...
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3. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

Budapest it a lot of walking, to make things easier you may want to consider hop on hop off bus tour, the ticket is good for two days and includes a river boat cruise. This way you can see it all but pick and choose what you want to explore.

Denver, Colorado
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for Pecs, Budapest
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4. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

Consider getting travel cards (good on the Metro, trams and busses). These are much cheaper than the HOHO buses and allow youch greater flexibility in seeing things.

new jersey
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5. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

We also have been considering a tour or do-it-yourself. Started researching hotels and train fares. The longest leg of the tour we want is Krakow to Budapest, 10+ hours either by bus or train. Is there a plane that goes this route for a shorter time? Also, if we take the night train sleeper for two, how much will it cost?

New Jersey
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for Key West
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6. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

I wanted to add that my friend and I visited Budapest last year for the first time. We were armed with quite a bit of information from this forum, a good guidebook (DK Eyewitness) and took two Free Budapest Walking tours while there - the general and the Jewish. We did fine. Budapest is not huge and since it's in the river valley it'sa not too difficult to figure out what is where and how to get there. We stayed on the Pest side and took the Metro to Margeret Island for a picnic, but otherwise we walked everywhere. On our second trip just last September we even managed to take the train to Eger to taste wine. You should also be OK on your own.


Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

I can recommend the hop on/ off bus and the river cruise, both a great experience.

The walking tours are good too, but tend to be very crowded, we opted to do our own tour after a doing a few walk tours in Europe.

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8. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

I've been debating both methods of traveling for some time. When I go with my husband, I prefer to plan the trip myself. We may not see as many "must sees" but we certainly get a better feel for the city (I do tons of research on Trip Advisor and buy at least one Eye Witness or Rick Steves guidebook -- I can almost see the city before I get there!). When I travel with a large group, I find a tour company preferable because it eliminates decisions. I think four friends would be fine without a tour, though, especially if the planning is a joint venture.

Have a wonderful time. Budapest is a fabulous city.

Phoenix, Arizona
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9. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

Look up Illes Andres on Trip Advisor he is a private tour guide, highly commended here on TA. Weused him last summer (2012) and will use his services again when we return for 4 weeks in summerof 2013.

Shelton, Washington
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10. Re: using a tour group or plan it myself

If uou are planning a multi city tour, a tour group is very helpful for someone your age- and mine too since I am 74. It eliminates the luggage transfer problem and how do I get to my hotel problem. Tours cost more but provide convenience.

For example, take Budapest where my wife and I spent two weeks earlier this month. If you take the train, you end up at Keleti and have to deal with luggage for four. The taxi rank will not have a car that can handle four and luggage- where is my tour bus when I need it?

You will be physically unable to deal with the metro and your luggage.

Don't confuse the movement around the city to see sights and your tour bus transportation. Look up Cosmos tours and see what you think of their tours. Their clientele is largely our age or slightly younger. You can always strike out on your own in any city.