Every traveler is a little different. Some like to really settle in to each destination and explore every neighborhood, while others like to skim the surface and keep on going to the next stop. And of course, there are those who want something in the middle. We refer to this as a traveler’s preferred tour pace, which is how on-the-go a tour is. Read on to learn about the four different tour paces and how this info can help you find the trip that perfectly matches your travel style.
Which on-tour elements determine the tour pace?
When we talk about tour pace, we’re looking at a few key things, including:
How many nights you’ll spend in each hotel.
How you’ll transfer from city to city.
The ratio of free time to included activities and how long you’ll be with your group each day.
These three factors determine how fast paced a tour is going to be. Basically, the more included activities and types of transportation, the busier the tour! The one factor that doesn’t influence the tour pace? The amount of walking you do each day and other mobility considerations. We classify tour pace and tour mobility separately because the amount of included activities and transportation methods doesn’t necessarily correlate with the physical requirements. For example, our Kenya Wildlife Safari includes a ton of daily activities, but you don’t walk much on tour. Here’s the breakdown of each tour pace and the best trips to take based on your desired activity level.
Let’s start with our leisurely paced tours
This type of tour is best if you like to have a home base. You’re going to be in each hotel for at least two nights so you have the opportunity to unpack and reorganize a bit. These tours offer ample free time in each destination so you can explore at your own pace after our introductory city tour, or add excursions to customize your trip. Plus, we take the unpredictability of travel out of the equation by transferring from city to city by coach bus. No planes, trains, or ferries to worry about on these tours!
London: The City Experience
You’ll unpack only once and call one well-located hotel your home for the whole week. With your Tour Director’s advice (and public transport covered!), living like a local has never been easier. You can opt to enjoy multiple free days, fill them up with excursions that fit your interest, or create your perfect mix of the two. Check out our London Travel Guide for tips on what to eat, see, and do in the city.
“My first trip to London was just wonderful!!” said traveler Susan. “We were helped by our wonderful tour host, Kay, to use the Underground so we were free to effortlessly zoom around London. We got great advice on the easiest ways to visit our own destinations, so felt very assisted but not overly scheduled; a nice balance.”
Amsterdam, Luxembourg & Brussels
With three nights in Amsterdam, two nights in Luxembourg, and three nights in Brussels, you’ll have plenty of time to get acquainted with each city. These three cities offer so much on their own, but they’re also perfectly located for day trips. That’s why we offer full day excursions to Delft, Trier, and Antwerp so you can really decide how much of the Benelux region you see.
Food & Wine: A Taste of Bordeaux & Burgundy
Eat and drink your way through France as you travel by coach bus from Bordeaux through Burgundy and into Paris. Whether you’re touring wine cellars and markets or tasting cheeses and mustards, you’ll always be full but never exhausted. That’s because this tour includes plenty of free afternoons and evenings so you can rest between feasts if you wish. Prep for a culinary journey through France with these French dining tips.
If you want a bit more, check out our moderately paced tours
This type of tour is best if you like one or two fast-paced days but are more interested in spending the bulk of your time leisurely exploring your destinations. These tours still balance free time with inclusions, meaning you’ll never have more than three full days of included activities in a row. There may be one city where you only spend one night, but you’ll stay at most hotels for two or more nights. Since these trips cover more ground than our leisurely tours, it makes sense to occasionally use a different form of transportation than a coach bus (sometimes a change of scenery is good!), but we are sure to limit these non-bus transfers for your comfort.
Italy & Greece
To see both of these iconic countries in one trip, you really need to move around a bit. That’s why we include a flight from Rome to Athens as part of this tour’s itinerary, so that you maximize your sightseeing, but minimize the time traveling from point A to B. Aside from this one flight, the rest of the tour travels by coach bus, and there are no one-night hotel stays so you can really experience each city to its fullest.
London, Paris & Rome
Three of Europe’s biggest cities, each packed with an endless amount of opportunity. For this tour we make sure we maximize your time in each city by giving an introductory tour, and then offer different excursions so you can go in depth on some of the major sights if you’re interested. Read about one traveler’s memories from London, Paris & Rome.
“I loved having the option of staying with the tour and doing all of the excursions or heading out on your own to see the sights that personally interested my wife and me,” said traveler James. And because you’re traveling through three different countries, we make sure we’re transferring from one city to the next in the most efficient way possible. Non-coach transportation is a highlight on this trip, as you’ll travel by train through the famous Chunnel, a 31-mile tunnel connecting England and France below the English Channel.
A Week in Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Rainforests
When in Belize, you’re on island time! This tour is the perfect mix of history, culture, and relaxation. You’ll move about the country, staying two nights in each hotel, with a mix of longer and shorter days. That way you can enjoy the beautiful hotels we stay in on this tour without missing anything the country has to offer. You’ll transfer by water ferry to and from the island of San Pedro, but the waters are so blue that these won’t feel like normal transfers. They’re part of the experience—and the marine reserve off the coast of the island is one of 6 hidden gems in Belize to visit!
Take it up another notch with our brisk tours
This type of tour is best if you want to cover a lot of ground and have the majority of your time planned for you. These tours typically have more included activities and less free time available than our leisurely and moderately paced tours. We include mixed modes of transportation on these tours, so you’ll most likely have at least one non-bus transfer included, and there will be a maximum of two one-night hotel stays on your trip.
Jewels of Alpine Europe
This tour covers six incredible regions in 13 days, which means your group will be pretty busy experiencing all that beauty and history. Walk around beautiful towns like Annecy and Lake Como. Try local foods in Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. If you’re lucky enough to travel during the summer, catch a ride on the famous Bernina Express train to St. Moritz and discover the advantage of train travel. This tour is a bit on the longer side, so you’ll want to have good stamina to keep up during all of the activities packed in here.
Food & Wine: A Taste of Portugal
With an included tasting almost every day, on top of included lunches or dinners, this tour is packed with delicious treats. Just because this is a Food & Wine Tour, don’t think there isn’t variety in your days. Take a river cruise down the Douro River, tour wineries across the country, visit the UNESCO-listed city of Évora, and even take part in a cooking class. There’s certainly something new to look forward to each day.
Highlights of England, Scotland & Ireland
On this tour, you’ll travel 1,000 miles (the distance from Time’s Square to Tampa, Florida!), sleep in six different cities, and explore many more sites as you take in the beauty of these three countries in the span of just 12 days. We call this a “highlights” tour because that’s what you get, a high level overview. This is not a tour for those looking to go in depth into any specific city or town. While your days will be busy, you’ll have most of your evenings free to relax, explore on your own, or add an excursion if you really want to pack it all in.
“This tour was exactly as advertised, and we saw many highlights of these three countries,” said traveler Sarah. “We absolutely loved the train ride to Scotland, the ferry over to Dublin, and the excursions in Dublin of the home-hosted dinner and the Irish dinner and entertainment—a must for anyone on this tour. Yes, you spend a good bit of time on the bus but David [our Tour Director] was so knowledgeable and full of stories and history, and did a great job of entertaining and engaging us, so the hours passed pleasantly.”
And finally, if you want a full itinerary each day, check out our on-the-move tours
This type of tour is really for those who want to cover as much ground as possible and have as little free time as possible. The majority of the days and evenings on these tours are full of inclusions, we have no limit on how frequently you change hotels, and your transfers can really vary. These tours are designed to show as much of a destination as possible.
Egypt & the Nile
Half land, half cruise, this full-on Egyptian travel experience is one to remember. It’s a country bursting with historical ruins and you’ll get a full education when traveling with our Egyptologist Tour Directors. They’ll take you to the most famous sights like the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, but they’ll also show you Karnak temple, the Temple of Philae, and Kom Ombo. You’ll be exploring from the morning until the evening when you sit down for included group dinners nine out of 10 nights.
“Egypt has more than 5,000 years of history, but you’ll see it all in less than two weeks, so you can imagine how fast paced this trip is going to be,” said traveler Nerissa. “But, all you’re going to see on this trip will be mind blowing and totally worth the effort and tiredness.”
Kenya Wildlife Safari
For this tour, the transportation is the experience. Your guide is with you the entire time and the Jeep you ride in for your game drive vehicle is your main mode of transport. When you’re going from place to place it doesn’t feel like down time, just another opportunity to cross another Big Five animal off your animal sighting list. Check our our Kenya Travel Guide for some of the top things to see, do, and eat. Be prepared for early mornings and long afternoons as you track down some of the most majestic animals on the face of the planet.
A Week in Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
With so much history and culture to cover in just one week, you should be prepared to be on the move for this entire tour. You’ll travel over 600 miles on planes, trains, and coaches busses from Lima through the Andes Mountains so you can spend a few hours in one of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World: Machu Picchu.
While it’s a lot of traveling, it’s absolutely worth it once you climb the final steps and look out over the ruins of a once-thriving Incan city. “I have been on many tours to several different countries and had many ‘pinch me moments,’” said traveler Cara. “I can honestly say that seeing Machu Picchu for the first time was not only breathtaking, but left us speechless.”
Still not sure which tour pace is right for you?
We get it. There’s so much to consider. That’s why we recommend exploring our site to find trips you love, and then giving us a call. Our expert Tour Consultants will be happy to chat about what you can expect on each trip and whether it’s the right fit for you. You can reach them at 1-800-590-1161.