1-Touring Europe is not as easy as you’d think…

I returned home yesterday from a three week stay in Europe where I visited Italy, France, and Switzerland.  While at church this morning several people asked me, “How was your vacation?”  I laughed and replied, “We had a great time!” While at the same time I was really thinking, “They don’t have a clue what I do when I’m gone.”  

Yes, I understand traveling to Europe is something that only a few of us take advantage of in our lifetime.  For many it never crosses their mind, or maybe only pops up when they see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, or the Colesseum in a movie.  But for those of you who have traveled with me or have gone to Europe on your own know the magnetic draw to return again, and again.  I love traveling to Europe, but there is a lot of difference in going on a tour and leading a tour.  So in this post I thought I’d tell you a little about the work that goes into organizing a tour before anyone ever gets on the plane. 

Well, let’s see it all begins at least a year in advance when I begin dreaming up tour itineraries and destinations.  In some cases this is easy, especially with “proven” itineraries such as Paris to Rome or Venice, Florence, and Rome.   However, every year I do try to come up with some new city pairing or itinerary.  Once an itinerary is established the chore of nailing down hotels begins.  Now-a-days it is not so bad because I’ve got an established reputation with many hoteliers and if they’ve got room they’ll give it to me.  As you can imagine this takes some weeks to get responses from eight or nine hotels to all mesh with my planned itinerary.  With a little tweaking the tour itinerary is set.

Now that I’ve got a tour planned I’ve got to get people to sign up and go on it!  So then begins the tasks of tour promotions at trade shows, on the Internet, and by word of mouth.  If all goes well I’ll have enough folks signed up for the tour by the time mid-February rolls around.  By this time the vendors and hoteliers in Europe are asking for a deposit so I’ve got to decide how to pay.  You know the euro-to-dollar rate stinks right now.  For one or two travelers it’s not a real big deal if the exchange rate goes up by two percent, but when working with a group of twenty-five people that’s a big difference.  So I’ve got to be a bit of a gambler when pricing the tour twelve months in advance.  Luckily I projected correctly five out of the seven years I’ve been in business!

It’s now mid-March and let’s say I’ve got the tour planned and even have it filled with people who want to travel to Europe with me.  So now all I’ve got to do is collect the final payments, get on an airplane and meet them in Europe.  Well that’s a story for the next post!

**You can add your two-cents by clicking on the {comments} link at the bottom of this entry.**



About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Ray Land Reply

    What an outstanding idea! It really is an interesting world out there. Many times I have thought a writing a book about all the adventures, trials, errors and solutions in the coach business… maybe the name will be “Growing Fabulous”. 🙂 This blog is such a great way to record your thoughts and share them with all.

    Wishing you continued success and happiness!


  2. linda Reply

    Just read this entry and it reminded me of mission trips I have made in the Caribbean….after spending 6-8 months in preparation to go and working night and day once we are at our destination in primitive conditions compared to home, I have returned with attitudes from some that “it is just a vacation”….Jenny faced the same after a three-week mission trip to Lucerne….some church members came up to her and asked “how was your vacation.” Dennis and I just returned from a little trip to Monticello, Montpelier, Ash Lawn-Highland (home of James Monroe), Shenandoah National Park, and a day in DC. It WAS a vacation….just the two of us doing what we wanted to do.

    You do the work so those that go can sit back and enjoy!! We look forward to traveling with you again! Have a good summer….and take a little time for yourself!

  3. Jennifer Reply

    Sounds like fun work!! Not the part about having to contact 8 or 9 hotels though. 🙂 I would love for my hubby and I to travel to Europe some day!

  4. Jennifer B Reply

    Im glad you get to do all of the work and people like me, who love your tours, get to relax and enjoy the experience. So, thanks Mr. McGuffin!

  5. Susan Reply

    I have traveled with David for over a decade now, but really never stopped to think of what he must do to prepare for a trip. I have been with him on trips with large numbers ( an entire marching band ) and with just my family ( 3 to 6 people ). He always makes sure every little detail is taken care of before the trip. I appreciate all that he does in advance to make sure that his trips are a success.

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