This has been our question before we signed up with the tour package. Having too focused on the wedding planning, we decided to surrender ourselves in the hands of the expert (aka Tour Leader). We thought we wouldn’t have time to research much on the places to go. Furthermore the tour package looks really promising, covering 4 cities in Italy, 2 cities in Switzerland and the ultimate city, Paris in 12 days. We didn’t think twice to sign up the package.
However, a few weeks before the trip, I have the itch to research about the places to go, museums to visit, nice restaurants to try, bookshops to peek through, branded outlets to spend and flea markets to plunder. Which leads to certain disappointment when we couldn’t visit any of the places I’ve researched. I came to some conclusions, that to answer this question is to line up your priorities.
I managed to think through during our trip, about these priorities. Here are some of them:
- Making Love/Baby. You got what I mean, right. If this aspect is deemed very important for your honeymoon, don’t take tour package! The typical tour will starts from 7 am – 7 pm. Leaving you and your partner extremely tired of walking and no/ less energy to do any night exercises. Not that we didn’t have any sessions, but it got a little tiring after a long walk, spectacular sights and long coach journey. Free & Easy allows you to pace yourself to do whatever you like. Strolling at Spanish Square in Rome, sitting and people-watching in the beautiful outdoor cafe in Rome, while the busker playing “Besame Mucho” with his accordion, will build up the romantic mood for the night. We also had our sweet time during the free time, but it was only for 1-2 hours. It’s not enough!!!
- Convenience. Tour package will spoonfeed you with the easiest way of travel, sit down in the coach and enjoy the beautiful scenery while your tour leader furnished you with trivial information about the surrounding. We had the most super-knowledgeable-tour-leader-ever, Jason Ang from SA Tour. I have to kow-tow to his experiences in European history, culture and even roadway! I love history, especially European history. I considered myself well-equipped with it, but Jason amazed me with his knowledge on the event year, statistic, what happened, etc. Everything was so smooth, from time estimation travel to the food to the booking of the activities. We don’t have to queue for anything, except female toilet! Everything is pre-booked. It feels good when you can just passed all the long queue (e.g Eiffel Tower) and use the special pass for group. Very convenient! If this aspect is your no 1 consideration, start visiting NATAS fair soon.
- Price. I have to say, most probably tour package is cheaper than Free&Easy. Simply because of economies of scale. Buying in bulk is always cheaper than buying one at a time. We calculated, if we were to visit the places we visited on our own, it will cost 30% more and take a longer time.
- Experiencing the lifestyle or Selecting only the beatiful portion. When you go with the tour, they will only bring you to the nice, commercial, picturesque places. They will bring you to Rue-Saint Honore or Champs-Élysées in Paris and not the dirty underground train with suspicious looking people around. Some of my friends have bad impression of Paris after taking the run-down underground Metro or being ill-treated with the cafe attendant. My boss was a victim of a skillful-pickpocket gypsy in Rome while taking the public transport. While I had a fabulous time in Rome and Paris and didn’t experience any of those. But again, I didn’t visit the subway or dined at the French cafe. Our meals in Paris were Singapore-Chinese food. Yet, after 10 days of bread and ham, we didn’t mind at all.
Judging by the number of honeymooners in our tour group, I guess convenience and price are main priorities for Singaporeans. We had 7 honeymoon couples in our tour, make up a big postion of the group.
For us, this trip is a Sampling-Trip. We are only sampling Europe and check out which cities are worthed re-visiting. I personally love Rome, because of the magnificent archeology relics. My childhood dream is to become an archeologist. So being able to see and touch the relics from thousand of years ago were like a dream come true.
We didn’t regret taking the tour package (although I did have some slight regret for not going on our own when I saw the flea market by the road side of Paris from the coach). It gave us a headstart of our own journey next time. Hence this is our honeymoon part I!