Europe Tours Archives

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

europe-traveler-book-advance

Arranging the European vacation of a lifetime doesn’t just happen two weeks before you depart.

It can take months to get all the details in order and properly prepare for your trip.

In fact, the best time to start planning your trip to Europe is up to a year before you take your trip.

Why? Here are 10 surprising reasons to book ahead:

 

1. Get the best possible discounts by booking your tour up to 17 months in advance.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

It’s no secret that if you wait until the last minute to purchase a tour to Europe, you’ll probably not get any early booking savings. In order to avoid steep costs for your international flights, buy the tour with air several months in advance.

While research shows that domestic flights are best priced around 54 days in prior to departure, for foreign flights, the earlier you reserve your seats the better.

Generally, international flights are available for booking 11 months in advance, and escorted trips can be booked up to 17 months in advance which means in June, you can schedule your trip through October of the following year.

If you are already planning to travel in 2018 then why not lock in your price, getting the best deal in the process?  And when you want us to take care of your flight just book the tour with air inclusive and we will take care of finding the best flight that will match up with your escorted Europe trip. We always offer the best prices to those clients who book the earliest.

 

2. Plan your Pre- and Post-Tour Extensions when and where you want.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

By booking escorted Europe tours months prior to your trip, you have a better choice of extensions.

European travel is incredibly popular, especially during the summer months. With a little advance planning, you can create great extensions — maybe even stop over in a city you’ve always wanted to explore for a few days after the tour is complete.

Popular extension cities like London are perfect for a short visit before or after your tour—but it takes time to do the additional planning.

Wouldn’t you love to see more of Big Ben or the Tower of London after your British Isles tour? That’s the beauty of planning your escorted Europe tour booking months in advance – with a little advance planning, you can see even more places on your bucket list.

3. Avoid sitting in the dreaded center seat at all costs.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Let’s be honest for a second: no one likes the center seat.

At some point during your transatlantic flight, you are both the “disrupted” and “disruptee.” Doesn’t it always happen that when you’ve just reached the best part of your book, the person at the window needs to stretch their legs? Or perhaps when you need to do the same, the passenger on the aisle has reached REM sleep?

Avoid the center seat dilemma by booking in advance. Then the only problem will be deciding between more leg room on the aisle or getting to see beautiful landscapes from the window!

 

4. Ensure your spot on the tour of your dreams.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Not only do seats on a plane fill up quickly, so do spots on a tour. Why wait, risking that the tour you’ve always dreamed of will be sold out? And if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you won’t want to compromise with your second or third choice.

If you book ahead, you are virtually guaranteed to get a spot on the tour and departure date that works best for you.

Check out our 2018 tour dates to see what’s available.

 

5. Get your ducks in a row before you go.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

There are lots of details involved in international travel—give yourself plenty of time so there’s no last-minute stress.

For example: Your passport. Do you have one? If not, you’ll need a couple of months between applying for it and receiving it.

If you already have a passport, double-check that it’s valid at least six months from the date of your return flight or you’ll need a new one.

How’s your luggage situation? If it’s been awhile since you took a long trip, you may want to shop around for a new set of luggage with a good quality carry-on bag meeting today’s FAA regulations. Planning ahead means you can wait for a good sale!

Pick up a guide book and do some research about the places you are visiting. Make a list of the things you absolutely want to see while you’re in Europe.

Finally, go over your packing list to make sure you have everything you need for stress-free international travel—don’t forget comfortable walking shoes.

Talk with your cell phone service provider about international plans to save you expensive minutes. Buy outlet adapters so that you can charge digital cameras, cell phones, laptops, and other electronics.

 

6. Learn a few foreign phrases and enhance your experience.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Learning simple words and phrases may come in handy while traveling abroad. For instance, you may want to grab a taxi back to your hotel after a night at the Vienna Opera House.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know a few German phrases for tourists?

A little foreign language also makes for a great conversation starter when getting to know your fellow tour mates. Exchange the phrases you acquired before the trip with others, picking up some new conversation starters for your language rolodex. When in Rome, as they say!

 

7. Pick a time of year that best suits your schedule and best suits the weather.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Vacations provide an escape from our busy, busy lives—and sometimes, it’s hard to find two or three weeks to spend on yourself unless you plan many months in advance.

And of course, once you find your vacation sweet spot, you want to make sure the weather will be pleasant in your dream destination. A trip to Spain and Portugal, for instance, would be a completely different experience in October than in July.

The smart thing about reserving your tour well in advance is that you can see your favorite cities when they are at their best.

Haven’t you heard? You’ll love Paris in the springtime. And for that matter, London and Rome aren’t half-bad, either.

 

8. Organizing a trip abroad can be time consuming – take time to plan around everyday life!

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Life never stops, it never slows down. Summer months are full of vacations, weddings, sporting events, and more. As you move into fall, holiday activities pack your schedule, and before you know it, it’s a new year.

Arranging your European tour a year in advance lets you work vacation-planning around all of life’s activities.

Take time between school events, sports activities, business trips – you name it – to research all the sights you want to see and foods you’d love to try.

 

9. The kids are back in school, so you have more time to focus on your dream trip.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

September is back-to-school season for your children and grand kids. And that means you have a little more to spend on yourself and planning your bucket-list tour of Europe.

And if you’re planning a family adventure together, you’ll have everyone’s school schedule for the following year so you’ll know the best times to book.

 

10. And finally, planning a trip to Europe is just plain exciting! Why wait to get started?

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

The joy of a lifetime adventure to Europe goes beyond just the day you climb on the plane until the day you return to home base—the whole planning process before you go is packed with anticipation and excitement.

Who doesn’t love having something to look forward to? (And the sooner you book, the more time you have to dream about your journey and plan for each bucket-list experience you’ll check off your list.)

See yourself in Europe next year? Contact us today to get the planning process started.

Announcing 3 New Europe Tours for 2018

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We are pleased to bring you three new Europe tours for the coming year:

16-DAY  SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC HIGHLIGHTS
• Includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
• Departs June 14
• Featuring Tour Manager Richard Munning

12-DAY  SCANDINAVIA HIGHLIGHTS
• Includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland
• Departs June 14
• Featuring Tour Manager Richard Munning

18-DAY  HOLLAND & FRANCE FAVORITES

(Also known as “Best of Our West Europe” Tour)

• Includes Rotterdam, Delft, Zeeland, Bruges, Rouen, Bayeux, Normandy, Chenonceaux Castle,  Bordeaux, Lourdes, Carcassonne, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Pont du Gard, Avignon, Cannes, Nice and Paris
• Departs September 28
• Featuring Tour Manager Ron Lazet

For itineraries and prices, see our website www.ImageTours.com.

We have already announced the Tour Managers for these new tours. Ron Lazet will be leading the Best of Our West tour and Richard Munning will be leading both of our new Scandinavia tours. We are announcing Ron and Richard now so that if you’ve had either of them on a past tour and would like to travel with either again on a different tour, you now have that opportunity.

 

Fall Europe Tours Mean Lower Prices

Seasoned Europe travelers know that fall is one of the best times to visit Europe because the airfare is lower, crowds are thinner, and temperatures are milder compared to the summer peak season. Plus, if you time it right, there is the splendor of the fall colors. September or October Europe tours are still available. Hurry though as these departures are filling fast, especially September. Request your FREE 76-page Europe brochure today!

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Five European Villages You’ll Fall in Love With

When travelers first think of a trip to Europe, it’s the large cities such as Rome, Paris, and London that are usually at the top of their wish list to see.  But for many who have been to the Old World, it’s the time spent in the smaller villages that they remember most fondly.  Villages are intimate places … easy to explore and ripe with opportunities to mingle with the locals.

Here are five European villages you are sure to fall in love with:

1. Innsbruck, Austria

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

The Alps dominate the landscape in this winter sports village.  The mountains are so close it seems as if you can reach out and touch them.  Hiking is naturally a popular activity in Innsbruck and it’s just a short stroll across the Inn River to the foot of the Alps.  The Winter Olympics were held here in 1964 and 1976 and a ride to the top of the Ski Jump Tower offers a breathtaking panorama.

Innsbruck was the seat of royalty beginning in the late 1400s and that is reflected in the architecture of its many beautiful landmarks.  The most notable is the “Golden Roof” balcony in the village’s quaint historic section, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I for viewing festivals and other events in the square below.   The roof of the balcony consists of over 2000 golden tiles.  Whether it’s for natural wonders or man-made beauty, Innsbruck is always a traveler favorite.

 

2. Verona, Italy

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Made famous as the backdrop for Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, this medieval village sits in northern Italy to the west of Venice.  Although the lead characters in the tragedy are fictional, there is a 14th century residence that claims to be the home of Juliet, complete with a stone balcony where eternal love was declared.  A bronze statue of Juliet rests in the court yard and touching it is said to bring you luck in finding your true love.

The most impressive landmark in Verona is its first-century Roman arena.  The architecture is similar to the Colosseum in Rome and originally this outdoor venue held 30,000 people.  The arena is still used today for opera performances and in recent years for rock and pop concerts.   Much of the seating inside has been modernized, but some of the ancient stone seating is still used for events.

 

3. Riva del Garda

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

To visit Riva is to experience a slice of Italian heaven.  Riva is an historic resort village that sits on the northern end of Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake.  The panoramic views as you approach the lake are some of the most stunning in all of Europe.  Garda is a long and narrow lake formed by glaciers and the sight of the mountains rising out of its turquoise-colored water creates a dramatic sense of awe.

The pedestrian areas along the harbored waterfront are lovely to stroll and gelato (ice cream) shops beckon when you need a rest.  There is also a beach and park for relaxing.  The “Torre Apponale” bell tower, old city gates, and narrow meandering streets attest to Riva’s medieval history.  You may also detect some Austrian influence in the architecture as the village belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918 at the end of World War I.   Other resorts in Italy may get more buzz, but it would be difficult to find a more picturesque setting than Riva del Garda.

 

4. Volendam, The Netherlands

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Volendam is a small fishing village offering a large sampling of Dutch culture.  Here, you can still see locals dressed in traditional clothing from head (lace for the ladies and fisherman caps for the men) to toe (wooden shoes).  Walking along the tiny harbor, you can see an amusing variety of boats on the water.  If you continue along the harbor street, you may find yourself walking between two rows of small homes where neighbors compete for the tidiest entrance and window displays.

Along the water, there are shops that sell the pretty blue and white Delft pottery as well as many other souvenirs. There is also a cheese shop where you can watch a video on how the cheese is made.  Friendly cafés invite you in for coffee and Dutch apple pie, while street vendors offer delicacies from the sea such as smoked paling (eel) and raw herring.   Also be sure to try Dutch pancakes or poffertjes (mini pancakes).

 

5. Rothenburg, Germany

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Walking into this Bavarian village is like stepping into a fairy tale.  With its timbered houses, narrow alleys, and wall surrounding the town, Rothenburg’s medieval atmosphere will make you feel as if you’ve travelled back in time.  This charming village of just over 11,000 people is situated on the Romantic Road in the south central part of Germany.

There’s so much to explore here.  Climb to the top of the town hall bell tower for a bird’s eye view of the village or stroll the path atop the wall surrounding the town.  For a refreshment, stop by a bakery to sample some strudel or sip apple cider from a street vendor in the town square.  As you might imagine, there are many interesting shops to check out such as Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Weihnachtsdorf, a sprawling, year-round Christmas shop.  There are also several unusual museums including a Medieval Crime Museum, History Museum with Town Dungeon, and Doll and Toy Museum.  You’re certain to find the village of Rothenburg a magical place with a little something for everyone!

 

If this is the year you want to start looking at a trip to Europe, request a FREE 76-page Europe brochure today.

 

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

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It would be hard to miss America’s fascination with the British Isles after we fell in love with the Crawley’s on Downton Abbey or watched the rise of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s critically acclaimed hit, The Crown.

While those shows painted beautiful portraits of the English countryside and all the glamour of London, there are so many picturesque spots and fascinating experiences to be found across the pond in the British Isles. Take a look at 15 of our favorites.

 

1. Tour Oxford, the renowned and ancient University.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Oxford University is the oldest university in Great Britain. While the exact date of foundation is not conclusive, the school was truly established by Henry II in 1167. Famous graduates include former President Bill Clinton, author C.S. Lewis, Dr. Stephen Hawking, and many more.

 

2. Explore Warwickshire, the birthplace and home of William Shakespeare.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, nestled within Warwickshire and northwest of London. He spent most of his life there, meeting his love and muse, Anne Hathaway and writing many of his acclaimed plays.

Many Shakespearian landmarks still exist, including Anne Hathaway’s enchanting cottage and New Place, where William Shakespeare spent the remaining years of his life.

 

3. Walk through “The Shambles” and be transported through time to 14th century England.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

One of the best preserved streets of the United Kingdom, and indeed, perhaps in all of Europe, can be found in York.

Known as “The Shambles,” this street is lined with antiquated timber-framed buildings, some dating back to the 14th century. Most of the buildings were meat houses and butcher shops, which is where the term “Shambles” comes from – the medieval word “shamel” means slaughterhouse.

Time travel may only be possible in the movies or on television, but one comes pretty close to it when visiting “The Shambles.”

 

4. Enjoy a traditional English tea – with cakes and finger sandwiches to boot!

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

You can’t visit the British Isles without partaking in the longstanding tradition of Afternoon Tea.

Since the 1840s, Brits have relaxed and socialized with tea between the lunch and dinner hours. Often served with cakes, scones, and small finger-sized sandwiches, afternoon tea is a must when visiting the British Isles.

 

5. See all that the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh, has to offer.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

London may be the capital city on the southern end of the British Isles, but Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bruh) is the capital city of the north.

While there, walk the Royal Mile and see many famous Scottish landmarks, including the mighty Edinburgh Castle, Parliament, and Holyrood, home of Mary, Queen of Scots. After seeing the many famous structures of the capital city, take time to stroll through Edinburgh’s idyllic gardens, Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

 

6. Enchant yourself with the beauty of Grasmere, or as poet William Wordsworth described it, “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

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After visiting the rolling hills, tranquil meadows, and glassy ponds of Grasmere, William Wordsworth composed his poem, “A Farewell,” noting that the land was “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found,” (read his poem here).

With that recognition, how could you not at least take a peek?

 

7. Walk the same halls that the Royals have walked over many centuries.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Castles dot the British Isles from Great Britain to Ireland, dating back many centuries.

Dublin Castle was built in the 13th century and is still a major governmental center and open for viewing.

Edinburgh Castle suffered many battles—rebuilt so many times that it contains many different architectural styles. Here are 10 facts that might surprise you about Edinburgh Castle.

 

8. Visit and learn to pronounce Europe’s longest-named city: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

This Welsh town’s name contains 58 letters and is shortened to Llanfairpwll, or Llanfair PG. The name means “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave”.

Want to get some practice saying it before you go? Watch a weatherman flawlessly pronounce the city’s name it its entirety.

 

9. Sip Ireland’s famous dark beer at the Guinness Brewery.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Based in Ireland’s capital city of Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse is located in the same place as the original brewery that opened in 1876.

Learn about the company’s history as well as the process used to brew the black ale. And, of course, enjoy sampling the product right where it is made – much better than from a can or bottle!

 

10. Admire the artistry and reverence of the Book of Kells.

The Book of Kells consists of the four Gospels written in Latin and accompanied by elaborate illustrations. The book dates back to around 800 AD and is famous for its beautiful and ornate design.

You can find it by visiting Trinity College in Dublin, which followed in the footsteps of Oxford and Cambridge and has been an educational institution since 1592.

 

11. Gaze the gorgeous great coast of Ireland at the Ring of Kerry.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Ireland’s famous green coast can best be seen at the Ring of Kerry, located at the Iveragh Peninsula. The “Ring” is a scenic, circular drive around the peninsula.

Be sure to bring your camera (or at least a smartphone!) as you’ll want to capture the incredible landscape.

 

12. Kiss the Blarney Stone and get the gift of eloquence.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle you will receive the gift of elegant speech. Although the origin of the stone had been debated until recently, the power of the stone has never been questioned.

Wives, you may want to make sure your husband gets a good long kiss!

 

13. Survey the mysterious Stonehenge in person.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Stonehenge, located on the southern end of Great Britain, is one of man’s greatest mysteries. Who built it? What purpose did it serve? And most mysterious of all – just how was it constructed? One thing’s for certain, Stonehenge is an unmissable landmark of the British Isles.

 

14. Behold the splendor of Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth II resides.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history (she celebrated a Sapphire Jubilee this year), has been living at Buckingham Palace since 1952.

When you visit, you might even witness the Changing the Guard ceremony when one regiment takes over for another.

 

15. Journey through London, one of the world’s most fascinating cities.

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

London is a fantastic mix of age-old sites and modern innovations. Take, for instance, the London Eye, a monstrous state-of-the-art ferris wheel providing roughly 40 minutes of city views – juxtaposed to view historical Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament.

See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London or go shopping for your own jewels at Harrods, the luxurious department store. Whatever your fancy, London is sure to please.

 

Final thoughts…

The British Isles aren’t just a group of islands that make up the United Kingdom. They are culture, history, one-of-a-kind views – a land that transcends time. For such a geographically small part of the world, the British Isles make their mark as a place you really must visit at least once in your lifetime.

See something that speaks to your inner Anglophile? An experience you don’t want to miss? Get in touch today and see how easy it is to picture yourself in the British Isles this year.

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