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I have to admit, I was a skeptic. It was about 2010, and we knew we were going to take the trip we always dreamed about to Italy. We were busy, and ran out of time to research and set up the details of our trip. We reluctantly booked a group tour, and I learned immediately that my preconceived ideas were entirely wrong. Group Tours are the way to go! Here's what I learned.

Myth 1. Escorted group tours are too expensive.

Think Costco and Sam's Club. What do they have? Volume discounts! Doesn't it make sense that a group can travel at a discount over a single traveler? Group travel is certainly a better value. You get local guides, strategically placed hotels, often included meals, and unique cultural experiences you wouldn't get on your own.

Myth 2. We are going to be waiting for a big group of old people.

On our first trip I found I was completely wrong on that account. We turned out to be the oldest on the trip. We met people from around the world, and the tours were well structured and punctual. What I really liked is that we did not have to stand in that three hour line to see the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. We had a group pass, and marched past that long line right in. People that have the time and resources do tend to be a bit older but we travel with people of all ages. Besides, we still know how to have fun as we age, and there is some wisdom, maturity, and courtesies we tend to pick up with a few years.

Myth 3. There won't be any free time.

All group tours I've been on have had a nice combination of interesting guided tours followed by plenty of free time to explore on my own. Some of my best travel memories are on group tours. An afternoon of biking through small villages in Austria, that moonlit dinner with Rhonda by the Pantheon, and of course, getting lost in the backstreets and canals exploring Venice.

Myth 4. I'm capable of going on my own, why do I need a group tour?

Well, besides not having to read lots of books to know what you are actually seeing, to make all kinds of arrangements in a place you're not familiar with, and waiting in that line at the Vatican Museum, consider the value of going with tour leaders who have been there, and done that. Going to Alaska and want to know the best excursions to see? Going down the Rhine River and wondering what to do with your free time? You need to connect with home and don't know your options overseas? What's the best way to exchange currency? Forgot your medication? You have a family emergency and need to get home? We've had these, and many more experiences. We can help you with the extra touches, or those unexpected surprises. Take one group tour and you'll be hooked like I was. The real highlight is the people you meet and friendship's you make on a group tour. Shortly after that first tour, we joined Wilfred and Harriet in Extra Touch Tours. Occasionally we do some exploratory trips so we can prepare to lead you. What do we do? Take a group tour of course!

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