Do you have any recommendations regarding escorted tours of Germany? I did searches on the forum and see that typically there are no responses at all for escorted tour questions and get that. Trip Advisor is really a site for people doing independent travel. And that's what we've always done in the past. But thought I'd give it a shot, as Trip Advisor forums have been so terrific for me for independent travel planning in the past and people here know so much. DH 62, however, would like to travel to Germany and do a tour (not really do any planning - just pick a trip).
There are no sites or areas in particular that he would like to see (He's totally open). I'm 56, have never had any desire to travel to Germany, but think it would be a perfectly interesting place to go (happy to go along for the ride), and I do have four sets of great grandparents who came to the United States from Germany, back in the late 1800s so that makes me a little curious. We'll also invite and pay for DS 21 to go and he said he's be game (I've never seen him pass up travel chances and he's lots of fun to travel with). DS likes traveling, is a photographer, and gets along well with people of all ages. We would all be fine staying in the same room too if that is an option, and maybe I should look for a tour that allows that, as that would lower costs v. doing a single supplement? That's not the biggest factor.
DH's main interest in Germany is German food. I asked for some suggestions about that for independent travel and got some great responses, but DH has now decided that he wants to go the escorted tour route (free time with a general escorted tour FYI is great). He's really usually likes it best to get insight from locals (touch base with family, friends, acquaintances, etc. for more insight/local flavor) but on both side of the family we aren't in contact with anyone who lives in Germany. DH studied German in HS and College, but although he is quite good at languages is pretty rusty. I don't speak any German and DS doesn't speak any German. // We like cities as well as mountains. Lots of DH's favorite vacations (This trip is really for him) involve being in the mountains. We do a lot of travel to the Western US, though, and get our mountain fill, so that is not necessarily a requirement for this trip. I'm just mentioning this as something he likes. DH could care less about seeing cathedrals and castles, but is fine to have some of that in a tour. He realizes stuff like that is going to be included and DS and I I'm sure would enjoy that.
We're pretty flexible on budget, usually stay at nice, but not fancy places -- think Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inns, rental condos but not four or five star hotels with amenities and services (We don't like to pay for overpriced wifi, food). A private bathroom for the three of us is a must for DH. DS and I are cool with more basic places (hostels, bunking up, etc.), but that's not a good option for DH. Time wise, one or two weeks would be fine. We aren't though talking about something more than two weeks. The really high end tours and pricey private tours would be more than what we would be willing to spend. We are wanting to go in mild weather so are thinking late spring, summer, or early fall and know that may mean higher airfares too.
I did some internet searching and found the following -- any thoughts on any of these or any of your own recommendations as to what might be a nice tour for DH in particular? I've printed out all of these for DH to review. Any thoughts on companies (good reputation a plus), and / or specific tours -- personal experience, hearsay, reading of other people's reviews, sites where I would find reviews?
Globus has three tours of Germany:
Bavarian Highlights -- 9 day tour from Munich to Munich
German Highlights -- 11 day tour from Frankfurt to Frankfurt
Road Scholar had German Icons: Berlin, Dresden, and Munich -- 11 days
Rick Steve's Europe had a Best of Germany in 13 days -- We would need to pack lighter than we normally do on trips for this, but I think we could handle that. DS as a photographer usually as a tripod, camera, and at least one other lens. He usually travels with a MacBook pro too for downloading and using photoshop on photos. I really couldn't see him not wanting to take this stuff on his one and perhaps only trip to Germany and that could be a little bit of a challenge for him on this one for what I've seen described. He has skipped the tripod before so could skip that too. He's small, but works out (is in great physical shape) and could probably manage all that plus clothes. Or we could pack some clothes for him and all just go with minimal stuff we wear over and over.
Cosmos had a 12 day Frankfurt to Frankfurt -- I saw one review of that on the internet with someone who was super disappointed at food and accommodations outside of the city centers different than what was listed, so I think I'll eliminate this one. This is the only tour that I saw any specific reviews of and only one, which definitely is not exactly a good statistical sampling.
Trafalgar has a 13 day Best of Germany
Collette has a 12 day Romantic Road and Fairy Tale Road tour
Goahead Tours had an Octoberfest Grand Tour of Germany -- DH eliminated that one and some other tours too from other places that focused just on Christmas markets. That's not his interest. He thinks a more general tour would be better.
Any thought on any of these? Any other tours to consider? I appreciate any and all thoughts and opinions.