I've always packed light, as I have always had to carry my own luggage. In my younger days, the weight didn't matter, but with age I pay more attention to the weight to make it easier for me to carry my bag on and off transportation. This photo shows what I carried my 'stuff' in: the
RS wheeled bag is 21", my Tamrac camera bag/personal item was 12"X10", a tiny Baggallini cross body fit in my camera bag, and my moneybelt was a leg wallet. The total weight was 28 pounds including my DSLR.
I have a generic packing list that I adjust depending on the trip. When I was young, I always forgot something, now I never do.
Tips pertinent to this tour:
1. When the guide gives you her cell number, keep it where you will have it with you always. You never know when you need to call her to find out where the bus is waiting for you (not my story, but lesson learned).
2. Take a photograph of the bus so you can identify it when every bus in the parking lot looks the same (how I met more tour mates.)
3. Tendency for motion sickness? Sit in the middle of the bus. In your bus kit, have ginger gum and/or cookies, dramamine, and wrist bands, then you can see what you need, if anything. I found the ginger items and wrist bands were sufficient once I sat in the middle of the bus.
4. Bus bag: On bus days, you will want a bag you keep on the bus with snacks, entertainment, etc.
5. If traveling solo, pay for the single supplement.
6. On bus days, go early to breakfast, so your system will be ready for the bus ride.
My Trip Tips
I have traveled independently using Rick's books for years. As I am now of the age that I am seriously checking items off of my bucket list, I turned to Rick's Greece tour. Greece has been on my list since college.
Here are the reasons I chose this tour:
1. College was many years ago. I needed to be re-educated about Greek history, myths and art.
2. I was not able to be away from home for too many weeks so I needed to be efficient because traveling solo, for me, means not renting a car.
3. For this Greece trip, my family would worry about me less if I were on a tour rather than traveling solo.
4. Rick's tours consist of small groups of active people.
5. I wanted a good tour vs free time balance so I could still enjoy travel my way.
6. The itinerary covered major sites and lesser known areas, a good mix.
Note: I had reservations about being in a group of random people. Sometimes you can be lonelier in a group than you ever would be alone. I even brought noise cancelling headphones for the bus just in case I was not compatible with the group. I worried needlessly, but it is always good to be prepared. Our group, as I described, gelled quickly and consisted of very kind people.
To quote the last comment in my journal:
"Tour Conclusion: Well worth the money!"
I have spoken so highly of my experience, my husband has decided to join me on a Rick Steves tour in 2018!
Rick Steves Greece
Neighborhood graffiti, just adds to the wonderful energy of Athens.
Flags were flown all over the city on Independence Day.
The Acropolis towers above Athens.
Amazingly Talented Driver
Incredible Fulltime Guides
Friendly Curious Travelers
Knowledgeable Local Guides
March 25-Apr 7, 2017
Who am I? A 60 something, introverted, solo traveling female who studied Art of the Ancient Greeks in college and had forgotten most of it.
Who did I travel with? A wonderful, fun group of interested and interesting, well traveled, kind people who were friendly and inclusive. Solo travelers were welcomed along any time, and also allowed to be free; however the mood struck. We were one family of three, eight couples, and six women consisting of two traveling and rooming together, two traveling together and rooming separately, and two traveling solo and rooming solo.
Who educated, assisted and befriended us? Our ever cheerful and brilliant guide Anastasia, who filled our minds with information and stories all day long. Our assistant guide, Philippos, who was always a pleasant, well traveled source of information...our handsome actor! Our driver Christos, who appeared to all of us to be about 17 years old (but wasn't), could squeeze that bus through the smallest of openings, and turn on a dime...or on a cliff edge.
>> Click on photo for more group pictures.