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Old 01-11-2013, 08:41 AM   #16
SingingMom
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Originally Posted by familygoboston
If you are on this thread, you obviously read my "essay" above so you know where I stand But I will say there are certain trips we do not do ABD, because we can do it more economically on our own or with anther group.

Generally, I choose ABD for places where a misstep could land you in a really unsafe or uncomfortable situation or where language and lack of consumer protections makes it harder to arrange on our own. For us that has often meant we use ABD in developing places and go on our own in places where a misstep might be regrettable but not dangerous ( like Australia, or the US).

We've also picked other tour companies when for the same price we got more of what we were looking for out of another trip. For instance for Africa, we wanted to maximize our game drives and safari time. It's not that we didn't want anything cultural, but that with a relatively short amount of time, we wanted to spend more time on safari and less doing wine and food, sightseeing and cultural stuff. We ended up paying a little more to tour with an outfitter where we toured privately with just our family group and we spent 10 full days in safari camps, although at one of the camps we spent 2 days doing cultural and sightseeing activities as well as game drives. This was more than ABDs 3 or 4 nights on Safari. To me it would have been "not worth it" to spend that much money and time traveling for so little safari.

In the end its your call. Probably your question is more about emotion- "that's a lot of money, I hope I don't regret it" I will tell you, yes, it's a lot of money, but ABD does so much to make your trip amazing that when you return you will probably say "that was a lot of money, but I don't regret a penny of it!"
Excellent second "essay"! Tee Hee! Keep them coming! You put it so well!

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Old 01-11-2013, 03:40 PM   #17
familygoboston
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Thank you singingmom, just wish I could make my points without needing the essay My English teacher always said " too wordy""
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by familygoboston View Post
Thank you singingmom, just wish I could make my points without needing the essay My English teacher always said " too wordy""
Some of us like essays!

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Old 01-11-2013, 05:36 PM   #19
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Once again, I have to agree with FamilyGoBoston. We are very comfortable traveling all over Europe and the US, and don't feel the need to go with ABD. But there are times when the care we would have to take would outweigh the enjoyment of the trip, and that is when we look to Disney.

A lot of it is just what you are "in the mood for" on a trip. Sometimes it's fun to feel that you are doing something on the cheap. And sometimes, it's fun to be pampered and to think "I never could have done all this on my own!"

One thing that helps me rationalize the cost is that you are all paid up well before you go on the trip. It's lovely to NOT be pulling out your wallet all the time while on vacation, and to not have to make on-the-spot calls about if you want to pay for the nicer room or the extra dessert.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:07 PM   #20
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Even though I haven't been on an ABD, I agree that I would not be taking one here in the US, Australia, or Europe (although I really like the itinerary of the Swiss Alps trip).

Everywhere that I have traveled, is a Spanish speaking country, and my DBF is fluent, so no language barrier. But, if I do this Galapagos trip, he would most likely not be coming.

I gave the link to one of my co-workers for the trip, so we will see what she says!!
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:14 PM   #21
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thx for this thread -- we're seriously considering ABD for our first trip to Europe (and a few other places). I have a friend who has traveled extensively around the world, and he recommends doing a tour the first time you go anywhere -- the next time you go you can do a tour or just go back and do your favourites.

But we need one that would have other kids, so I think ABD is the way to go for us.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:40 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familygoboston
Thank you singingmom, just wish I could make my points without needing the essay My English teacher always said " too wordy""
I love to read. LOLOLOL

ABD should use you in their next promo! ;-)

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Old 01-12-2013, 01:12 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by redrosesix View Post
thx for this thread -- we're seriously considering ABD for our first trip to Europe (and a few other places). I have a friend who has traveled extensively around the world, and he recommends doing a tour the first time you go anywhere -- the next time you go you can do a tour or just go back and do your favourites.

But we need one that would have other kids, so I think ABD is the way to go for us.
We have friends that did an ABD in Italy and loved it! Their own kids were 8- 18 and they all loved it! I had referred them, so I was on tenterhooks...would
they like it? They had done Taulk to Wyoming before and liked it, but said its ABD from now on! I've never done one in Europe, but given I am the kind of person who looks at crowds and goes " ugh!" I can see myself doing one in Italy to avoid all the lines!
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:23 PM   #24
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If you are looking for a luxurious vacation ABD is the way to go:
1.Express lane service at super busy places like Vatican.
2.Highly informed local guides.
3. Excellent food, well chosen breaks and minimal walking from Point A to B
4.Don't have to touch your luggage from Day 1 till the End.
5. Top of the line hotels and they are all centrally located.
6. If you are travelling with kids ABD is NO BRAINER.
7. Itenaries which are well planned and executed.
8. Finally, the GUIDES, they really pamper you. They are a fund of knowledge and help you with anything you want. As one of the members of our tour said" this is like taking vacation with your MOM and DAD".
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:54 AM   #25
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If not ABD...

We've also picked other tour companies when for the same price we got more of what we were looking for out of another trip. For instance for Africa, we wanted to maximize our game drives and safari time. It's not that we didn't want anything cultural, but that with a relatively short amount of time, we wanted to spend more time on safari and less doing wine and food, sightseeing and cultural stuff. We ended up paying a little more to tour with an outfitter where we toured privately with just our family group and we spent 10 full days in safari camps, although at one of the camps we spent 2 days doing cultural and sightseeing activities as well as game drives. This was more than ABDs 3 or 4 nights on Safari. To me it would have been "not worth it" to spend that much money and time traveling for so little safari.[/QUOTE]

i would love to hear what company you used for Africa!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #26
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We've also picked other tour companies when for the same price we got more of what we were looking for out of another trip. For instance for Africa, we wanted to maximize our game drives and safari time. It's not that we didn't want anything cultural, but that with a relatively short amount of time, we wanted to spend more time on safari and less doing wine and food, sightseeing and cultural stuff. We ended up paying a little more to tour with an outfitter where we toured privately with just our family group and we spent 10 full days in safari camps, although at one of the camps we spent 2 days doing cultural and sightseeing activities as well as game drives. This was more than ABDs 3 or 4 nights on Safari. To me it would have been "not worth it" to spend that much money and time traveling for so little safari.
i would love to hear what company you used for Africa![/QUOTE]

All of the camps we stayed in are through Wilderness Safaris-they were not cheaper than doing an ABD, but we were able to completely customize our travel group (we traveled with just our party of 7) our destinations, (we chose the camps in Zambia and Botswana with assistance from our TA) and they transferred us from place to place with assistance the whole way (though not with a single guide throughout the trip like ABD).

In order to book these camps you must book through a travel agent, and I highly, highly recommend going with an Africa specialist. This is a major trip, and I tried asking for info and advice from a generalist and got a brochure I even contacted one of the top Africa specialists (who literally "wrote the book") and they didn't listen to my needs- (I was traveling with 3 young teen girls and a brother in law born in Rhodesia whose father had been in the British foriegn service and had bad dealings with Mugabe and we pointedly did not want to travel to Zimbabwea) and yet we got 3 itineraries with camps in Zimbabwea in them. So finding the right agent is critical for Africa, and the "best" isn't right for you if they don't listen!!

For us, we had tremendous luck with Travel Beyond in Minnesota, they have a specialty in Africa, most of their agents have been many times, and they can advise about where and help to plan a trip within your budget and create a seamless trip. For our trip, we wanted permanent tented camps (like hotels in the bush) theses are usually $1000 per night, per person! But we were travelling with 3 kids, and no way we could do that! So TB talked to us and found that there was a special going on if we could travel before July 1, we could save 50%!! That made it do-able (still expensive, but in our budget) So we booked and crossed our fingers that we would have no snow days here in NE and wouldnt have to have the kids miss final exams (luckily, we didnt!)

We were literally met at the plane and had a guide meet us at every step of the trip. The only thing we did alone was fly in the sky, once we landed there was a guide. If you want to get a "feel" for the kind of advice, start lurking in the Trip Advisor Africa boards, you will see that the owner "SafariCraig" weighs in on a lot of discussions and is very very helpful.

But only you will know who is right to plan your trip!! Also, for some folks the level of anxiety about Africa (malaria prevention, the age of their kids, putting all the pieces together) ABD may be the very best choice. Their trip sounds great to me, but for us we simply had a higher priority and (ability to sustain energy and attention for) long game drives in more remote settings.

Good luck, I hope you get to go...it's a pretty amazing adventure!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:48 AM   #27
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I agree with everything familygoboston said in the essay;. For us, on our first ABD, the biggest point was that most of the events flat our cannot be done on your own.We did Backstage Magic and the tours at the Studios, Jim Henson Studios, Imagineering, Walt's barn, Walt's Apartment etc. are difficult to impossible to accomplish on your own. It was wonderful from start to finish. We are now booked on the DVC New York trip..we had planned on going on our own in April then cancelled for a variety of reasons. The ABD trip is only three days but they sound like a great three days. Again..access to places only Disney can pull off..rehearsal space of Newsies for one. The thing about ABD is that the surprises are many and unexpected. Just looking at an itinerary is not the sum of your vacation. Since I'm the planner in the family it is really nice to just show up and be treated like a VIP
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by nunzia
I agree with everything familygoboston said in the essay;. For us, on our first ABD, the biggest point was that most of the events flat our cannot be done on your own.We did Backstage Magic and the tours at the Studios, Jim Henson Studios, Imagineering, Walt's barn, Walt's Apartment etc. are difficult to impossible to accomplish on your own. It was wonderful from start to finish. We are now booked on the DVC New York trip..we had planned on going on our own in April then cancelled for a variety of reasons. The ABD trip is only three days but they sound like a great three days. Again..access to places only Disney can pull off..rehearsal space of Newsies for one. The thing about ABD is that the surprises are many and unexpected. Just looking at an itinerary is not the sum of your vacation. Since I'm the planner in the family it is really nice to just show up and be treated like a VIP
EXACTLY!!!! I am the planner too and it was WONDERFUL to have things planned and be pampered! :-)

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Old 08-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #29
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I agree and disagree with Judyat, agree, if you can afford the price this will be the best vacation you will be taking to that place, any place. Best possible guides, centrally located hotels, all 5 STAR, and best possible food and surprises galore. I disagree, because there is nothing Disney or Pixie dust about these trips except they are the best. You will never feel you are on a Disney trip. You are pampered, period. We did Viva Italia and I can't imagine doing it any other way.
So, other than the excellent service that Disney provides, I won't feel any other Disney elements on an ABD trip? Even though I am in a foreign country, I would still like to feel that Mickey is with me from time to time.
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:48 PM   #30
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So, other than the excellent service that Disney provides, I won't feel any other Disney elements on an ABD trip? Even though I am in a foreign country, I would still like to feel that Mickey is with me from time to time.
Each day of an ABD has a theme, and you will get a special Disney pin that matches each day's theme (only available on that particular ABD). That and the "Adventures by Disney" sign you follow (and the Guides' name tags) are really the only physical Disney touches.

Oh, and on occasion (like on long bus rides) they may show Disney movies...

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