Favorite ABD trip

Grifdog22

Barking Mad!
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
For those of you that have done six or more ABD trips, you are really the experts here. From those trips, would you share which trip was your absolute favorite (please, pick only one) and tell us why. Please also give the date of the trip, and if you know, what has changed (better or worse) since your trip. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
 

TravelJunkieHubby

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
We just did number our 6th one last week... but I think our first one, Alpine Magic (Northern Italy/Switzerland July 2015) is still our favorite. Part of it may have to do with the novelty of experiencing ABD for the first time (Tinkerbell taking care of our bags, beer/wine was included at that time for most of our meals, enjoying not having to worry about getting from point A to point B in a foreign language). Specifically, we enjoyed that the cities on this itinerary were for the most part off the beaten path (Stressa, Zermatt). Both Italian and Swiss food was easy for our kids who were 6 and 7 at the time. We aren't the most active family, so the pace of that Adventure was more to our liking - we did zip lining in Zermatt and some hiking but otherwise nothing too tiring.
 

calypso726

Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Scotland August 4, 2013. We have been on 10 ABD trips. The itinerary has changed drastically. Isle of Skye and Isle of Lewis are no longer part of it. Both of these stops made that trip epic for me. I have not been on the new itinerary and could not in fairness say if it is better or worse.

Since the Scotland trip we did doesn’t exist anymore I’d say my favorite trip would then be China. We did this one in May 2018. The food was outstanding, the accommodations were amazing and there is no way we could have done al we did without ABD. The Great Wall, Terra-cotta Warriors, Gum Drop mountains, the Disney parks. I really enjoyed the time we spent with a local family in their home learning to paint Chinese characters, the art of knot tying and paper cutting. It’s a fantastic ABD.
 
  • AddictedtoTravel

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2010
    My DD and I have been on 11 Adventures. My favorite was Southeast Asia. We went December 2014. We loved just about everything on this trip, the food, locations visited and the pace. It was packed full and we were constantly on the go. Our guides Henry and Drew were the best and really created a unique, once in a lifetime experience. The Buddah temples, Siem Reap, planting rice ... the list goes on.

    My daugter's favorite was Greece, June 2018 (although she said Asia was a close 2nd). It had been a dream of hers since she was little. She's read tons on the Greek Myths and certainly helped me understand the significance of eveything we visited. The surprise was Crete. We loved that island and would go back to spend an entire vacation there.
     

    CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    I could just pretty much ditto @calypso726! She and I were on the 2013 Scotland ABD together, and it was incredible. Unfortunately, the trip has been whittled away year by year as to become unrecognizable. We did ABD China in 2017 and it blew us away. It may have even outdone Scotland :) Both those trips are really what ABD is about to me. We are doing Japan this summer, and I hope it lives up to expectations that were set very high by China. I haven't been on Southeast Asia, but that's probably #1 on my list after this summer. I've heard fabulous things about it from fellow travelers, and it sounds as if it would be in the same vein as China. Love what you had to say about it @AddictedtoTravel We also loved Crete, BTW. My favorite of the Greece stops.

    Our ABD trips:

    Ireland 2007
    Scotland 2013
    BSM 2014
    Baltics Cruise Add-on 2015 (the only trip I didn't like and would not recommend)
    Greece 2016
    China 2017
    Japan 2019
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Boy, that's almost like asking someone to name their favorite child! ;) I love my 10 different ABDs for different reasons. But if I had to pick my #1 favorite of my 10 ABDs, it would have to be the Greece ABD.

    I really loved the variety of places we stayed (Athens, Santorini, Crete). I was so amazed by the incredible history we experienced, from extremely cool museums to ancient sites like Delphi and Knossos. And part of what made that amazing was our amazing Greek Adventure Guide, Elena, who was a master Storyteller (and an archeologist!). A lot of this trip is outdoors, which I liked. And there were some great activities like kayaking from Crete to Spinalonga (I'm sad that's been removed from the trip, but it was kind of hard logistically once you landed on Spinalonga - there was nowhere to change out of wet things). The resort on Crete is one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed. The food was *AMAZING* on this trip, truly delicious! This itinerary is virtually unchanged from when I took it in 2013. The only real change is the hotels in Athens and on Santorini, a few meals, and the removal of the kayaking to Spinalonga. Otherwise, it's pretty unchanged. And I think that says a lot about the trip!

    Second place is probably China. It was a SPECTACULAR and AMAZING trip, but was just a bit too exhausting with the 5 internal flights. There's really no way around that, and they're totally worth it, but it pushes the trip just slightly down to a close #2. I am SO glad I took this trip. It's really a lifetime highlight.

    Like @CaliforniaGirl09, I'm hoping that Japan pushes its way to #1!

    I'll have to stop there, because you don't want me rating all my trips! :)

    Sayhello
     
  • WishUponAStarryNight

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    If I can figure a context for this, I'd be happy to! :)

    Sayhello
    Thanks!

    There are so many trip options and, for many of us, not enough time and/or money to do them all. I'd love to know overall rankings, overall impressions and thoughts on things like hotels, food, activities, transportation. All very subjective, of course, but a quick review would be very helpful for prioritizing a wish list and when considering "other options." Maybe a star rating or a poor, fair, good, better, best rating, with a short commentary. Nothing too complex or burdensome. Honestly, any format that works for you works for me. :)
     
  • carolinatennisgirl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2008
    We’ve been on 8 adventures, all so different, but I’d have to choose South Africa as our favorite. We experienced such a variety of activities and culture. If you want to experience the Christmas Markets, the Danube River Cruise is the way to go, I would never have been able to experience ALL those markets any other way. Our hotel in Athens in 2017 was a big disappointment on the Greece trip, but they’ve changed to what looks like a much nicer hotel now.
     

    disneyphx

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2010
    As a family we talk about our rankings....
    Can I say it is a tie?!
    China - just amazing, and the ABD service blew us away - before that DH was very resistant to group travel (bad flashbacks of 8 days on a bus in Europe visiting 6 countries). But I always wonder if it is because it was our first trip....
    Norway - incredible natural beauty, beautiful scenery and wonderful guides

    Our ABD trips:

    China 2010
    South Africa 2011
    Wyoming 2012
    SE Asia 2013
    Central Europe 2014
    Norway 2016
    London/Paris 2017
    Italy/Switzerland 2017
    Rhine Cruise 2018
    Japan 2019
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    I’ve done 12. South Africa is no doubt my favorite. I’ve done it twice (once the regular ABD, second with Joe Rohde).

    I’d say probably Southeast Asia would be next. China (I’ve also done twice once regular and once with a strong Disney Parks focus), Australia and Switzerland/N Italy would be top ones as well.
    The others that I’ve done (all which were great) were Ireland, Germany, Spain, Northern France and Backstage Magic.

    Next up is Japan. I have high hopes it will make it into the top 2 or 3.
     

    Donalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2008
    Cousin Orville - you may have been on the same China Disney Parks focus trip as a coworker of mine.

    I know what everyone has planned for 2019. What do you have planned for 2020?
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    Cousin Orville - you may have been on the same China Disney Parks focus trip as a coworker of mine.

    I know what everyone has planned for 2019. What do you have planned for 2020?
    I was on the China trip organized by Dreams Unlimited and the DIS. It went from HKDL to Beijing to Shanghai DL. It was actually very cool.

    I have 2 ABDs planned for 2019. Japan and London/Paris with the DIS. I'm currently in Jordan and Israel now on our own (not ABD). Also planning a trip to Lake Louise in the summer and Morocco at the end of the year. We don't have anything planned for 2020. Croatia, Peru/Uruguay, Thailand (Golden Triangle), and a few other options are in the running. I'm not sure we'll do an ABD in 2020 unless something new and exciting comes out.
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    I was on the China trip organized by Dreams Unlimited and the DIS. It went from HKDL to Beijing to Shanghai DL. It was actually very cool.

    I have 2 ABDs planned for 2019. Japan and London/Paris with the DIS. I'm currently in Jordan and Israel now on our own (not ABD). Also planning a trip to Lake Louise in the summer and Morocco at the end of the year. We don't have anything planned for 2020. Croatia, Peru/Uruguay, Thailand (Golden Triangle), and a few other options are in the running. I'm not sure we'll do an ABD in 2020 unless something new and exciting comes out.
    I wondered where you were when your response above was 2 am! See you in October:wave2:
     

    Calfan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2009
    I've only done 4 ABDs, but more than 6 group family trips, so I'm going to violate the rules of your original post and chime in. Feel free to ignore me if my ABD sample size isn't large enough for you, lol.

    The 4 ABDs we have done are:

    Scotland - 2013
    Austria, Germany & the Czech Republic - 2014
    Baltics cruise add on - 2015
    Backstage Magic - 2018

    The other family group trips we have done (or have planned) are:

    China - 2016 with Thomson Family Adventures
    Winter Yellowstone - 2017 with Austin Adventures
    Peru - 2018 with Nat Geo
    Botswana - 2019 with Natural Habitat Adventures (this one isn't technically a family trip, but the group size is capped at 7 and my teens will make up 2 of the 7 on the trip, so I'm treating this like a family trip)
    Japan - 2020 with Thomson Family Adventures

    Of the trips listed above, I would rank them in order of my favorites as follows:

    1. Scotland ABD - this was our first foray into group travel, and we absolutely loved the experience and the trip. The original Scotland ABD itinerary was so so awesome, and we fell in love with Scotland as much as with the trip or the concept of group travel. Note: we had the pleasure of traveling with @calypso726 and @CaliforniaGirl09 on this one :)
    2. China (TFA) - this was such a well-designed trip, and a fantastic experience, and we loved having only 10 people on the trip.
    3. Winter Yellowstone (Austin Adventures)
    4. Peru (Nat Geo)
    5. Backstage Magic - an itinerary that is by definition unique to ABD and so much fun for a Disney fan
    6. Austria, Germany & Czech Republic - there was nothing wrong with this trip at all; in fact, we met so many great people on this one that I still keep in touch with. I think it just paled in comparison to Scotland and we were a little put off by having 42 people on this one.
    7. Baltics add on - 49 people. Enough said. Also shared this not-so-great experience with @CaliforniaGirl09.

    We obviously haven't done Botswana or Japan yet, but I'm fully expecting Botswana to jump into the top 3 and perhaps finally knock Scotland off as #1!
     

    disneyphx

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2010
    Interesting if I start to thinking about adding in non-ABD family trips!
    We have done Peru (Thomson Family Adventures), Polar Bears (Natural Habitat ), and Tauck Bridges Alpne Adventure and Costa Rica.
    Polar Bears zooms straight to the top.....
     

    laceltris3

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    Interesting if I start to thinking about adding in non-ABD family trips!
    We have done Peru (Thomson Family Adventures), Polar Bears (Natural Habitat ), and Tauck Bridges Alpne Adventure and Costa Rica.
    Polar Bears zooms straight to the top.....
    I have been looking at TB Alpine Adventure for my active boys. What were your thoughts on the trip?
     

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