How to Tour the Vatican

These Tips Will Save Time and Money

vaTICANOne of the most popular activities on our small group tours to Italy is a visit to Vatican City.   There are two, really three, main sites that everyone wants to see:  St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel (the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museum).  Although the Vatican follows pretty regular hours, there may be some surprise closing dates.   The other issue is that there can be extensive, and I mean extensive lines to get into the museums or basilica.  My tips will help you enjoy your next tour to Rome and the Vatican.

Monday, April 28, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2778)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 5.0
Categories: Italy

Tour to the Amalfi Coast

Our Small Group of Eleven Travelers Visit the Amalfi

traveling professor amalfi coastFor quite some time I have been resisting adding a small group tour to the Amalfi Coast.  I wasn't sure if an Amalfi Coast tour really lent itself to the small group tour concept.   But after studying and doing some research, I think we have come up with a terrific option for a small group tour of the Amalfi Coast.  We'll start off in Rome, visit Herculaneum and Pompeii before moving on to Sorrento.  The next day we'll visit Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.   The following day is a tour to Capri.   On the last day we relax in Sorrento before heading back to Rome.  Read the blog post to find out more about our small group tour to the Amalfi Coast.

Saturday, April 26, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2450)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.5
Categories: Italy

Luxurious Peru

Let's Debunk Those Misconceptions You Might Have About Peru

luxury tour to peruWe take about 4 small group tours to Peru and Machu Picchu each year.   Every time our group is surprised how modern, up-to-date and in some ways, how favorable the services, hotels, transportation, and especially food is compared to other places they have traveled in Europe and other parts of the world, including the United States.   Peru has some terrific hotels, great restaurants, and other features that make it one of the most interesting and exciting places to visit in the world, while it still retains its cultural charm.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2524)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.0

Favorite Family-Run Hotels in Florence, Italy

Two Choices to Make Travelers Happy

traveling professorWhen traveling solo to Italy or leading one of my small group tours to Italy, I like to stay in smaller, family run hotels.   They offer more intimacy than those big tourist-class hotels.   The small family-run hotels in Florence that I use offer specials service and make their guests feel cared for and unique.   The small, family-run hotels I like in Florence also offer greater value than tourist-class hotels.  Read my blog post to find out more about two picks for family-run hotels in Florence for your next tour of Italy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2096)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 5.0
Categories: Italy

Two Quirky Hotels in Paris

For Those Who Want Something Out Of The Ordinary

traveling professorLooking for something unique and unusual in Paris?  Have I got two hotels for you.  They are both in VERY desirable locations and priced well below average.   One of them offers typical Paris rooms but the location (probably no other Paris hotel is more centrally located than this one) and situation is very unusual.  The second one is eclectic and each room is different, a throwback to a different time.  So, read my blog post and find out about two very unique Paris hotels.

Friday, April 18, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2764)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.5
Categories: Paris

Why Europe is Getting So Expensive

Prices are Skyrocketing - And Here's Why

expensive europeI ran my first small group tour to Paris in 2008.  The cost was $999.   But while it is true I have upgraded hotels and offer far more services such as professional guides since then, the cost of running a tour to Paris has more than doubled.   When I ran my first small group tour to Italy back in 2011, we could offer a great tour for just $1,499.   But now that cost is up by over 1/3.  Again, we have upgraded hotels and offer more professional guide services.   I'll explain why Europe has gotten so expensive and why the trend will continue to go that way.

Thursday, April 17, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (3374)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.3
Categories: General Travel

Why Peru is Such a Travel Bargain

Compared to Europe, Peru Gives Travelers More Bang for their Buck

traveling professor machu picchuWhen the euro hit a high of $1.50 against the dollar a few years ago, The Traveling Professor decided to develop small group tours to Peru and Machu Picchu.  Not only is Peru and Machu Picchu a spectacular place to visit, it offers travelers a fantastic value without sacrificing luxury or comfort.  In my opinion the overall quality of hotels and services exceeds those I experience in Italy, Paris or Spain.   I can also tell you that the culinary reputation of Peru is top-notch and I would rate Peruvian restaurants right up there with those in Europe.  Take a look at my blog post and see why you might want to consider holding off on a trip to Paris or Italy, and look at Peru now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2068)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.5

Things to Consider when Visiting Venice

Tips to Make a Trip More Enjoyable

small group tours to veniceVenice is one of those beautiful and unusual places on this earth.   I traveled there last week and on my next small group tour to Italy we will be traveling there again.  Usually I will stay at least 2 nights when traveling to Venice but it is do-able as a day trip from either Florence or Padua.   Take a look at my blog post for some pointers on how to enjoy a tour to Venice.

Sunday, April 13, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2240)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.5
Categories: Italy

Money Exchange Tips

How to Get or Use Currency in Europe

Money ExchangeWith exchange rates putting North American travelers at a severe disadvantage these days (it costs nearly $1.40 to purchase a euro), being smart about getting and spending currency while on a tour to Paris, Italy, or Spain is more important than ever.   In this blog post we will talk about how to spend foreign currency and some innovative ways to get it that I am sure you have never thought of before.  Read my blog post on European money matters and be money smart!

Saturday, April 12, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2168)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 4.7
Categories: General Travel

Top Tips for Visiting Paris in the Summer

Avoid the Crowds, Skip the Lines, Save Money

Paris in the SummerTraveling to Paris (and the rest of Europe) can be a challenge in the summer.  The crowds are pressing, flights are expensive, it can be tough to get a good Paris hotel.   However there are things you can do to make a tour to Paris more enjoyable in the summer.    I will be running two small group tours to Paris this summer and i will be taking these steps too.  


Friday, April 11, 2014/Author: The Traveling Professor/Number of views (2340)/Comments ()/ Article rating: 5.0
Categories: Paris
«March 2014»

Airline Deals

small group tours to parisProbably the largest expense behind the cost of lodging on a tour to Peru or a vacation to Europe is going to be airfare costs.   With fares to Europe this summer in the $1,500 range for economy class, people are scrambling to find the best airfares.   In this blog post I put down some of my best tips for finding bargain airfares to Italy, Paris, and Spain as well as Peru.  So now on your next tour to Europe or even Peru, spend money on dining, touring, or a great hotel instead of giving it to the airlines.


Read more

Paris For Ladies Only

paris ladies onlyLast year I introduced "Paris For Ladies Only" as a new tour offering and it immediately became the most popular trip on my schedule.  It is in many ways like my other small group tours to Paris in that we only take about 12 people, we see the major sights like the Louvre, Orsay, Opera and other popular places in the City of Light.  However on our "Ladies Only" tour we stay at an exclusive 4-star Left Bank hotel and add some spectacular features the ladies prefer.  It's perfect for solo travelers (about half the ladies coming on my tours are solo travelers) or those traveling with a companion.  So, pack your bags and leave the guys behind and check out the details of my "Paris For Ladies Only" tour in this blog post.

Read more

Italy Packing List

small group tours to italyOn Wednesday I embark for a one week tour of Italy.  When I take people on a small group tour of Italy I have a well-defined itinerary but this time, since I am traveling on a personal trip to Italy, my itinerary is somewhat more flexible.   All I know now is I will arrive in Rome and stay for 2 nights, probably taking a trip to Assisi, then I will go up to Florence for a few nights taking side trips to Pisa, Venice and perhaps Siena.   I will probably spend the last night in Milan before heading home.   Check out my blog post to see what I will be packing on a trip to Italy.

Read more

Italy Trip Report: Day 1

Italy Trip ReportWe started out from Great Barrington, MA on Wednesday at 11 a.m.   We made it to JFK by 4 pm to catch our 6:15 pm flight to Milan.  After arriving in Milan it was a train to Milano Centrale train station then a 3 hour cruise into Rome, checking in at 3 p.m.  To say I am tired is an understatement, but I still went out and did a good 5 hours of touring.   Check out the blog post to see what we did today in Rome.

Read more