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Andrea Szyper's blog

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Pack the Perfect Carry-on for Europe in 8 Easy Steps

on Tue, 09/20/2016 - 10:05
Luggage and packing for Europe
Are you a packing ninja? Around the Untours office, we like to geek out about packing. We all have tips to share and oddball habits. But on the essentials of the all-important carry-on bag, we largely agree.

1. First things first: Are you checking a bag?

The less you pack, the better. If you can fit it all in a carry-on and a personal item, like a big purse or small backpack, we salute you. Pack a 3 ounce bottle of laundry soap (concentrate) and go for it! If not, read on...

2. You are what you wear

Before you pack your checked or carry-on bags, think about what you'll wear on the flight.
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Meet Our New Logo: It's All About U!

on Mon, 08/22/2016 - 12:04
Untours European travel logo

Branding is a dirty word to a lot of us here in the Untours office. Or rather, it is a sort of necessary evil, as our late founder Hal Taussig might have said. We have a natural resistance to anything that could be perceived as slick. After all, we are a mom-and-pop type operation, many of us having been here for 15+ years. We know many of the people who phone in to book and greet some of them as old friends!

None of that changes with our new logo. So why the new design?

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12 Things You Must Taste in Venice: A Guide to Happy Hour and Dining

on Tue, 07/19/2016 - 17:09
Eating is one of my favorite parts of living; it informs my travels and even my choices of destinations. Italy would have been top of list even if I hadn't been fortunate enough to work on our Untours there. Over my years with Untours, I have spent a lot of time there, working and eating. Snacking and dining and drinking. Following food trends and sampling the dishes that go back centuries. 
Here is the first in a series of food reports. The photo above is of me with my husband at a favorite haunt on Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio for happy hour.
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How to Travel with All of Your Senses

on Tue, 05/17/2016 - 13:44
Untours taste
Paolo Conte’s song Max makes me cry. Its undulating melody echoes the Tuscan hills. I played his greatest hits often on a family trip to Tuscany nine summers ago. I close my eyes when I hear it now and see the sun setting on lush green hillsides. 
Travel is sensual. We readily think of sights, the visual, but there are other senses that pull us into a place more deeply if we allow ourselves the time and space to engage them.
The morning smell of espresso or bread in the bakery ovens. Rosemary and lavender warming in the Mediterranean sun. Geraniums.
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A Scotland Untour in Stirling? We Have Located our New Untour Here for 9 Reasons

on Wed, 05/11/2016 - 09:58
Stirling, home of the new Scotland Untour

We’re thrilled to announce our new Scotland Untour, with our first arrival dates this fall. Stay tuned for details or sign up to get first notice when it is ready to book. In the meantime, here is a little more about our homebase there, and the reasons we have chosen Stirling and its surrounding countryside to host our Untour.

1. Stirling is vibrant. Enjoy its cobbled shopping streets, art centers, parks, and cozy cafes and pubs. Stirling’s medieval old town will captivate you. You’ll find a strong sense of place in the city’s castles and parks.
2. Stirling is central. Located in the heart
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8 Tips for Wine Tasting in France

on Tue, 04/26/2016 - 09:38
Vineyards in France

One of the great joys of touring France is visiting its many wineries, where you can connect with the scenery, the local people, and the history of a region one memorable glass at a time. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the experience.

1. Look for Degustation or Goutez on signs outside vineyards in the countryside. This means vineyards welcome guests and you may pull up and sample some wine. Depending on the setting, it may not be a formal tasting, and there may not be hired help waiting to pour you a glass, but be adventurous!

2. Know your AOCs. French wines are labeled based

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Booking a Cruise? Ask These 6 Questions

on Tue, 04/12/2016 - 14:04
Cruise with Untours Venture
Cruising can be a great way to cover a lot of territory in comfort. But choose wisely, as not all cruises are created equal. We've hand selected the best of what's on the market, for French barge and canal cruising, the rivers of Europe, and small-ship seas cruises to Greece and beyond! Check our Ventures site for details. And the next time you book a cruise, ask these 6 questions.
1. What are the port charges? Beware that port charges are rarely included in the package price, so factor them into your trip costs.
2. What does the price include? Are excursions included?
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Dingle Peninsula, the Heart of Traditional Irish Culture

on Wed, 04/06/2016 - 15:22
A cruise off Dingle, Ireland Untour
Ireland's wild coast and sylvan scenery are best taken in on its ring drives. We've covered the Iveragh Peninsula (both Killarney National Park and the Skellig Ring) and the Beara Peninsula in previous posts. Our last installment takes us to the Dingle Peninsula, another great peninsula that is easily accessible from the Ireland Untour homebase of Kenmare.
Dingle is probably most famous for its dramatic high coastal views and the quaint, popular town of Dingle. The area offers some of the best sea views of the three peninsulas, and it is home to several archaeological sites.
It is also a
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Vatican to Partner With Tesla on Green Vatican Initiative

on Fri, 04/01/2016 - 09:14
April Fools in Rome
On Wednesday the Vatican announced plans to replace all motorized vehicles in Vatican City with electric cars by 2017. It is part of a larger plan to make Vatican City carbon neutral by 2024.
Tesla will partner with the Vatican to produce modified electric vehicles to replace those driven by guards and officials. The fleet will include 25 cars in black and gray and a special white version to be used exclusively by the pontiff himself. This new "popemobile" will be custom fitted to special security specs.
“I am delighted to make Vatican City a model for sustainability in a world growing
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Beara Peninsula: County Kerry's Undiscovered Gem

on Wed, 03/02/2016 - 12:02
Views from the Beara Peninsula, Ireland Untour
We are continuing our tour of Ireland's most beautiful peninsulas with a visit to the Beara, an easy drive from Kenmare, homebase to the Ireland Untour.
Less traveled than the other two peninsulas, the Beara Peninsula is a hidden paradise of quiet, winding roads through beautiful country dotted with small colorful villages and beaches. Half of the peninsula is in Cork, the other half in Kerry. Watch out for sharp turns and sheep! 
As it is not visited by tour buses and is less popular and touristed than the Ring of Kerry, we recommend this as a first outing to help you orient yourself to