Leap day 2024 – a call to action 🚀

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! And happy leap day, a day that that only comes once every four years on a leap year. Do you consider it to be a lucky day? Do you know anyone who was born on a leap day (I do)? Consider reading this newsletter today as a sign that it’s time to plan your next bucket list vacation!

This week’s topic is a short primer on Barge cruising. This is number five in our February newsletter series covering vacations on the water – ocean, river, yacht, expedition, and now barge cruising. You can read all these newsletters on the BLOG section of the website in case you missed one, or refer to later. Feel free to share with others who might be interested in the content and working with me to find the ideal trip for them.

Read on for the scoop with information and inspiration for barge cruising, week five of ‘wet February’…

Is A Barge Cruise Right For You?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if a barge cruise is right for you:

  • Does slow, relaxing travel in Europe appeal to you?
  • Do you have a group of 8-10 friends or family members you’d love to travel with in the intimacy of a chartered barge?
  • Or do you prefer a more intimate travel experience meeting new people?
  • Do you love good food and wine?

Barge travel can be perfect for couples, friend groups, or multi-generational families (private charters can be customized to accommodate kiddos).

A Dreamy Vacation

European barge cruises are most well known in France, but you can also barge in the UK (England, Scotland, Ireland), The Netherlands/Holland (tulip time is peak!), Germany, and northern Italy. Of course, itineraries vary by river and country, and you’re never far from shore.  Unlike a river cruise on a larger boat, can ‘pull over and hop off.’  Four miles per hour (yes, 4) is the speed limit on the canals, so you don’t have to worry about getting seasick.

A typical day on a barge cruise is filled with delicious meals beautifully serviced by the expert staff and daily excursions ashore if you choose to do so. Typically, you’ll cruise in the morning taking in the scenery (so a perfect vacation for anyone who isn’t an early riser) and alight from the barge for an afternoon excursion that can range from biking, visiting local markets, wine tasting, strolling local villages and the like.  If you have a charter, excursions can be customized to your group. Golden hour can be enjoyed with a drink on the deck as you review your day.  It’s a dreamy vacation where you will feel very well taken care of!

💎Hidden Gem Tip: Bottom line – the best barge cruise boat and itinerary for you is uncovered with professional help. Reach out to me any time about cruising be it ocean, river, yacht, expedition, or barge).

Barge Details

Barges accommodate between 4 to 12 passengers (1 barge in Italy accommodates up to 20) creating an intimate experience. More modern, upscale barges cost more than more traditionally appointed barges.

Barges book well in advance!  Many are booking now for 2025.

Barge cruises are available from early April through the end of October. Cruises are for 6 nights, Sunday to Saturday, and peak departure months are May, June & September. July and August can be very hot although all barges are fully air-conditioned. In early April and late October, the weather can be rainy, and the days are shorter. For cruises in early April and late October, there may be a cost reduction depending on the barge.

Cruise fares typically include accommodation in ensuite cabins, all meals prepared by the onboard chef, fine wines paired with lunches and dinners, open bar with premium brands and a wide variety of soft beverages and coffee and tea service, daily guided excursions as described, bicycles for leisure use, and transfers to and from a convenient city or town.

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Airline Baggage Fees 

You may have heard in the news that a number of airlines are raising baggage fees.  These fees add significantly to their bottom line so it’s not surprising.

I recommend visiting the airline website when you are thinking about packing, so you not only know the costs but also the parameters allowed for your carry on and checked luggage.  Note – European carriers can be very strict about not only the dimensions but the weight of your luggage.  


Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: www.facebook.com/hiddengemtravelconsulting or Instagram: www.instagram.com/hidden.gem.travel

Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/wanderlisthgtc  

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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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