We hope to answer many of your questions in our brochures and in this section. Please read the brochure and terms and conditions for your tour carefully, and then contact us with any questions. Randy can be reached at email@example.com or at 908.451.0252.
How do I select a battlefield tour company? What sets you apart?
The best place to start is by comparing the tour company’s philosophy to the participants’ vacation philosophy. Our tours are designed for those with a serious interest in military history, and we prefer to get clients into the field. Half the trip won’t consist of free days for participants to explore well-known cities. We visit select museums. We prefer to keep group size small and to introduce clients to European culture. This means generally staying and dining at local family-owned European hotels and restaurants, not American chains. Finally, we try to tell both sides of the story, drawing on maps, photos and first-person accounts. Our tour guides generally speak and conduct research in multiple languages.
A second comparison level is experience and background. Founder Randy Gaulke is not a veteran, but he has been studying military history for decades as a wargamer, reenactor and battlefield visitor. Randy has lived in Europe for more than two years and he speaks fluent English and German and intermediate French. Retired Bundeswehr Officer Markus Klauer’s military career included five years in an armored battalion and professional work with American and French units. He has also been studying military history and touring the battlefields for decades. Markus has written five books on military history. He lives in Lille, France and speaks fluent German, French and English.
A third comparison is the guide to participant ratio. On most KDIH tours we have two guides, and we limit the number of participants. This gives our clients much more access to the guides and their knowledge base.
A fourth comparison level is cost. It is important to understand what is and is not included. KDIH tours cover almost all meals (except dinner beverages) and costs, whereas many tours cover only a portion of those expenses. Most other tours only have one full-time guide.
Why should I take a guided tour (with KDIH) instead of touring on my own with guidebooks?
- Collectively, KDIH guides have spent years on the battlefields. We know the hidden and lesser-known sites, and we often incorporate them into our stops and battlefield walks.
- With our small-group tour concept we have some flexibility to include sites that are important to you!
- We also know the local lodging and dining establishments as well as essential services: On a 2022 tour we worked with a French pharmacy and a U.S.-based physician to help one client get some needed medication.
- We speak the languages and understand local customs, and this helps in situations like the example in number 3.
- Experienced guides can help put an action into context: One example that I use frequently is to explain how Sgt. York, the Lost Battalion and the 28th Division on Le Chene Tondu are related.
- With regards to number 5, our language fluency and research using German archives helps to present a less American-centric interpretation of history. WW1 was a global war, complete with coalition war making.
- We save you time and energy in planning AND visiting the battlefield: You can spend a significant amount of time driving / walking to find specific sites.
- You might also drive right past unknown sites. For example, few Americans realize just how much there is to see and experience on Le Chene Tondu in the Argonne.
At first glance, your tours seem very expensive. Why is that?
The best way to compare the price of tours is to look at the price per day. Then, factor in the reality that our tours cover almost all costs. Most competitor tours have a large number of lunches and dinners on your own. Also, factor in the small-group nature of KDIH tours and the fact that we have TWO full-time tour guides. We believe we offer a great product at a fair price when those items are considered!
I notice you use vans and cars instead of motorcoaches. Why is that?
Under EU driving laws any vehicle carrying over nine passengers is subject to a more rigid schedule with regards to hours driven and to break times. This complicates logistics considerably.
Vans and cars can also travel on roads that are not passable by heavy motorcoaches.
Is Covid-19 still a travel concern in late 2023 / 2024?
No. European immunization rates far surpassed U.S. immunization rates in the critical years. As a result of that and herd immunity the question of immunization or potential travel restrictions did not come up on any of our 2023 tours.
That said, we encourage all clients to be up to date on immunizations for their safety and for the safety of the other travelers.
Are spouses welcome?
Yes, but… Our tours are generally designed for those seriously interested in military history. There is limited down time, and the option of staying at a hotel in town is not always viable.
We are trying to make our longer tours a bit more spouse friendly. We try to arrange that at least half of our hotel nights will be in large towns / small cities, making it easier for those less interested to “opt-out” for a day or two. We also attempt to structure at least two cultural events into the tour. Depending on the region, this could include visits: to unique churches or other buildings; to alcohol producers (champagne, calvados, etc.); or to Mirabelle orchards, dairies, specialty food producers, etc. It could also include dinners with key locals and their spouses.
Are your tours children friendly?
Mature minors under 18 are welcome, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Tour logistics: Do I/we have to be picked up and dropped off at the starting point?
No. We can arrange alternate drop-off and pick-up points, such as a TGV station or nearby city, as long as it works within our itinerary. In fact, we anticipate that many of our clients will spend time in Europe before or after a KDIH tour.
Will there be European participants on my tour? I like the concept of an international tour.
We do market our tours to Europeans as well as Americans, but we can make no promises that we will have European tour participants.
Do you offer tours on the anniversaries of major battles?
Generally no, because country locations like the Normandy Coast and Bastogne become overcrowded, requiring the tour to lose countless hours fighting crowds rather than spending time on the battlefield.
How important is being in good physical condition?
KDIH tours are designed to get participants out into the field. They will include walks of moderate length and pace (up to three miles over a few hours) over moderate terrain. Participants can always elect to stay with the vehicle, but they will be missing key portions of the schedule.
Another alternative for those with physical limitations would be to hire one of the guides for a private tour designed to be much less physical.
What clothes should I wear for a battlefield tour?
For the field, hiking / trekking shoes or ankle boots are highly recommended. Sturdy pants and shirt and weather resistant outer gear are essential as the weather can range from hot and sunny to cool and rainy. Wearing layers can help one adjust quickly to changing weather conditions. Bringing a compact umbrella is always a wise choice.
For dinner, a nice pair of slacks and a button-down shirt are great selections. Adding a sweater or blazer is also very European. For women, a dress, nice skirt and blouse or slacks and blouse can look great for dinner, perhaps with a scarf.
Why don’t you offer longer tours?
Correctly or incorrectly, we assume that most American clients will have other travel plans, and that our tour will only be a portion of their holiday in Europe.
What are your deposit, payment and cancellation policies?
Please refer to our current Terms and Conditions for the answer.
Do I need a passport and visa?
Participants need a passport AND most governments will not permit a traveler to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire AT LEAST SIX MONTHS AFTER THE FINAL DATE OF TRAVEL.
At the time of this writing, participants do NOT need a visa to visit the countries we visit.
We require that participants show proof of vaccination, because most European governments are making it quite difficult for unvaccinated citizens and tourists to engage in many activities.