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Travel Maker IloveRomania tours

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I have traveled to Romania extensively since 1999 and found it charming. Was fascinated with the changes after 2004. I traveled both alone and on small groups. Will very likely return in 2011 for volunteer work.

In looking for a small group tour to Romania and possibly Moldova for friends in our church group I came across a piece of advertising for a week long group tour on both Google and Aol.com by what seems to be a Romanian tour operator called Travel Maker or IloveRomania. It is called The Best of Romania Tour. Sadly this is by far the worst possible itinerary of Romania in seven days I have ever seen. One should name it the "Worst tour of Romania".

The trick is the "low" price at 680 Euro for seven nights including one night in Bucharest. I feel I need to warn anyone considering taking such a tour that this is not a good option but a rather lousy one and I will explain.

Romania compares to Oregon in terms of size. The tour has a length of over 1,400 miles to be covered in only six full days. With all road improvements but lacking highways Romania is way behind any other country in Central Europe meaning the driving times are longer. The daily average distance is at 230 miles with six to ten hours in the bus.

I was touring Romania on a budget and using three star facilities along with some "pensiune" (B&Bs) in rural areas. I was using trains with the exception of the northern areas of Bucovina and Maramures where I was using a rental car. I still spent 120 Euro daily for lodging, food, gas and the car plus coffee and sodas here and there. Am just wondering what a traveler on this group would really get for a mere 680 Euro while the company still needs to make a profit. Obviously not much. There are no meals included except for breakfast.

Places such as in Transylvania require several days with highlights like Brasov and surroundings (at least three full days), Sighiosora (one full day), Maramures (at least three full days) and Bucovina (two days at a minimum). The Travel Maker itinerary is just a drive through all these areas without seeing much of anything. Not the way Rural Romania has to be visited.

Accommodations the way I found them in Romania vary from Bucharest with high end hotels such as a JW Marriott and the alike to 8 to 18 Euro a night in a bed & breakfast in the countryside. I would warn that B&Bs while the most inexpensive are not necessarily the best options when it comes to quality and service (there is no service). Many seem improvised and sharing a bathroom was not ideal for me.

Travel Maker IloveRomania is one tour option to definitely be avoided. It will not reveal Romania they way it deserves but only provide a long and tiring drive throughout the country. It will not be able to provide an experience. It is not the way Romania should be seen.

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