Tour or Not to Tour?

Jun 12th, 2004, 03:54 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Tour or Not to Tour?

I've never done a tour because I have fear of being hung-up by the late sleeping dodo, or his ilk. However, I have heard from many people that it's really not much of a problem. Thinking of spending 10 days in the Canadian west. what's the best tour company [Collette?] and train or bus. where to start and what not to miss. Am 66 but have some energy, and want to stay in "nice" hotels.
Thanks for any guidence. Larry
rundentist is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 04:38 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We did a three week bus tour of Great Britain almost three years ago, and I would never do it again anywhere.
The hotels were shabby, the meals were terrible except for breakfasts, and the tour guide never shut up. Her topics included religion, politics, labor problems, America's "hangup" on flag flying, This being October after 9-11, and her family. In the afternoon we were treated to listening to a tape of her favorite book or a session of who could tell the dirtiest joke.

On the good side, it gave us a sampling of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and we now know where to go on our own in the future.
ronkala is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 04:56 PM
  #3  
 
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You might want to include your budget to see what type of responses you get. I know that Tauck is very very good. I've never heard one bad thing about them - but they are expensive. My sister (who was 34 at the time) went on a Globus tour of Italy and said it was absolutely one of the best experiences she ever had...and she was quite worried about what to expect. So you might want to check out www.tauck.com or www.globus.com. Keep in mind Globus is basic and you will pay extra and Tauck includes everything.
Tango is offline  
Jun 12th, 2004, 11:20 PM
  #4  
 
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We've done 2 tours in the UK in the past and have nothing but good to say. They were Globus. Good selection of hotels and the meals were fine. 1 great guide, 1 OK. We learned a lot from them, and could always "tune them out" when we wanted. They are there to serve their customers so if anything offensive was said, or if their manners were bothersome, I'm sure they would tone things down if it was brought to their attention that they were being offensive. The main problem we had was with some of the other passengers - most were very nice but there were a few annoying people. But nothing bad enough to ruin the trip.

Tours are sometimes a good way to go because they give you a good overview of an area, which you can always go back to explore more on your own if you wish.

I believe most tour operators give you an indication of the hotels they use, so you could cross reference them here or on tripadvisor.com to see what you'd be getting. Sorry but I can't recommend any local tour operators as it's not something I'm familiar with.

You might also want to consider driving yourself, at your own pace, through the Rockies, say from Calgary to Vancouver, and back or maybe the train one way/drive one way. You'd see a lot and wouldn't have to worry about the dodos.
taggie is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 02:52 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Dear Larry

We had a similar dilemma last year when we wanted to visit the west of Canada. My fiance doesn't drive and I won't when it is on "the wrong side of the road".

We landed in Calgary and used Brewster coaches to get between Calgary, Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper.

We used a mix of the airport shuttle services and the more 'tour' type buses along the Icefields Parkway so we could do the Snocoach.

All the buses were on time, clean and the drivers were very knowledgable, even on the regular shuttles you got a bit of information on what you were seeing.

We added on a couple of private tours in Jasper as we wanted to do some hiking which were very good as well.

Got the train over to Vancouver from Banff - also excellent.

Stayed in the Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise and my tip is to join the Presidents Club before you go. We paid for the cheapest rooms we could and got upgraded both times - a lakeview in CLL and a 'turret room' in Banff with windows on two sides and a view of the Bow Valley. Though of course you can't count on being upgraded.

The hotel in Jasper was used by a couple of tour groups (I think one was Collette) and whilst there was a mix of ages from 40 to somewhat (much) older they didn't seem particularly lively (IMHO).

There is also not enough money in this world to make me wear a name badge on holiday.
joxxxxx is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 09:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 230
We have taken some excellent tours with Globus such as to Austria and Switzerland. You might also consider Tauck -they are an award winning company.
We are thinking of taking a walking tour in the future with Wayfarers or with Classic Journeys.
All of the above companies have websites. Good luck!
Maureen is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 09:26 AM
  #7  
 
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Most of the above replies mention bus tours of other countries than Canada. You should keep in mind that the geography of Canadian West is quite different from most of Europe, which means significant differences whether you should take a tour or not.

First, the distance between places are longer. That means you'll be spending a lot of time on the bus with other members of your group. You should think about whether you'll like that or not. At the same time, that also means you would not have to drive the great distance - including many mountain roads - by going with the tour.

Second thing is that in most parts of Europe, joining a tour is much better than driving yourself because you don't need to worry about the routes, all the tiny streets into cities, as well as parking - which can be hard to find and expensive. All those advantages DO NOT apply in western Canada, as most people do travel by car and parking/direction is never a problem.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 11:44 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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First time I didn't know if I'd like to join a tour or not, I picked the shortest - 6 days close to home, canyon tours out of Las Vegas. My only regret was: it was too short. If you choose a bus over trains, it will make lots of stops for picture taking, restroom break, short hike, food, etc... The tour guide always gave us options: the strongest go down this path, people who feel tired go down another path.

I took a budget tour with Cosmos, Colette is more expensive, so the hotel choice will be better.

You will never know how you feel about a tour unless you've taken one. I got hooked I like it when somebody else does all planning and driving for me.

People of all ages will be on that tour. Name badge? Our tour guide was the only one! And the bus driver. Every morning there will be a list of people so you'll be assigned a different seat each day.

I personally prefer tours as I don't like to travel alone.
FainaAgain is offline  

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