Best Tour Company for Europe Trip

Old Nov 7th, 2004, 07:21 PM
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Best Tour Company for Europe Trip

We are considering a Europe trip/tour for late summer 2005 and have some info on Insight tours and have checked their website. Anyone have experience or recommendations with them or any other tour companies that would be worth using?
We're not sure which trip we might take--considering France, Britain, Spain, Austria, Switzerland or any variation thereof. Thanks.
hugglynn is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2004, 05:58 AM
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Hugglynn,
You may not find a lot of support here for going the tour route as most of the posters are independent travelers and will recommend you book it yourself. We do several trips a year to Europe and at least one is usually with a budget tour operator. I've used Globus and Trafalgar and have always been happy, but I've never used Insight although I'm on their mailing list and am vaguely familiar with their tours. If you do a search here for "Insight tour" you will find a number of threads from folks that have used them. Some are quite glowing. I'd recommend getting the brochures for several of the tour companies from a travel agent and compare. Good luck.
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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Hi hugglynn,

We have used Insight Vacations a number of times, as well as Globus, Trafalgar, and some others. Insight is GREAT, and we much prefer them over the others mentioned.

Insight's hotels (usually 3-star but some 4-star) are generally more centrally located, and they include more things in the base price than do the others. For their FIRST CLASS tours (they also have supersaver and winter budget tours), their coaches generally are set up for 40 passengers. With other tour companies, the coaches are usually set up for 50 to 53 passengers.

Of course, I have been speaking of the moderately priced tour companies above. There are also higher priced ones such as Tauck and Maupintours, etc. with even more included, even better hotels.

If you would like emailed copies of journals of two of our Insight tours as well as some other useful documents, email me at: [email protected]

I would be happy to send them to you as well as anyone else with an interest. And, to answer the unasked question, I have NO connection with Insight other than being a satisfied customer.


--Marv
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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Insight tours are the same as Trafalgar, they share some busses. Same as Brendan share busses with Cosmos.

There are all very comparable regular tours.

Upscale tours include Tauck, Maupintour, Abercrombie & Kent.

These are all companies who do tours all destinations.

Then there are also companies which specialize on certain destinations like Central Holidays, Tourcrafters for italy , Petrabax, Aubreu for Spain, etc.
These companies do both independent and group tours but have more specialization for destination.

Hope it helps.
Sophia
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 06:37 AM
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My daughter and I usually travel independently, but we did a tour of Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and Budapest with Grand European Tours: website:www.getours.com or toll free 1-800-552-5545 There are advantages to and disadvantages as we found them. If you have a great guide as we did it can be great as you learn so much. Also having someone to take you from place to place-handle the luggage bringing it to your room is a real bonus especially if you are older. The tour was a leisurely one so it gave us time to do what we liked. There would usually be an extra day at each place. To have an introductory tour to each city is a real advantage when you first arrive. Going over the borders of the Czech Republic and Hungary can be tricky as we would find out when even our guide was detained longer than necessary. This was 2 years ago so maybe things are somewhat different in those places now.
My daughter probably wasn't as enthusiastic about this way of traveling as I was,but I enjoyed it. There were only 2 other people in her age group so it is understandable. More retired peole do take tours unless there is specifically planned one for the younger traveler.
We did stay in nice hotels. All meals were not included so it did you a chance to have even more freedom.
Either way sure you will enjoy what you plan.
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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Insight and Trafalgar are owned by the same parent company (The Travel Corporation), but the two companies are very much competitors. If you sign up for an Insight Tour, you do NOT get put on a Trafalgar tour (as can happen with Brendan and Globus), as the pricing structure, the motorcoaches, the itineraries, the hotels (for the most part) etc., are all different.

On the Insight message board ( http://69.20.21.236/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi ) you are not allowed, for example, to post messages touting Trafalgar any more than you would Globus, Tauck, etc.

BTW, the Insight message board is down for renovation until about Nov. 10, 2004 or so. But it is a good resource for information, as both positive and negative things about Insight are posted.

--Marv
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 07:35 AM
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If pricing is not important my suggestion would be Maupin. Have also done Tauck twice (UK) but Maupin left the best impression (Italy). For England only CIE tours is very good. www.cietours.com. My parents did a Trafalgar tour of Italy and were very happy.

You may also want to get pricing quotes from www.trafalgartours4less.com, which discounts EVERY tour operator, not just Trafalgar and will beat any price from another travel agent. Have a great trip
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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A semi-independent alternative in "Untour". They provide a vacation apartment (self-catering--no hotels) in most of the countries you have listed for a 2 week term (Wednesday to Wednesday). They can arrange your flights from the US. They meet the group at the airport and escort you by train to your selected "hometown". There you are met by your landlady and escorted to your lodgings. You get a ground transportation pass(or car rental, depends on the country visited) with the packet. The next day is "orientation", where you meet the other 'Untourists' in your area, go over how to use the transportation, ask any questions, learn of current local activities, etc.
The night before leaving your country, there is an Untour sponsored dinner/get-together, if you wish to attend.
There is a local english-speaking contact in each town for any problems.
I had used this company four times in different areas of Switzerland and Germany, before arranging my own trips. Found it to be great.
Look at www.untours.com
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 09:09 AM
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HI We've used Insight, Globus and just returned from a Collette tour of England and Ireland. Insight was great. Our guide was sensational. The hotels were a little "off the beaten path" and older, but hey, you really just sleep there. Globus had a great itinerary, lovely hotels, better food but a horrible tour guide. Our Collette tour was fantastic. Super hotels/food/itinerary and terrific guide. I would recommend them first and Insight second...only because of the choice of hotels.
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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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You've been given great advice so far. But no matter what you will have to do some homework and figure out just what you want to seriously "see" in a place you decide to visit. THEN pick out your tour company by who really goes there and spends time. The higher price companies usually have less optional tours so you pay up front and then glide along. I"ve used Insight, Grand European, Pacific Delight, Maupintour and loved them all....but my first thought was the itinery!
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Thanks to everyone, all of your posts have been very informative and helpful. Based on everything you've told us and some homework we've done, right now we are preliminarily looking at an 11 day Tauck tour that goes to the Alps of Switzerland, Italy and Austria and also visits Germany and also the state of Liechtenstein. It is the perfect length and goes where we want to go, but again, we are considering everything at this time. Thanks again!
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