Globus or Travalgar Tours

Old Nov 10th, 2000, 09:49 AM
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Globus or Travalgar Tours

My husband and I would like to do a two week tour of Italy in May. Has anyone used either of these two tour groups? Pro or Con? Should we book our own air fare? Suggestions or advice much appreciated.
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 10:57 AM
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Hi.. You can do a search on this forum, key in "Trafalgar Tour" to get some feedback. We have used them 1996 for 6-country 'overview' tour, and 1998 France tour - found them to be well-run, organized, not pushy about 'optionals', etc. Did a lot of tour co. research and feel they are best value - you can insert a lot of activities on your own, in afternoons/evenings. Choose the tour/dates you want, then go online and search airfares to compare with their prices - their catalog will state what the add-on $ will be from your hometown to their gateways. Have not used Globus. Also chose GoAhead Vacations ( for an Italy trip, but had to cancel prior to departure. I was very impressed with their organization during the pre-trip communications, however. Many will feel that an organized/escorted tour is unnecessary, that you can travel by train or car very nicely, especially to the 'must-do' cities (Rome, Florence, Venice); however, if you have not traveled in Europe before tours can sometimes relieve some uncertainty and stress for you.
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 11:57 AM
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We used Globus YEARS ago on a 2 week all over Europe trip.
Good Parts:
1) a 1/2 day tour of the city when you arrive gives you a good idea of what else you want to do and see.
2) a knowledgeable tour guide (and local tour guides who come aboard for the city tour in each location).
3) decent price at the time given the conversion from US$ to European currencies.
4) they did the driving, not us.
Bad part:
1) pushy tour guide "Bertha" (although she was knowledgeable) wanted us to "buy optional tours". If you go to a location in Europe to see, for example, Rome, then why spend an entire day driving to Sicily and lose out on seeing all that Rome has to offer. (remember, ours was a "If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium" tour, which we wanted at the time. We figured that if we stopped in major cities for about 2-2 1/2 days, we'd know whether or not we would want to return again someday. There were some we DID return to over the years, and others that we're glad to have seen but have no intention of returning to.)
2) Getting up on the bus' schedule.
3) Hanging around tourists -- pros and cons.

1) Get maps from the Italian tourist board of the places you'll visit. Take the day tours offered in the package and then take off for the rest of the day, using your map and local transportation and a good guidebook (Frommers, Fodors, etc.)
"Bertha" didn't like us leaving her and going off on our own. She told us we should stay with the group. We had no intention of hanging around a hotel for 1/2 a day until dinner just because Bertha said to. In fact, some people joined us on our own trek and we all ended up having a lot of fun together.
In fact, at one point when we were in Vienna, a group of us decided not to "hang out" until dinnertime and took a streetcar into the center of town to walk around. We walked into the Vienna Opera House to see the architecture and look around and a guard asked us if we wanted to see the opera, which had just begun. At the time the price for a "standing room only section" was about $5, so we saw an opera, took the streetcar back to the hotel in time for dinner, and when everyone asked where we were, we said, "we went to the opera." They were jealous that they just hung out around the hotel.

2) We started our trek in England and then flew to Rome for the rest of the European jaunt. We arrived in London a few days early and did sightseeing on our own, took in a few plays, etc. then met up with the tour group at the hotel and flew to Rome with the group. You can do this if you book your own air flights. Check prices for booking via package vs on your own.
3) The guidebooks can offer great suggestions for little out of the ordinary places to eat, things to do, places to visit. For example, in Venice, while others took a tour to a "glass blowing factory," we took a local vaporetto to Murano, walked the streets, and visited a "glass blowing factory" we saw as we walked around the streets. The vaporetto fee was like a local bus fee, not a "tour bus fee" and we weren't pushed into buying glass that the tour bus company gets a commission on.
Also because of the guidebook (don't recall the details of where/when/who), we walked down some street, knocked on a door, and got a PERSONAL introduction on how the Venician gondolas are made BY THE MASTER GONDOLA BUILDER HIMSELF! His family had been gondola builders for many years. A tour group won't do that.
Go and have fun. Plan ahead of what the tour takes you to see and what you'd like to see along the way also.
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 12:08 PM
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I've done both the tour group sort of tours and traveled with just my husband. Italy is definitely one of those countries where you really don't need an organized tour. The best thing to do if you want some sort of overview, to each area that you're in, is to take a 1/2 day tour, (which your hotel can organzie) once you are there. We did that in Rome, and it worked really well. Otherwise, you're really forced to be on the tour group's schedule, which means having to get up really early, to meet the bus.
The train services in Italy are supposed to be really easy to use as well, if you want to travel around.
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 02:07 PM
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Hi, Just got back and did one week with Tauck Tours - we have only done two formal tours, both with Tauck. They are first class all the way - cannot recommend them enough.

We then rented a car in Rome, drove through Umbria and Tuscany, dropped the car in Florence, train to Venice, Santa Margherita, Cinque Terre and Milan.

We did our own air because we used mileage to fly business - highly recommend it.

I feel we got the best of both worlds - if any one would like more info, e-mail me - it's a REAL address.

Old Nov 10th, 2000, 04:09 PM
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Hi, Mimi. I have traveled twice on Globus and twice on Trafalgar (although not to Italy) and was quite satified. Have you thought of Insight? I believe that they are a cut above especially with hotels. (Tauk is too expensive for me in Europe although I traveled with them to in our Southwest- great!) In my experience I did not feel that tour directors applied undo pressure to take options. I usually take options all of which I have been delightful and worth while. For example, our director arranged a early morning tour of the Parliament Building in Budapest- absolutely magnificent. Now others may have chosen to go on their own when the building was opened to the public later in the day. When we left the Parliament, the crowds were enormous so going on the optional tour was worth the time and money.
Many others on the tour bypassed options particularly if they want time to shop. Personally, I am not interested in shopping. I am not interested in "relaxing" either. I love to see as much as possible in a short time. Also on a tour you know pretty much what to expect for cost. Have also traveled independently but spend more time deciding just what to do. In any case, enjoy Italy. Going to Sicily this Februrary. How else? On a tour. Good luck- Helen
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 05:10 PM
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Helen, Did you enjoy the Insight Vacation? I just paid for my 28 day tour yesterday. I will leave at the end of December. Please let me know anything that "you wished you'd known then." Thanks!
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 07:51 PM
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Re: tours. My husband and I have used both Globus and Trafalgar on six different trips. We are picky about the optionals--only take the ones we WANT to and have never been intimidated by the tour directors--we have always had good ones. We always spend time researching our itinerary before we go, (tour books, etc.) including possible activities in our free time and have always found ourselves satisfied with our own sightseeing and some neat discoveries--like a great floating pub on the river below the Charles Bridge in Prague, while the optional trip was a luncheon cruise. We have also had good "optional" experiences since tours do get preferential entries, etc. We are going to S,P,M in 2001 and have elected to do two extra days in Madrid, to have a chance to do some "optionals" of our own choice that are not possible on the tour. We have done this after several tours. Combining a tour and some extra days, if you have time, is a good way to go. (PS: Hi Helen, I'm a "Helen" too and don't hear that name too often.)
Old Nov 10th, 2000, 10:32 PM
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We did the 16 day leisurely tour of Italy with COSMOS in March and most of our group agreed that the contents of the tour was very good but that the location of the hotels were very poor and the food often uneatable. Attitude was definetly given from the tour guide when no interest was shown in the optionals or when any of the group went it alone. My personal opinion is that maybe the tour comanies are better in some countries than others. With this I mean that I have never read a bad posting about COSMO concerning their England tours. I think maybe tourguiding does not suit the Italian temperment as most of us decided that if the tour leader had lightened up then maybe even the food and the locations wouldnt have been an issue. Over time our group just felt pressure and the feeling of being ripped off because of the attitude. I guess this may mean that the tour is sometimes as enjoyable as the tour guide allows. (and the rest is up to yourself!)
PS. We DID enjoy it and have great memories inspite of the negatives. The rest of our european holdiay we did independently and enjoyed much more but then we wouldnt have seen as much as we did in Italy if we done it alone.! - good luck!
Old Nov 12th, 2000, 02:09 PM
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In reference to Globus or Travalgar, thanks to all who replied. I really appreciate the suggestions.
Old Dec 12th, 2000, 03:11 PM
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Boston to Rome - Which is preferred: British Air or Air France? I was told not to fly Alitalia!
Old Dec 12th, 2000, 05:50 PM
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Dear Mimi

My husband and I took a Globus tour a couple of years ago to England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. I researched all the tour companies and really felt we would get more for our dollar with Globus. We had a wonderful time. Our tour guide was awesome and very knowledgable. The hotels were great and the food superb. My husband and I took off at each opportunity to explore on our own and as long as you were back at the alotted time the tour director did not care. No matter what tour company you use they have to stay on a schedule to get you to all the interesting places they promise to take you to. We just set our watches to the tour directers watch and were always back at the bus at the requested time. For anyone who is thinking of taking a coach tour if you are not back at the time requested by the tour director they will leave you. They have no option but to do so as they have to keep on schedule. We never had any trouble getting to the bus on time. We had plenty of time to explore on our own. Our tour director was not pushy on the optional excursions. We chose the ones we wanted and never felt pushed. I think the couple who had such a horrible time with Bertha the tour guide they had on their tour with Globus should have reported her to the company she sounds like a control freak. Everyone we came into contact with from the airport transport to the tour bus driver was kind and informative and friendly. We were so pleased with Globus we are going to go on a tour with them again this year. Hope you enjoy yourselves on your vacation no matter what tour company you use. I noticed in the 2001 Globus books they indicate with each tour what the pace of the tour will be and I think thats a great help for someone who is trying to plan a vacation that is either laid back or jam packed with ideas of what they want to see.
Old Dec 13th, 2000, 10:13 AM
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To Robbie
Thanks much for the suggestions. We are now planning our flight arrangements. British Air or Air France from Boston to Rome?
Have fun on your next trip
Old Dec 13th, 2000, 10:18 AM
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Hi Mimi:
I answered this on the airlines forum but I'll give you the same info here.
I have flown both airlines and enjoyed them both. Coach seats are coach seats if you know what I mean.
My only consideration would be price. Which ever is the least expsensive, that is who I would use. Have fun!
Old Dec 13th, 2000, 04:23 PM
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My husband and I have used both Globus and Trafalgar. I prefer Globus. We traveled with Globus 5 times and were not disappointed.
Old Dec 13th, 2000, 07:39 PM
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Any idea of what the average age is on Globus tours?
Old Dec 30th, 2000, 06:22 PM
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Can't speak precisely to the average age on a Globus tour, but my experience on an Ecuador tour with Galapagos cruise should be instructive. I'm 41 and was the fourth youngest of 19 people on the tour. The youngest was 12, the oldest were 85 (and unable to enjoy most of the Galapagos outings--shame on Globus for not dissuading them from going!) and the majority in our group were 55-75. Since this is a more strenuous trip than the average European jaunt, I'd imagine the average age in Europe would be even higher.

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