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halfpint Jan 30th, 2005 06:08 AM

Have; you taken a Trafalgar counpany tour to Europe
Am considering a Trafalgar tour to Switzerland (landing in Zurich), Austria and Italy and wondered how they are? I have traveled with Grand Circle 13 times and always happy with them, however this time I need a shorter (11 day) trip as am treating my daughters. We are planning on buying our air separate as we have to fly from various places mid-country (USA of course) and the price with the company from just New York is more than we need to pay, directly from home. We had had another trip of similar quality planned with Grand European tours but they consolidated our trip with another and with dates we could not work with. That is why the switch. Then we can only hope this one would not do the same (no assurance, however). Just wondered about folks experience with Trafalgar tours. Thank you very much. halfpint

P_M Jan 30th, 2005 06:48 AM

Hi, halfpint. I can't help you w/Trafalgar, but they do have a message board. I don't know how unbiased it is, but here it is if you want to check it out.;f=2

xyz123 Jan 30th, 2005 06:55 AM

I've taken Trafalger tours and they're very good but understand some of the disadvantages

1. On travel days long days on the bus. The buses are very comfortable and there are stops every 2 hours or so usually at motorway type rest areas to use toilets and pick up water, soda and stretch your legs.

2. Be carefuly about what the itinerary says...if it says see such and such it doesn't mean go inside. See such and such castle means as you motor along the tour director (TD) says there's such and such. See you saw can't suddenly decide as you might with your own car to stop and visit.

3. Tight schedules. If you stop in Cologne for lunch you are told you have 1.5 hours to eat lunch and see the Cathedral. It can be done but there is no flexibility.

4. Hotels are fine but often located outside the centre of the city. But I find that fun as I love to use public transportation to get a feel for its efficiency (love trams and undergrounds) but you might not.

5. Remember there will be many optionals especially when dinner is not included. Some consider the optionals a rip off; I don't. It's easier to take the optional and be with your group and have everything done for you even if it is a few more euro.

6. You are at the mercy of the luck of the draw of your tour director. Most I have met on Trafalger tours are excellent but of course with everything else there are some duds too.

7. Your group will consist of a few Americans, Canadians and lots of Australians.

But the advantage of not having to worry about luggage, just stick it outside the door each morning and wait for it to be brought to your room on arrival, of having somebody tell me what I am seeing ato me, at least, outdoes the disadvantages even though on reading them you might think the disadvantages are overwhelming.

Infotrack Jan 30th, 2005 07:26 AM

I've taken several tours with a variety of tour companies. Trafalgar is good. A better choice, in my opinion, is the sister company (owned by the same parent), Insight Vacations.

Insight has better located hotels, and more things included IN the tour itself that are optional with Trafalgar. And the price with Insight is not that much more.

Insights website is:

If you are not in the USA, drop off the "us/" from the end of the URL.

Insight, as does Trafalgar, has a Board as well, and you will get all kinds of comments.


travelinwifey Jan 30th, 2005 10:37 AM

Yes, my parents did a Trafalgar 18 day tour of Italy 2 Septs. ago. They loved it. They made friends that they still keep in touch with. If you go to you will receive a 14% discount on the land rate. Have used this company twice with no problems. Enjoy:)

jsmith Jan 30th, 2005 10:52 AM

I'm stunned. Not one of the first four replies tells you how much more you will enjoy trip if you do it yourself nor how much cheaper it will be.

BTW, I have used Trafalgar twice and agree with most of the prior comments.

xyz123 Jan 30th, 2005 11:10 AM


I don't get what you're saying....I know people who swear by escorted tours and others who swear at them...cheaper? what with petrol running around $6/gallon and costs of hotel rooms when not part of a tour...I mean I have been on a tour and paid something like $100/day including the included dinner and noted the rack rate of the hotel room is €160...of course you may be perfectly happy staying at a more inexpensive hotel and that's fine...also if you do it yourself with your own rental car and you want to stay downtown there's the problem of parking the car, there's the problem of driving the car anywhere you go etc.

It is a trade off; it always is. If you want to see a lot, that is if you like quantity, you can't beat the escorted tour. Whether that also means quality, well nobody can really answer that. Perhaps the best compromise to the whole discussion is to say they're great for a first timer and then you can go back on your own and do what please you more with the basics out of the way.....

Intrepid1 Jan 30th, 2005 11:49 AM

We did a Trafalgar tour of France a few years ago. My biggest complaint was the location of the hotels...not centrally-located in most cases. Lots of toll-road taking between stopping-off points..didn't really see as much of the countryside as we would have liked.

The advantages are obviously many but be aware of the disadvantages, too.

jsmith Jan 30th, 2005 11:55 AM

xyz123, if you read any of my prior posts, you will understand my comment.

I guess I'll have to start using LOL and smiley faces since subtlety, it seems, doesn't translate well.

travelinwifey Jan 30th, 2005 11:58 AM

I think what JSMITH means is that when someone usually asks about a specific tour company there are posters that immediately try to jump in on the thread and tell them to "do it on their own". Some people can't get over the idea that some actually prefer guided tours.

If you want a more centrally located hotel you may want to book through Trafalgar's Insight Vacations or a higher end tour company. Every hotel my parents stayed in was quite nice even though it was not in the direct center of town, again, no complaints.

janis Jan 30th, 2005 12:15 PM

I'm sure no one will convince you to do it on your own since you have taken so many tours and enjoy them.

But one thing - It normally IS cheaper to travel independently. Even using the €160 rack rate room you mention (who in their right mind pays rack rate anyway) And sure, petrol is expensive. But remember on a tour every member pays the same.

So that $100 per day is actually $300 if there are 3 of you. That is a LOT for one day assuming you can get a triple room. (We're only talking about ground arrangements since you are flying independently)

And doing it independently you can stay exactly wher you want and find all sorts of bargains in probably better locations than where many tours park their folks.

toni Jan 30th, 2005 12:16 PM

We did a 16 day Trafalgar trip a couple of years ago. Our group was mixed with Aussies (including us), Americans, Canadians, English and New Zealanders. I was worried that it might be a bit sedate for us, but the ages were mixed and we had a ball. We made lots of friends who we still communicate with. You already know the pros and cons of tours. However, some hotels were sometimes not well located so I looked up their addresses and if possible planned public transport and taxi options in case we wanted to stay in town at night. Our guide was most informative and entertaining.

travelinwifey Jan 30th, 2005 01:13 PM

Just also wanted to mention that has it's own message boards, click on the "community" icon. Very experienced Trafalgar passengers there.

P_M Jan 30th, 2005 03:06 PM

Or just copy and paste the info I provided above to get Trafalgar's message board.

travelinwifey Jan 30th, 2005 03:54 PM

Oops, sorry PM, somehow I missed your posting:)

halfpint Jan 30th, 2005 05:44 PM

Thanks so much for all the helpful info so far. I do prefer tours although am an active senior but will have my 3 daughters (40 year old group) with me. However I do like things planned and this particular trip is not totally regimented so a little free time. and some of it I have seen before but want to share it with my daughters and see it again through their eyes. I believe we will have fun. I will admit the other groups (Grand Circle), their hotels are always centrally located so will have to watch out for that. Thanks again for the additional websites to rummage through and any other advice I am open for. halfpint (I just happen to be hight challenged, ha ha)

TracyB Jan 30th, 2005 06:35 PM

I have taken both a Trafalgar and an Insight Tour..Both were excellent, but we made sure that we took a week at the end and spent it somewhere on our own..For example, when we went on a 12 day European Tour, we ended in Amsterdam and had time to ourselves for a week, where we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn and had time to relax..I find that tours force you to see things you may not have seen otherwise, you meet great people, and it is stress free. And I think it is cheaper...But yes, you are limited on how much time you have at each place, but if you really like a place you can always go back..It is sort of like a cruise I guess...Both Trafalgar and Insight offer excellent tours and you will be well looked after.

helenbreen Jan 30th, 2005 07:25 PM

I agree with Marv above. Trafalgar is good (been on 3 trips with them)but Insight is better. Had a great trip to Switzerland with them in 2000. Hotels are better. I know there are some drawbacks to tours but I prefer them. For one thing - you know what it will cost. I also find that the optional excursions are worth the price.

Enjoy Switzerland! Helen

worldinabag Jan 30th, 2005 07:45 PM


I've taken a Trafalgar Tour before. It was good but going to various sights were optional extras - agree with xyz123 point 2. Re point 4 yes I found hotels at times were not centrally located. However we didn't have any problems with public transportation. I believe Trafalgar also do a First Class tour where hotels are of a higher rating and better located. Needless to say you pay a lot more. I thought the Tour Director was fine but most of the passengers complained that he didn't seem to know his stuff.
I have also used Cosmos. Fantastic! Luxury coach, good hotels, great tour guide, very few excursions were treated as optional. My 2005 catalogue has a 11 day tour tour similar to what you're after - copy and paste this link -;trip=56060
We were so impressed with Cosmos we have booked a tour of Spain in June.

Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

P_M Jan 31st, 2005 05:09 AM

No problem, travelinwifey!!

If my link doesn't work, you have given perfect instructions for how to find the board. :-)

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