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How bad are Globus type tours really? -- talk to me

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How bad are Globus type tours really? -- talk to me

Old Nov 30th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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How bad are Globus type tours really? -- talk to me

I'm actually considering a Globus tour soemtime in the future. I would either do the 7 day Northern France loop or the 14 day all over France trip. The price is appealing, though I know the options add up.

I'm 48. I don't mind being with older people, I don't think. I really don't like travelling alone, at least not at this time in my life. I like the idea of someone taking care of the details. I've been to Europe independently 6 times, but have some health concerns about travelling alone.

Are these kind of mass tourism deals really all that bad? I can't afford the deluxe ones and Globus looks like it costs less than the others I've researched.

Any thoughts on being herded around behind the red umbrella? Any positives about tours?

My only other option may be French walking tours, but I kind of like the idea of seeing more, though I haven't ruled out escorted walking tours.

I know this topic has been discussed before, but amuse me, if you feel like it.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 02:48 PM
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ira
 
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Hi Giselle,

Globus tours must be appealing to enough people to keep them in business.

If you enter "Globus" in the search box, you will get hundreds of threads.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 04:58 PM
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You seem to have a negative attitude from the outset, so I would suppose that the trip would meet these expectations. I've taken only one Globus trip, last summer, and it was one of the best vacations of my life. Not only were all the details taken care of, but the group was extremely congenial. The median age was probably about 50, just about every kind of couple you could imagine and several people traveling alone.

I think that a lot of the negative comments about group tours come from people who have never taken one, or from those whose expectations are unrealistic. Yes, you sometimes get taken to sites that you would just as soon miss, and yes, there are times where I would have preferred to spend additional time somewhere. But, particularly for those of us whose time is limited and who prefer to have details taken care of, there's no better way to go.

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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 05:07 PM
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My sister-in-law and her husband took a Globus tour of Italy in early October 2003. I can only relay her comments and my interpretation; my husband and I always travel independently.

Bottom line: They had a great time. They enjoyed having all arrangements made for them and thought the tour was well constructed with a good mix of art, culture, shopping, scenery. They liked their tour guide very much. They did no research on hotels or restaurants and apparently little reading about the places they would be visiting; they relied entirely on the tour guide for information.

My view: They had little or no time to see anything beyond the tour. Their days began very early every day. The hotels, although nice, were located in each city/town in an area accessible to tour buses as opposed to historical centers. They saw an enormous amount in a short time frame but had some difficulty remembering what they saw where. There were some unbelievable "gaps" in what I would call a comprehensive tour. For example, in Florence, they did not go to the Uffizi. In Siena, they did not see the basilica. The cost of the tour was definitely more than they would have spent if they had toured independently.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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I almost get the impression you're taking a "won't it be really awful" attitude, or maybe you're only embarrassed that you've traveled independently and now feel there's something less than admirable about taking a tour. I say relax. I sent friends off to Europe to do a trip on their own and they had a horrible time. The next trip they did a package tour and simply loved it. There are good reasons for doing a tour, and you've already given many of them as they apply to you. I say relax and go do it.

As to Globus compared to other companies, sorry, I really don't have a clue.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 06:55 PM
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Your attitude reminds me of the old question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" Well, for what it's worth, my wife and I have traveled with many tour companies, including Globus. Our Globus experience was one of total satisfaction, great fun, and a lot of learning in the bargain. Our guide was an out-of-work archeologist who could not have been better. Our bus was spotless clean and kept in immaculate repair by a driver who could have sung at La Scala. The hotels we used were all fine, though not the Ritz. The value for money was top notch. Globus kept every promise they made in their literature.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for all the positive comments! I've always heard such negative things about group tours; that's all I meant by my title. I actually like getting up early and getting going, so that wouldn't be a problem. I think I'm more worried about what other people would think of me doing a group tour as I've travelled independently before, perhaps. Anyway, I really appreciate these comments and responses!
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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I did a globus tour with my sister a few years ago(in germany). We both enjoyed it. It is a good way to see alot of things. You will cover much more then if you were on your own. The hotels we stayed in were good...and the people were nice. I didn't like having to get up so early and some places it would have been nice to stay longer, but you did get some time to your self. The guide was extremely knowledgable. I think you will enjoy it. Also the age range was from mid 30's to 70. Everyone got along and it was fun.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:27 PM
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Giselle, you said you're 48. Surely by now you've learned not to be ruled by what others think of what you do for yourself!!!! What others think of you taking a guided tour should not have any influence whatsoever!
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:35 PM
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Patrick made a good point, Giselle, give yourself points for even following up on your desire to go and alone at that.
So very many women I know would never even dream of what you are planning to do, so go on the tour and have a grand time. Take alot of pictures, keep a diary, go with an open mind, make friends with some people in the group and let your worries go when you board the plane!
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:39 PM
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I've never taken a large group bus tour, but I have taken small group (6 to 15 people) tours, both walking/hiking and other, focusing on limited areas, and enjoyed them very much. I have an elderly (late 70s) friend who loves Grand Circle tours, which are not too expensive. She's intelligent and curious and very sociable, and she enjoys the people she meets in the tour groups. One of the things that I think I would NOT like about them is that it would seem unnatural always traveling in a large, conspicuous group, and would be harder to get a feel for the normal way of life in the various towns visited. My own feeling is that I would not want to take a large bus tour in a country where I feel fairly comfortable. However, if I ever go to someplace in Asia, I might like to take a tour like that. For Europe, I'd really recommend small group walking tours. However, they are expensive. I haven't taken one in a few years, and I notice from the current brochures that the prices have increased quite a bit.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 08:02 PM
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Giselle
I have travelled extensively & by myself. Always go on a tour usually Globus or Cosmos( which is the budget half of the same company). Cosmos customers are usually younger,more travel solo & are from many countries. Globus clients are all ages & usually from No. America. Never concerned myself about travelling alone as an older (66) female because in reality you are only as alone as you choose to be. Yes, these trips are usually fast paced. But how else can one see so much without the hassle of navigating strange roads, worrying about hotel reservations or getting about large cities where no one speaks your language.I went to VietNam & Cambodia with Globus & just returned from Eastern Europe on a 21 day trip with them.I would not have been able to get from our hotel to Red Square on the Moscow Metro at night without the help of our guide! Most of my other trips have been with Cosmos.Did use Uniworld for China & Into Africa for Kenya. All have been to my liking. I have no qualms about using Globus or Cosmos again.
Go for it.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 01:18 AM
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Tour Tips Always book your own airfare ,and try go ahead one full day Prior to the start of the tour. You can book the same hotel thru the tour company. Or on your own they may even pick up the cost for the airport taxi on the fist day .You will be well rested for the start of your tour . But remember you are on tour not Vacation.If you can extend a day or two after . and if you have to conect in another city / country do a lay over there to get the most out of your Vacation.

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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 05:31 AM
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Giselle:
I, too, have travelled independently to Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria a total of eight times (first time, in high school, on a whirlwind tour...but the highlight was being allowed to drink beer at sixteen anyway!).
I LOVE the months of planning, but this year could find no travel companion, so went solo to Switzerland. Enjoyed myself and have absolutely no regret, but I now find myself starting to consider a tour for next year as well, just to 'mix it up' a little. Something about having the details taken care of for me appeals to me at this point in my life, though I likely will return to my independent ways later. I really like to experience the tiny 'back door' towns not often available to larger tour groups.
I say 'go for it', and there's no shame in trying a new experience!
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 06:29 AM
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Thanks again for your insights. Italiano and Sighthound, those are good tips you gave. I hadn't realized Cosmos was even cheaper, so for my budget, I'm checking into it. These responses really helped me take the "shame" ot of bus tour.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 07:11 AM
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Giselle, My first trip to Italy was with Globus "Italian Mosaic". I also did an independent tour with Trafalgar. It was about 7 years ago. It was a great way to see a vast amount of places. I have been back to Italy 4 times, on my own and I certainly prefer it that way. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed my tours, the people (with the usual exception of a few) were wonderful, our guide was great. They taught me alot. Food was not memorable. If I was to do another trip with a tour company, I would:
1) Look for a tour that had multiple night stays in most cities. Those one night drive ins are for the birds.
2) Try to find tours with hotels that have central locations, so that in your limited free time, you can get out and wander.
3) Even though most of your meals are included in the price of the tour..skip a few..get out on your own to eat! You won't regret it.
4) Don't sign up for all the optionals. Often, you can either do those on your own, or can visit another place independently. When we were on a tour once, they offered a day in Lucca and Pisa. We easily took the train ourselves, had a great leisurely day. We passed our group in Lucca, following the umbrella, looking very envious at us sitting in a sidewalk cafe.
5)Try to tack on a few days on your own either in the beginning or in the end (or both!) Gives you a chance to rest up and do a few things on your own.
Since you have travelled on your own, you probably won't be hesitant to make that tour a little more "independent " for you. If you have concerns re; your health and you don't want to travel alone, you can make have a great time on a tour. Check out the tours that say they are "Leisurely", the pace is slower, the stays longer and offer you a good combination of touring and independance. Sorry for the long windedness, must have been that strong cup of coffee!! Have a great time!!
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 09:21 AM
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Two more thoughts on this....

Re a tour that might accommodate a health problem: All except one (and that was a tour organized by a woman who runs a tour every year or so in one particular region and isn't a "travel professional" exactly) of the tours I've taken in the past seven years have included in their application or pre-trip questionnaire a question asking whether the client has any health condition that might affect his functioning during the trip or his ability to complete the trip or ability to keep up, or something like that. If the answer is "yes," then they asked for further info, I think.

Most tour companies I've dealt with have a post-trip questionnaire and, among other things, ask clients whether they'd be willing to be contacted and answer questions from prospective clients considering this tour. Though I knew these would all be people who liked the tour, I nevertheless did ask for these contacts before deciding to sign up for some trips, and I found their comments helpful.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 10:31 AM
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Giselle..I have taken only one "tour",but my mother has taken several. I have travelled extensively in Europe and North Africa over 25 years. Tours serve a purpose. Thsy are almost hassle free if you do your homework and choose a tour which meets your needs..They allow you to see lots of things in a short period of time..and lets face it, if you have only a short period of time you will be a tourist and not a traveller whether in a group or independent. The tour i went on was Instight for 2 weeks in Turkey..A bit like a school trip,but we saw a lot. Insight as compared to Globus and trafalger tends to include many add ons in the basis price and the hotels are usually more central..but again these are generalities so DO YOUR HOMEWORK..Read carefully.."you will see can translate that the bus will pass it by!! My trip with Insight met my needs; age range 20something to 75..many from Australia, UK as well as North America. ..a great group. Beth
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 09:38 AM
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A p.s. to my last comment from yesterday: If an established tour company does NOT do either of those two things, that MIGHT possibly be a bad sign.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 05:04 PM
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Hi. I've never gone on an organized tour other than a day tour. Sure wish I was taking a complete tour this time. This will be our third trip overseas, and the planning is a nightmare. Wanna trade places?

If we go again(same crew) I'll try a tour!
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