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How do I compare different travel tour groups?

How do I compare different travel tour groups?

Old May 3rd, 2011, 08:28 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 6
How do I compare different travel tour groups?

I have always made my own air and car reservations on trips in the past. But I am getting lazy, I think, I want to take an easier route. I am overwhelmed by the amount of Tour Groups out there. How do I compare" Globus, Go Ahead, Club ABC,Trafalgar, Gate 1, Collete, etc., etc., etc. I know some are probably similar to one another but some may not be. I do not want the cheapest, yet I do not want Tauck or A & K either. Is there a website that I can look at?

I've heard some popular tours have 4 busses together and I definitely don't want that. I've also read some tours have hotels far from town and are not near public transportation which is difficult on "free" and "at leisure" days. I am more into the people and culture than seeing a cathedral in every city. Also, I do not want to spend just one night and move on. I would want at least 2-3 nights and be able to get a real feel of that particular area.

We are active, youthful, well-traveled and in our mid-sixties.

We don't even have a final destination yet perhaps, Eastern Europe, Greece and the Isles, - Many brochures have trips that cover the gamut but deciding which particular company to use is what I find so confusing.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you.
MSTRVL is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2011, 09:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
You have to do your own comparison based on your criteria. Some things to look for:

Base price
Number of days of optional tours (additional cost)
Location of hotels
Number of sights you actually VISIT each day (not drive-bys or photo ops)
Does the tour go where you want to go
Number of included meals (meals you buy yourself add to the cost)

It will take you some time to do the comparisons but the effort will be worth while.

Collette is a higher end tour so your accommodations, meals, and tour guide quality will be good.

Globus is a low end tour - hotels will probably by outside of town and meals will be mediocre.

There are a lot of Gate 1 posts on this board but most of them are by first time posters so I would consider these recommendations suspect.

The only tour companies I have first hand knowledge of is Globus (would never use them again), Grand Circle Travel (leisurely, good program directors, hotels usually central), and Pacha (Turkey).
adrienne is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2011, 09:14 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Generally, you get what you pay for....if itineraries are similar, prices will generally dicatate the value of a tour but of course that is a terrible generalization and not helpful most likely.

It also depends on destination (I know you said you don't have one yet)...for example CIE is great for Scotland and Ireland (you didn't list them)....and alsosome people's viewpoint of a company might be clouded by an unpleasant experience that's atypical of the group in general.

There are boards around with message boards sort of like this which list experiences of people on various tours. Now I've done several Trafalgar tours; some people swear by them (such as me for the most part), some people swear at them. I like Trafalgar because of the international crowd it pulls in...quality is similar to globus (the previous poster had a bad experience, it generally gets okay ratings) but Trafalgar seems to pull in a more international crowd...they are very active with Australians and New Zealanders while globus tends to have mostly North Americans on their tours. That could be a factor.

Most moderately priced tour comapnies during tourist season in the big cities will have their hotels outside the central parts of town but if it's one of those whirlwind tours, there will be scheduled activities each evening in the big cities or you will have access via mass transit to the centre of town, again some people like that others can't stand it.

They can be good value for money (especially the way gasoline prices have gone this year, most of the companies weren't doing all that well and have not increased prices to cover their increased costs, a factor to consider)(.

So I guess I said a lot of nothing and double talk and haven't been helpful but again if you take the idea that you get what you pay for, the more you pay per day, the better quality the hotels will be, the better quality of the included meals (there may even be more of them), the more stuff in each burgh will be included. If you throw out the n ame of a tour and/'or a destination, there might be somebody who has taken the tour who can comment better!
xyz123 is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2011, 09:42 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 603
http://www.ricksteves.com/tours11

Smaller groups, well located hotels, no grumps allowed. No tips either.

Reconsider Tauck because they have no extras and you can eat individually, not as a group. The end cost isn't as high as it seems in comparison once you add extra excursions etc to the cost of some of the others.
Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2011, 10:13 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,143
While there are lots of Gate 1 posts by first timers, there are also lots of posts by others that have used Gate 1. Most of the people on Fodor's that have posted about Gate 1 are using their packages, not their escorted tours. You can book either flights/hotels, flights/trains/hotels or flights/cars. They give you a list of hotels to choose from so you can pick your location. They have ala carte tours for the cities to choose from also. Go-today, Virgin Vacations, European Destiantions all offer similar package deals.
kybourbon is offline  
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