tour operator

Jan 3rd, 2004, 12:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
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tour operator

My daughter (21) & I (50)want to go to Rome in March. There are over 20 different tour groups listed in the USTOA like Cosmos, Gate 1, Globus etc. We're not complete novices (been to Caribbean, Mexico and Greece) but we'd like some escorted tours and meals, train, hotel etc. provided. How do we find the best bargain?
qcliffy is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 01:38 PM
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I guess it depends on what each tour co. offers then you compare the prices?
francophile03 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 02:52 PM
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Compare the itineraries day by day, sights visited (not just wave from the bus), hotels, ratings of hotels, locations of hotels, number of 1-nts (too many is real exhausting) if visiting more than one place, number of meals, how much leisure time, compare prices, deposit required, final payment needed, whether they accept credit cards or not (some only cash/checks) insurance for cancellation/interruption - then go from there. Whether it will be a bargain, no one can say.
Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:20 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 233
In travel, you usually get what you pay for. If you are looking for bargains, it's possible that your hotels will be located out of the center of cities or towns. Also there may be many "optional" tours which run up the cost of your trip. People are often disappointed when they go on bargain tours to find that they don't have the type of experience they had hoped.
lilla is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 10:36 PM
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Cosmos is the "bargain version" of Trafalgar Tours which has had major problems in the past two years (including bankrupcy this year as part of the Far and Wide umbrella); Gate 1 has a better reputation....

As a travel agent I'd advise you to steer clear of Cosmos until they re-establish themselves (and even before this, they were known as a budget group, giving you hotels, etc outside of major towns, etc).


wlzmatilida is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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Unfortunately, there is mis information here. Cosmos has nothing to do with is affiliated with Globus.

Most people have okay things to say about Cosmos provided they know what they're getting. To get the budget prices, the hotels they stay at in the metropolitan areas are not located in the city centres but the people on a Cosmos tour tend to be younger and more multi national. They're fine again provided you know what you are getting. For a couple of hundred dollars more, you can go with globus for better hotels (although not necessarily in the city centers) and more stuffy type people most of whom will probably be North American.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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Will you just visit Rome? For how long? Alitalia's tour company, Italiatour, offers some great bargains through March 30.

For example, they have a 5-night package in Rome, which includes roundtrip airfare from eastcoast USA, 5 nights in hotel, breakfast, transfes airpot-hotel-airport, one half-day tour for a price begiing at $600 (plus about $75 taxes and fees). This is an independent package. Aside from the one tour, you are on your own. As lilla states, the cheapest hotels aren't very central, but the next few up the price list aren't that bad.

Other companies offer similar package. My experience is indeed that hotel location is the biggest concern for these packages.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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IMHO, if you only want to go to ROme, a tour isn't all that necessary. Tours to sites are available at just about any hotel, and some of the better ones are frequently mentioned here. As far as meals, Rome is one of the ebst cities on earth to eat, most 'tour' meals are more touristy and less authentic. ALso location is very important, whatever you do, make sure the hotel is in a good location, in the case of ROme, the historic center (near Piazza Navona, Pantheon, SPainish steps, or trevi). Airport transportation can be arranged either through your hotel, or services (again, frequently mentioned here), also taking a cab from the airport is not a problem.
MFNYC is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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Go on your own. Take day tours , you
would not believe how many people are
doing it. Tourist are getting tired of all the games played by tour companies and being in Europe everything is so easy and safe, why not? a good day tour company in Rome is "green tours" I used them and they're good and they will pick you up
@ the hotel. Most of them do.
mile is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 188
Cosmos is same company as Globus.
Is their budget partner. Be awared of
hotel locations, look them up in the internet. My sister was taken by Globus to a 5 star hotel in Paris that
it was next to a bruthel , Yes!!! a
bruthel close to the NOTRE DAME cathe-
dral. Look around.
mile is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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The "tour groups" vs "do it yourself" arguements will go on forever. Naturally, it's always personal preference. However, if you do want to compare tour operaters, go to or This not only lists all of the major retail tour operaters, but also discounts the price. Another great site for tour discounts is
Happy Travels,
lovebirds is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 09:28 AM
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avoid cosmos like a plague
ronkala is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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that's why people don't trust travel agents, they don't even know basic products.

I think this is a lot of work you do have to do yourself, paying attention to the hotels listed and location, mainly, for itineraries that appeal. I have taken a couple budget tours that were very well-organized and excellent and they were better values than some other companies. It is possible. Unfortunately, the one I dealth with doesn't exist anymore (TWA Getaway). However, one of the things that often distinguishes the pricing is the level of hotel. TWA Getaway had their first-class expensive tours, and then budget tours in the same catalog. The main difference wasn't the itinerary, but the level of hotel and perhaps some included extra tours or meals. The expensive tour version would probably be in 4* hotels, and the budget in 3* (or nice 2*). Sometimes, the expensive tour had slightly better hotel locations, but usually not -- although I researched carefully on that point, TWA was very good about hotels in the center.

I preferred the budget tours not just because they were cheaper, but because I did not want included meals or extra things, I wanted to do those things on my own in a city. The budget tours attracted a wider diversity of people, also.
Christina is online now  
Mar 13th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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Since it is already March and Qcliffy has probably traveled by now I just wanted to add....

My parents did a 16 day tour of Italy (best of Italy and Sicily) and were very happy with it. Go to we have used this company twice- for 14% off brochure rates. Also Trafalgar offers some pretty good booking discounts, there are also availible through TT4L in addition to the other discounts.
travelinwifey is offline  
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