Trafalgar Rip Off Tour

Sep 8th, 1997, 06:24 AM
Bob Godwin
Posts: n/a
Trafalgar Rip Off Tour

We have recently taken our first and last Trafalgar Tour. It was a tour from August 10, 1997, to August 31, 1997, to Scandinavia, Russia & Independent States. The cost of the land portion was $2635 which seemed very reasonable for Trafalgar’s claimed "first class and better" hotels "situated near the main attractions". The deceptive brochure says that in the "cities you‘ll enjoy a fascinating in-depth sightseeing tour". As explained below, THIS WAS NOT TRUE!

The RIP OFF stared in London when Trafalgar sold "currency packs" of money for most of the countries that would be visited on the tour. The sales pitch was convenience and avoiding the unfavorable exchange rate at the hotels. The packages were sold for $200 and had a value of only $154.79 (using the Wall Street Journal exchange rate). Thus Trafalgar’s exchange commission was 22.6%25 - higher than any hotel I have ever seen.

Next we were given a list of optional excursions. These totaled $786 or 29.8%25 more than the total land tour which included all transportation, guides, lodging for 21 night and 43 meals. Of these optional extra’s, there were $377 of legitimate extra’s such as special dinners, concerts, folk shows, etc. However, there were $409 of sight seeing that should have been part of the city tours. Virtually nothing was included in the very brief city tours—no museums were visited and in Berlin we did not even drive by Check Point Charlie (that was an extra). Thus to just see the major sights in the cities you had to pay about 15%25 more.

The optional special events were also a rip off. For example, in Warsaw the Chopin concert available directly from the hotel was $25, while from Trafalgar it was $39 (56%25 more) and the Folklore show with a Polish dinner was $39 from the hotel and from Trafalgar it was $57 (46%25 more).

Many of the hotels were not first class or better, particularly in Moscow, Berlin and Arnhem. The hotels were not centrally located. In St. Petersburg the hotel was 7 KM from the center of town and in Moscow the hotel was 17 KM from the center of town.

We have been on many tours (Globus, Cosmos, American Express, Getaway, Pacific Best, etc.) and I can safely say that Trafalgar was the worst value that we have ever experienced.

Despite the feeling that we were RIPPED OFF, we enjoyed the tour very much. The tour guide that accompanied us was EXCELLENT and tour bus very comfortable.

Sep 8th, 1997, 08:07 PM
Posts: n/a
We have had FABULOUS experiences with Trafalgar. Have found the basic tour packages to be an excellent value for the dollar for unseasoned, first time traveller to a particular city or country. It is definitely true that the currency pacs and the "optional excursions" are NOT necessarily a good deal. But, anyone who has done considerable research and planning before going would realize that ahead of time. Otherwise, they are a terrific convenience for which I, personally, would not begrudge Trafalgar for enjoying a reasonable profit for providing these services. On our first trip to Paris last year, for example, the majority of our "group" had booked the trip (and hadn't read a single tour guide) with no clue as to what to do, where to go, how to get there, or any knowledge about exchanging money. For those folks, the services provided by Trafalgar were very convenient indeed. Obviously, you did your comparison shopping afterward - and you are on your way to becoming a "seasoned" traveller.
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