To tour or not to tour

Old Jun 17th, 2018, 01:04 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
The discussion isn't really relevant or applicable to ALL organized group tours. Your comments only apply to a high-end company like the one you used, whoever that may be. Maybe some of the "cons" would be the same, but I'm pretty sure the "pros" are because of using a more expensive provider.
Perhaps you should read again where I said, " Since this was a relatively medium-short, land, high end tour, I can't say whether it all generalizes to other types." Much of it does. Some doesn't. Obvious, cheap tours do not cover all expenses like this one. But I would have expected that to be so obvious that it need not be said.
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Old Jun 17th, 2018, 01:37 PM
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I would never tour solo again, especially on a high end, expensive tour because they attract older travelers.
I am now an older traveler, and on all but one of the tours I have taken have been solo. I have not found that to be a problem. There have usually been other solo travelers, and the couples have been friendly and welcoming to singles. It is true I do not, usually, take high or higher end tours, but I did not find the tours I took with the Smithsonian, Geo Ex and MIR to be uncomfortable. If you want more singles maybe you should look at the mid range providers.
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Old Jun 17th, 2018, 06:37 PM
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>>In fact, the reason that I broke down and tried touring was because I didn't have my S.O. to travel with. Virtually every one else was a couple or small group. Despite everyone being friendly enough, I found it uncomfortable at times. I would never tour solo again, especially on a high end, expensive tour because they attract older travelers.<<

That seems absolutely 180 from my philosophy. As a couple I would NEVER travel on a tour. Just no need,. Plus generally too expensive because booking on your own does't costs 2X - but on a tour it is almost always 'per person double occupancy'. For the last several years many tour companies have caught on to single travelers and offer some dates with no single supplement at all or with minimal added on. Many of my trip are solo -- and I do consider group tours for more 'exotic' destinations. I did take a tour for Peru / Sacred Valley / Machu Pichu which would'n't have been necessary -- but I am soooooo glad I did because I ended up tearing my ACL before getting to MP and if I had been on my own I would have been SOL. As it was they took terrific care of me and I ended up with a private guide for two sessions morning and afternoon in MP. Doing it on one leg, a cane and pain pills is not fun, but having an escort carrying my day bag and helping me get around was worth any amount of $$$$.

Just tell us which company it was . . . .
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Old Jun 17th, 2018, 07:20 PM
  #24  
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I travel solo, but suspect that at some point, or for some places, I might find it best to join a tour. So I must admit that I didn't originally think the name of the tour company was that important. I have learned a LOT from this thread, and now see why so many of you have asked for the identity. At this point, I honestly don't understand the OP's coyness and will add my voice to those asking for a clear statement of the name of the company (which, BTW, I couldn't find in a quick glance at the OP's TR -- but I didn't take a thorough look).

Last edited by kja; Jun 17th, 2018 at 07:30 PM.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 07:40 AM
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FYI: Smithsonian frequently uses Odysseys Unlimited for their tours.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I travel solo, but suspect that at some point, or for some places, I might find it best to join a tour. So I must admit that I didn't originally think the name of the tour company was that important. I have learned a LOT from this thread, and now see why so many of you have asked for the identity. At this point, I honestly don't understand the OP's coyness and will add my voice to those asking for a clear statement of the name of the company (which, BTW, I couldn't find in a quick glance at the OP's TR -- but I didn't take a thorough look).

KJA--I don't think the trip report, which was from 2014, used a touring company. The OP made this comment in the report: "Did I mention that I put slightly more planning into a two week vacation that Eisenhower put into D-Day?"

I believe the OP referenced that report as an example that he/she is a picky traveler.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 09:46 AM
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Your post raises another point that I didn't address. I took this tour solo since my S.O. could not make it. In fact, the reason that I broke down and tried touring was because I didn't have my S.O. to travel with. Virtually every one else was a couple or small group. Despite everyone being friendly enough, I found it uncomfortable at times. I would never tour solo again, especially on a high end, expensive tour because they attract older travelers.>>

I have been specifically looking at tours for solo travellers so there being couples and small groups should not be a problem. And i too am now an "older traveller".
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 09:55 AM
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Ann - It has never occurred to me to look for solos only tours and I have not had any problems on "regular" tours. It feels a bit limiting. I've only been on one tour where I was the only single.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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Annhig, my aunt has gone solo on organized tours, and has made such good friends with a few of the couples that they have arranged to go on a future group tour together. If you find a solo traveller tour that you like, by all means consider that. But if you don't find one that fits your needs, i wouldn't shy away from a regular one.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 11:22 AM
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I went through and read carfree's trip report. It was fascinating. I did pull some great hotel recs and thoughts for my travel file, especially as I have not yet been to Amalfi. Certainly some things like illness and heat were beyond any traveler's control. I wasn't bothered by the satire and sarcasm. I don't consider it whining. One of my favorite reports ever was Barb's and some people didn't enjoy that one either. Candor is refreshing.

But having read this thread first gave me an interesting take. A tour would definitely have alleviated many of the issues this couple experienced on their last Italy trip.

One thing I noticed--particularly with Rome--but also other locations-- was that while Carfree had a detailed list of places to go, maps downloaded, etc., understanding the exact "how to get there" was occasionally a little vague. (I've often found this part of planning hard too.) Local transportation to/from the day's events regularly felt like the deal-breaker for this couple, between having a good day or bad day, aka the other conditions setbacks probably would have been tolerated better had this piece been less stressful. Also, there was an insistence on walking the same amount as one did on trips taken back when aged 20.

More than once, I felt the couple should have just given in and taken a taxi when all else failed. So maybe they shouldn't have taken the ferry to the base of Positano. I think the real mistake lay in taking the stairs up--really I would never have attempted that after throwing up extensively. Or walking to the Capitoline, instead of taking a taxi to the destination and then start the climb, lessening the time spent in heat? At one point Bvlenci weighed in and suggested some heat-saving tips to anyone else reading--especially, going into the museums--because those MUST have climate controls to protect their artifacts and art.

For this poster, a tour solved these problems. No logistics of getting places. Tour companies know from experience how much heat, stair climbing, etc., the average guest is going to put up with, and they would arrange trips so that people don't hit those thresholds.

Finally, as a smaller point, it disturbed Carfree to see the fees being imposed at some churches. It might be less stressful not to pay those fees one at a time, and have them absorbed into the total of the tour package. This also may be a point about why the couple did not use taxis (or Uber/Lyft) as well. The tour bus cost more, but you don't see it broken out on a line-item.

I do think it would help to know the name of the tour company but I'm in doubt we are going to get it if the OP has not responded so far. I find "higher end" to be a vague term, sort of like when someone says "I'd like a moderate priced hotel in Paris." Would you be willing to tell us the price you paid, number of days and number of destinations seen?
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 03:24 PM
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thanks for the encouragement, 5live. you too, Thursdaysd. I haven't necessarily ruled out a tour with non-singles but there is the almost inevitable single room supplement, and like it or not, it's easier to make friends in a group where you are all in the same boat, than when there is a predominance of couples. Yes, there may be another single on the tour, but what if you hate each other?

I agree that some of the logistical problems that Carfree experienced would have been alleviated by a tour but also by doing the things the bvl suggests. But then sometimes experienced travellers make mistakes. There I was congratulating myself on how well I'd negotiated the train from Bologna back to Venice and I got off at Mestre. And didn't realise till I was outside the station looking for the Grand Canal. When we went to Sicily we discovered that the hotel we I had booked in Taormina was so far up the hill we didn't move the car from the hotel car park for the entire time we were there. And then there was the time, long ago I know, when we arrived in Toronto on a transatlantic flight and immediately set off in our hire car to drive up the side of Lake Ontario, only to discover that the route took us onto an 18 lane freeway in the middle of the Toronto rush hour. With out then I year old DD in the back of the car.

I know I've strayed somewhat from the topic, sorry.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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Tours often don't have single supplements if you're willing to share. I've done that on all my tours except the one with Geo Ex when there was no one to share with, and the last with MIR when I decided to splurge.

Whether or not you get on with the other tour members probably depends a lot on picking the right company. I've rarely found that to be an issue. Still, if you do a singles only tour I'll be very interested to hear how it goes. Just avoid Cosmos, lol.
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Old Jun 18th, 2018, 05:50 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by 5alive View Post
I don't think the trip report ..., used a touring company. ... I believe the OP referenced that report as an example that he/she is a picky traveler.
Oops -- I missed that! And your observations about her TR put perspective on the OP's comments about tours. Thanks!

Still, I now would very much like to know what the company was.
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Old Jun 19th, 2018, 07:36 AM
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Just avoid Cosmos, lol.>>

No chance of that, Thursdaysd. I would probably use a UK company anyway, and one that has nice hotels in central places with not too strenuous itineraries. That's partly why I cancelled the one I booked last winter because I felt the itinerary was too aggressive. The itineraries in Southern India seem to be a bit more relaxing than the ones in the north which is one of the reasons I'm drawn to them. On Friday I'm meeting a friend who did a tour with Intrepid earlier this year so it should be interesting finding out her experiences - the email she sent me afterwards was pretty positive but I suspect that she is rather more prepared to rough it than I am.

I will certainly let you know whatever I decide to do.
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Old Jun 19th, 2018, 09:01 AM
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Intrepid is definitely more on the budget end, or at least it was. The comfort level is a bit better. Southern India is a bit less of an all in assault than the north.
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Old Jun 19th, 2018, 01:50 PM
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I think you are right about Intrepid, thursdaysd, so I'm keen to talk to my friend about it to see if it would suit me. They do what they call a culinary tour of the south that looks very interesting. Also you buy your own flights which would also be good for me as i have a lot of air miles to use up. [i know you can do that with other companies as well but with Intrepid that's the norm, not the exception.]
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Old Jun 19th, 2018, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Still, I now would very much like to know what the company was.
Definitely!
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Old Jun 27th, 2018, 06:07 AM
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When I first travelled to Europe I went on a few tours. My inlaws preferred this Yes there were pros and cons. On one low end tour we didn't like where many of the dinners were scheduled. We often decided to eat on our own and accept that we were paying for dinner twice.
I haven't been on a tour for many years . I love planning my trips and enjoy travelling at our own pace. Usually I go with one of my children as DH is not much of a traveller. As I know my kids won't always want to go with me I know I'll have to consider tours again. I know many people who are happy to go on a trip by themselves but that's not me. I see a need for solo fodorites to band together and travel together lol.
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