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ausc59 Jun 18th, 2005 04:07 PM

trafalgar tours - looking for opinions for parents
My parents are looking at one of the Trafalgar tours out west in this country and are curious as to whether or not these tours are worth the expense. Any input??

LoveItaly Jun 18th, 2005 04:51 PM

Hi ausc59, when you say "out west in this country" what country are you referring to? I would assume the US since this is the US Board but not positive.

The only thing I know about Trafalgar Tours is that I had friends, an older couple in the 70's, who took a tour with Trafalgar in Europe. They said that the personnel were very nice and they did not have any complaints except they came home from their European trip totally exhausted as they had to have their luggage ready early in the morning and the pace was to fast for them even though they did stay 2 nights in several cities.

They wished they had just gone to somewhere like Rome to spend their time and than take day trips via the train from there.

But assume you are not talking about Europe. IMHO tours are usually way more expensive than individual travel but I think you need to go into more details in order for someone here to properly answer your questions. Best regards.

ausc59 Jun 18th, 2005 05:42 PM

Dear LoveItaly - Yes, I am refering to the US - my parents are very capable but have no desire at this point to try to navigate unfamiliar cities by themselves. Thus, they were looking into one of these tours as a trip that they could enjoy but not be responsible for all the little details and the driving. They have never been to the western area of the US - the West Coast but not Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, etc and are considering one of the bus tours that covers a large amount of area in 10-14 days.
Thanks for your input and request for further detail.

LoveItaly Jun 18th, 2005 06:31 PM

Hello ausc59. Have you looked at the brochures and have your parents? I sure understand when one gets older their not wanting to travel on their own. I would suggest reviewing the itinerary and find out if it would be acceptable for your parents, depending on their age and ability to get around and how tired they get on a day to day basis.

IMHO sometimes it is better to spend more money (if it is in the budget of course) to have a workable vacation than trying to save some money and have a miserable and frustrating time.
I am sorry I do not have any personal knowledge of Trafalgar Tours in the US but hopefully someone else here might although frankly most people on Fodor's travel independently. Best wishes to you and your parents.

ausc59 Jun 18th, 2005 07:06 PM

Thanks for your help - we have looked at the info that their travel agent has given them - my parents have friends that can vouch for cruise lines, etc but don't know anyone personally who has taken a tour of this sort and I think are just nervous about jumping into something based only on an agent's opinion and pretty pictures. I will keep asking around but as you said, most people I know tend to be of the sort that prefers to plan their own road trips.

prue Jun 18th, 2005 07:30 PM

We are Australians but have used Trafalgar to tour in Europe and found them to be very efficient and pleasant.They are certainly a very professional company and have a well deserved reputation worldwide.

LoveItaly Jun 18th, 2005 08:35 PM

Ausc59, prue just gave a good recommendation for Trafalgar so that is a good start.

If you like would you want to post the itinerary of the Trafalgar Tour here on Fodors's to get different people's opinions. Just a thought. My other thought is if you talk to Trafalgar Tours personally after making a list of questions that you have regarding your parents trip you might have a better idea if this is a vacation your parents would enjoy. How fortunate they are to have you take such an interest in their trip.

Pauline Jun 19th, 2005 02:31 AM

ausc59, Trafalgar have their own bulletin board. You could ask the question there and hear what people who have travelled with Trafalgar have to say.

gail Jun 19th, 2005 03:19 AM

My mother (age 75) has taken group tours with Trafalgar, Globus as well as multiple ElderHostel trips. She books either alone or goes with a friend and after years of independent travel loves to travel this way.

She loves not having to be concerned about travel details, especially transportation during her stay. She has also met some interesting people and has found that it is not just elderly who travel in this way.

Upside of these tours is that someone else handles all the details and if something goes wrong someone else deals with it. It is usually an extremely efficient way to travel - seeing more in less time since you don't need to worry about details and there is rarely any wait time.

Downside is they sometimes involve covering long distances in a bus (a very nice bus with a/c, sometimes videos, comfy seats - but it is still a bus). The regimentation bothers some people - if the tour says you spend 3 hours at Museum A, that is how long you spend there. Also, meals that are included are usually at group-oriented places and not the best restaurants in town. If you like to explore local culture and cuisine, not the best way to travel.

Check itinerary carefully - what is included. Most include breakfast and some dinners. Others are at your own expense. Also, check how much free time they give you. It is often possible to add a day or 2 at either end in starting and end point of the tour.

ausc59 Jun 19th, 2005 05:34 AM

LoveItaly - the itinerary itself is actually very similiar to one my husband and I are planning for later this summer - based, in part, upon recs from this website. But you are right that we should write down the questions they have. I always keep a notebook when I am planning a trip for myself with suggestions, thoughts, etc. Most ends up in the trash in the final plan but it keeps my thoughts organized.
Pauline - Thanks for the tip about the website. I hadn't thought to check it. Of course, my dad knew it existed!! But he wasn't aware that these types of message boards existed.Will check it out.
Gail - Your mom's experiences help alot. Thanks!

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