How to choose land tours? A case study
Ever think about land tours instead of a cruise? In previous posts here and here, we looked at an...
Have you considered an escorted tour before? Recently one of our clients booked a Trafalger Tour which featured 10 nights, 14 included meals, visits to 4 cities and one special event all in one escorted tour.
Let's take a closer look at some aspects of escorted tours. You might never have even heard of Trafalger Tours. As we mentioned in our post about Alternative Travel Suppliers, one of the jobs of a travel agent is to help you find the best supplier to meet you needs. And many times that will be an escorted tour as described in this post.
Our client booked a Trafalgar Cost Saver escorted tour called Imperial Highlights with Oberammergau. It's round trip from Munich and includes extended stays in Prague, Budapest, Vienna as well as a stop over in Regensburg. Our river cruise customers who have sailed the Danube will be very familiar with these cities as they are all typical stops for the river cruise ships. Trafalger covers 230 itineraries in 66 countries and has served 5 million customers and have been in business for over 70 years yet is still family owned.
Cost Saver tours will have lower quality hotels ( 3- 4 stars vs 4 -5 stars on Trafalgar tours), more optional experiences (less included), and in general have more free time to explore than the traditional Trafalgar tour. There might be less meals and experiences included and the meals might not be as extensive as the full priced Trafalger Tour.
Trafalgar's view is that a perfect vacation consists of three elements:
Let's look at each one.
An effortless vacation is one that's easy and stress free. It allows you freedom but includes all the essentials like many meals, transportation and transfers, and really nice hotels. It means that there is no planning required without fear of missing something important. Translation: you focus on the vacation and not the logistics. This also means that you'll see all the typical highlights but also some unexpected features of the locality you're in. And one of the promises is that it will be accomplished with a minimum of waiting in line. The upshot is that you see what you want without wasting time planning or waiting in line. And hence you have more time to enjoy and explore.
If you've ever spent time to find a hotel you know how difficult it can be to sort through all the reviews and choices. With a tour operator, you get hand picked hotels -typically a mix of both boutique and branded properties. No research required. 100% of breakfasts and 50% of dinners typically included. The meals will typically feature local specialties. But meals on your own allows for private meal time and explorations of local culture. And pick a quality tour operator like Trafalgar and you get quality hotels.
Finally, an effortless vacation is one where a Travel Director is with you throughout the entire trip. They are not only a cultural concierge, but also someone to help with logistics, questions, translations and recommendations.
Experiencing authentic moments means exposure to the real thing. To me, Disney World is the antipathy of authenticness. And while a trip to the Eiffel tower is a must do when in Paris, it's hardly an authentic French experience. Trafalgar focuses on meeting locals and visiting them at their favorite local spots. With their Be My Guest program, you''ll meet with local families and share a home cooked meal with them.
Trafalgar will bring local storytellers (artists, chefs, historians, architects) on the bus to share local experiences, culture and highlights. It's like having someone from the neighborhood to show you around. authentic hotels and places to relax. These are local experts that can help you will all manner of recommendations such as shopping, dining, experiences, sightseeing. You'll find those hidden gems that you couldn't possibly find on your own. (or if you did, it would take you so much time to do so, you'd miss so much else)
Almost everyone wants to their vacation to be fun. And certainly by being effortless and authentic, a Trafalgar trip will certainly be fun. But by adding some trip enhancements you can tailor the trip to be even more fun. These are extra tours (added cost) that are interesting for some people, but not everyone that allows you to customize the trip. Also in the fun category are some of special cultural insights you'll experience such as food tastings, whiskey sampling, geothermal baths in Iceland, finally you'll meet lots of like minded people and form some very good friendships. And perhaps that's the most fun of all.
Is this marketing hype or real? We'll explore that in our next post. Of course, you can always count on a trusted travel agent to answer that question as well.