We have all been there, arrive at a destination, take out the obligatory map and spend two hours trying to figure out where to go first. Navigating a strange city can be tricky and you can waste a lot of precious time wandering streets looking for the ‘must see’ Cathedral!
Imagine if all of that planning could be done for you?
The best thing about escorted tours is convenience. Forget all the hassles and headaches. All the planning, hotels, meals and sightseeing are already done. Someone else is doing the driving so you can sit back, relax, enjoy the view and the commentary of a knowledgeable tour director. These tour directors are now like personal concierges! They pick you up at the airport, check you in at the hotels, organise your luggage and suggest local restaurants to experience authentic cuisine – they do it all! There is also no need to worry about the language barrier. Although most European countries may be easy to navigate but what if you wanted to go to China or Russia, would you feel comfortable renting a car and trying to read the road signs? I love this quote, it really sums it up – ”Escorted tours can take you to see the maximum number of sights in the minimum amount of time with the least amount of hassle”.
The main myth debunked!
Most people think an escorted tour is going to be non stop without any time to relax. To be honest, that is what it used to be. However, escorted touring has evolved because traveller’s tastes have changed. Tour companies understand that guests seek more in-depth experiences and want more time to explore on their own. Many tours include overnight stays in main cities and freestyle dining. This gives you the choice to eat on your own and not always with the group. Check with your travel agent or website for easy paced tours if that’s what you want.
So which tour company should I choose?
There are many companies to choose from, some are specialists in particular parts of the world, like Wendy Wu tours for China and Tucan Travel for South America. Research is important. If you are looking for an upmarket choice with top quality hotels in stunning locations, then look no further than Insight Vacations. They really put the WOW factor into Escorted Tours. All of their hotels are first class and in premium locations, in Venice they are beside the canals and they are the only escorted tour company to offer hotels in the American National Parks.
All of the top excursions are included in the price, including gondola rides in Venice, private tours of palaces, which would normally be sold as ‘extras’. They offer a variety of meals, from a welcome dinner with drinks on arrival to a celebration dinner at the end plus a chance to sample the local cuisine. You can choose from a selection of authentic restaurants for ‘freestyle’ dining rather than eating with the group each night. In Morocco you can have a meal at Ricks Café (from Casablanca) and in India you can enjoy an authentic dinner in a forest while on elephant safari.
They have smaller group sizes than most of the other escorted tour companies, from 32 – 40 and offer a more personalised service. Coaches are generally the same size but because Insight’s groups are smaller they can offer up to 100% more legroom than some of their competitors. Personally I love that their tours are not rushed. Over 95% of their overnight stays comprise of 2 or more nights and you can also choose ‘easy pace’ itineraries which have a minimum of three nights in every destination.
As I write this I somehow feel that the world is my oyster again. Places that I thought I would never get to, I’m now thinking why not? Maybe Ill get to take part in a local ritual in Peru or take a private cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking, while touring the Deep South.