travel advice & savings
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toolfan21's profile picture
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I’m traveling to london on may 19 and I’m traveling alone. One of my friends told me to purchase a tour so that I wouldn’t be lost. I found a good pakage with traflagar tours but I’m not sure if it’s even worth it or even safe. Has anyone ever used this company for tours?

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I’m 19 too, and Im going to europe in may. Where are you planning on going?

I considered going on an extensive tour too… but i decided against it – if the reason youre thinking about it is because you dont want to get lost.. then i think you should re-think it! Tours are tempting.. because you have a bed guarranteed every night and a set itinerary, and yeah, you probably wont ever get lost (still could happen though im sure!) But it would be so much more of an experience to just go independantly… Im still kinda nervous about it.. but i think i’ll be fine. And i cant wait to just wander around the cities and really experience europe. I hope im not being rude… Im sure a tour would also be quite amazing – i mean, you’re going to be in europe! But personally, I’m trying to get over my nervous anxieties and i don’t want to give up what could be a really fun adventure.. so that’s why i decided against the tour..

If you do go on a tour though, consider ones that are for a certain age bracket.. even if you have itineraries.. im sure you dont want to be at a perfume manufacturer in france with a group of older people.. I was looking at contiki tours (18-35) and although they do visit the perfumeries and cheese factories.. at least your with a younger crowd.. Or try busabout tours.. they’re kinda in between because you can hop on and off the bus where you want.. and they guve you discounts on places to stay.

good luck Smile kelly

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I’m not a fan of tours — it’s not a travel style that I enjoy, but they’re certainly safe. Trafalger is a very well run tour outfit and has the advantage of being British based and advertised worldwide — so you MIGHT luck out and end up with a few people who aren’t American retirees as your tour mates. The one Trafalger tour I took (30 years ago — the last tour I ever took) was about 1/2 Americans and 1/2 English speakers from all over the world — Israelis, Australians, Malasians, ethnic Chinese Malasians, British ex-Pats who lived in Yemen and 3 British-Jewish-South African women — who were the best bridge players I ever met. You don’t mention your age. Trafalger is pretty upscale, so the crowd they attract tends to be comfortabley well-to-do and middle-aged to retired.

I enjoy solo travel — seriously considered skipping the tour and going on your own.

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I’ve been on this site a while and I know that fans of tours here are pretty scarce. So allow me to weigh in as one of the few people who posts at Eurotrip who actually likes tours.

I’ve been to Israel on organized tours twice, around Europe on my first big trip there with Contiki, and most recently to Costa Rica with GAP Adventures. All were amazing.

Tours are not for everyone. You have to be the kind of person who does well with them and enjoys their pros without being too fussed about their cons. For what it’s worth, here’s a bit of a list.

Tour pros:

  • You can do more in a shorter time frame because you don’t spend time figuring out train schedules, hostel reservations, etcetera and you have tour guides to point you in the direction of the main attractions and sights.
  • Travelling with a group means you make great friends and you’re never lonely; you just take the party with you wherever you go.
  • Some tours allow you to meet and make friends with people around the world.
  • You may do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily have chosen to do on your own, but that turns out being amazing. Adventure tours are especially good at taking you outside your "comfort zone" and getting you to try new things that turn out to be the highlights of a trip.
  • No need to stress about the zillion details… just sit back, enjoy the ride and let someone else do the "work"; you’re on vacation!
  • Starting off with a tour means you will likely meet people and make friends to travel with after the tour is over.
  • The safety factor… though this is a bit less of an issue (i.e. I got mugged in Costa Rica and I was on a tour) Tours give you lots of free time and they don’t nanny you, so random stuff can happen to anyone anywhere, but it’s rare and Europe is safe so this shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a tour.

Tour cons:

  • Less flexibility – you’re stuck with the tour itinerary and though you have free time in each stop, you can’t just spontaneously change your plans as easily, or stay longer if you love a place.
  • On long tours, some of the people you’re travelling with will inevitably start to annoy you after a while. On a tour you’re stuck with them.
  • Some tours (Contiki in particular) will take you to lots of places where they try to sell you things like perfume, wine, leather, even diamonds… Contiki always gets kickbacks so keep that in mind.
  • Less choice about where to stay, what to see, what to do – you can’t always have it your way, compromise is necessary.
  • Sometimes "getting lost" is the best way to see a place and truly experience it, and on a tour you may feel a bit removed from that.
  • Most tours are fast-paced, so there’s less time to take it slower.
  • Meeting people is no problem while travelling solo; sure, you’re not in a group with them, but if you’re even remotely sociable and stay at hostels you’re sure to meet tons of people.

On the whole, tours can be great if you’re the type of person who adapts well to them. They’re also often good for a first, "whirlwind-style" trip through Europe; you can always come back and see places in more depth on your own on later trips. You may want to start off on a tour and then continue on your own.

Or you may simply be too independent for tours, in which case I strongly advise you to go on your own. No need to worrry about getting lost; that’s what maps are for. I’ve now travelled both ways, and I find that there are pros and cons to each but I always seem to have more fun on tours, while I have more interesting experiences solo.

By the way, if you do opt for a tour, I highly recommend Contiki for Europe if you’re 18-35. Yes, it’s somewhat &quotarty", but they do know how to do tours just right, and you’ll be with a younger crowd and have loads of fun. Or, for a good compromise, check out Busabout for its hop-on, hop-off semi-tour style trips.

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I will be travelling solo for 7 weeks in September. I was looking at the contiki tours and others but decided against it. They are too rushed. I have now opted for a flight to Paris, Busabout pass through Eu that will end in Barcelona & fly home. I arranged a 2 night hotel package & transfers in Paris for when I get off the flight "bleary eyed". Busabout drop off and pick up locations are at youth hostels. It is semi organised but you do your own thing during the day (or plan things with other backpackers you will meet!)…

You should check out the website