F@%$ing travel companies!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 27, 2011 12:11 AM GMT
    So I got this specific period in March that I marked out for vacation, and picked a perfect trip to Portugal from Trafalgar that fits in it. Just when I was about to pay in full, they CANCEL THE TOUR! icon_evil.gif And they want me to join the one a week later. If I was retired, yes, that would be fine. But I'm working!

    How many people had the same experience, i.e. have their tour date canceled only to be told to join a similar one at a different date? I.e. being packed as a sardine so that they can fill their quotas for a "profitable" group? icon_mad.gif

    (If you wonder why I use travel companies:
    1. I don't like free-style travel--I just want to wake up, eat, sightsee, sleep on the coach, sightsee some more, read on the coach and eat, and sleep. No thinking or fumbling with maps when vacation is concerned.
    2. Hotel prices are usually cheaper, for the 4 star hotels.
    3. No need to carry your heavy luggage except for the flight over and back.)
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jan 27, 2011 12:52 AM GMT
    I am the exact opposite. Exploring, "fumbling" with the map, figuring out the coolest things to see and finding them is the most exciting part of traveling. Finding something that you would never see on a tour, a hidden gem somewhere off the beaten path makes all the other stresses worth while.

    There's a great expression in Chinese about getting on the bus, sleeping, and only getting off to take pictures and to pee. That's what group travel feels like to me, and frankly I hate it.
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    Jan 27, 2011 1:32 AM GMT
    But you get to see so much more if it's all planned. I tried "free" travel once and not knowing how to get to places was frustrating, and didn't get to see half the places we wanted to because we didn't know certain rules about buying tickets (Italy).
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jan 27, 2011 5:37 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidBut you get to see so much more if it's all planned. I tried "free" travel once and not knowing how to get to places was frustrating, and didn't get to see half the places we wanted to because we didn't know certain rules about buying tickets (Italy).


    disagree. half the places you'd want to see won't be on the tours or in the guidebooks.

    next time you go to a new place/city, put the map away and just start walking. the destinations will find you
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Jan 27, 2011 7:54 AM GMT
    I think when you have a week long vacation a tour can be well worth the money. For longer trips it is obviously more enjoyable to travel with the carefree, I don't know where I''m going but I'm bound to find something fun, attitude that many longer term travelers can (and I have had before). But for someone like the OP that isn't the best idea as this type of travel generally moves a lot slower, and it's hard to do a WHOLE lot of things in a week.

    I can see how it would be annoying. Can you rebook with another company?
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    Jan 27, 2011 8:37 AM GMT
    I agree that the difference between a vacation and traveling is that in the former you go see someplace but in traveling you experience it.

    The benefits to a travel company/tour guide are that they really help when there's a major language barrier, it can be a great bargain, and that your brain can take a vacation. In a tour, you follow the guide around. You stop occasionally to look at something or take a picture. You don't have to figure out how to get to X, what time does Y close, or what does that hand gesture mean?

    A few years ago I was going to go to Vietnam and Cambodia on a tour arranged by my local chamber of commerce. After I paid the deposit they decided to cancel the tour I booked because there weren't enough sign-ups. There was another tour a few weeks earlier, but the timing didn't work for me.
    I got my deposit back.
    I still haven't gone to Vietnam or Cambodia, but plan to in the next few years.
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Jan 27, 2011 1:06 PM GMT
    It's happened to me once - I booked the trip with one company, the flights there with another. The trip was cancelled (only 2 other people wanted to go) & I was asked if I wanted to go on the trip a month later. I could , but the flights couldn't be changed - the airline was willing, the travel agents (ebookers) refused.
    I changed the trip instead (SW USA instead of Baja) & decided never to use ebookers again & tell as many people as possible what a crap company they are.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 27, 2011 2:10 PM GMT
    allatonce saidI think when you have a week long vacation a tour can be well worth the money. For longer trips it is obviously more enjoyable to travel with the carefree, I don't know where I''m going but I'm bound to find something fun, attitude that many longer term travelers can (and I have had before). But for someone like the OP that isn't the best idea as this type of travel generally moves a lot slower, and it's hard to do a WHOLE lot of things in a week.

    I can see how it would be annoying. Can you rebook with another company?


    I rebooked a Spain tour instead with Globus. (Trafalgar sucked last time in Italy too)

    And I agree, if you have limited time and want to do most of what people would do, tours would be the most time-efficient way to do it.
    When I'm retired and have plenty of time to kill, I'll go back to those countries that I visited with tours, and use Rick Steve's guides. Right now, even if I'm just one day late back from vacation, my office staff will kill me, and I have to pay my colleagues back dearly.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Jan 30, 2011 4:30 AM GMT
    Well enjoy the trip! Sounds like it will be a great time!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:59 PM GMT
    The only escorted tour we ever took was to China. Normally we wil look for a "hosted" tour, which means the tour company will fly you there, get you to a hotel, and back to the airport again. Sometimes there is a brief bus tour of the city, and sometimes there is a "concierge" you can call for help. We hate the bus tours generally. Hope you get it worked out and have a great trip.
  • alphatop

    Posts: 1955

    Feb 18, 2011 10:05 PM GMT
    Bunjamon saidI am the exact opposite. Exploring, "fumbling" with the map, figuring out the coolest things to see and finding them is the most exciting part of traveling. Finding something that you would never see on a tour, a hidden gem somewhere off the beaten path makes all the other stresses worth while.

    There's a great expression in Chinese about getting on the bus, sleeping, and only getting off to take pictures and to pee. That's what group travel feels like to me, and frankly I hate it.


    Couldn't agree more. Group travel is super boring, while individual travel is so much more fun and interesting...for me, at leasticon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 18, 2011 10:13 PM GMT
    Especially Portugal, it is a country meant to be explored, not bussed around. Do some research and come up with a plan, then when you hear about something new that seems interesting to you, do it.

    In Portugal there are amazing beach towns with amazing people, that a bus would never take you to. Also, when you are in the cities, park your car and walk everywhere, then you can get the true experience!
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:21 AM GMT
    FightOn86 saidwalk everywhere, then you can get the true experience!


    I agree 100% with this. You want to be able to see where you're visiting and spend time with the locals.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Feb 19, 2011 2:31 AM GMT
    Being in the travel industry myself, your post interested me. Does the tour operator have a cancellation policy? Were they able to refund your money in full? Were there flights involved?
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    Feb 19, 2011 5:17 AM GMT
    No, I only paid the deposit, and the tour hasn't officially formed yet (and that's why they could cancel) and they refunded the deposit. Flights are separate. thank god (which seems to be the rule nowadays with companies like Trafalgar and Globus).