Why coach tours are a great way to travel
In the past, coach touring has been viewed – by travellers of all ages – as an uncomfortable and stuffy way of travelling. For some, it conjures images of packed buses whizzing past tourist landmarks – you’d see the Eiffel Tower, but experience nothing much else about Paris.
But there’s been a shift in the touring industry – a move away from the stigma of sitting on a coach, ticking off 35 countries in 4 weeks. While the fundamentals of coach touring remain the same – you travel via coach, albeit luxury ones – and itineraries are destination-based, escorted coach tours can be a great way for travellers young and old to turn travel dreams into mind-blowing realities.
Here are some of the benefits of escorted coach tours:
Ease and convenience
Coach touring is designed to make travel easier – and if you discover a company that does it well, you might find yourself asking why you didn’t try it earlier.
Seasoned traveller Claire has experienced travel both ways – she’s arranged her own travel and she’s joined organised trips. She says even though she always researches her trips well, it can still be stressful organising everything yourself – but coach touring takes that all away.
“It takes a lot of planning to do it on your own, there’s so much detail you need to look in to, even just for flights! It’s so stressful, driving around in the van or rental car, worrying about traffic or driving on the wrong side of the road – and then there’s all the tolls you have to pay! This way, that’s all done for you.”
You’ll have all the itinerary details taken care of – getting you and your luggage from A to B – so you can spend your precious time fully immersing yourself in the sights and culture. It will take you to the heart of each destination, employ guides who know how to beat the crowds at popular tourist attractions – and there will certainly be no wasted time spent waiting for the next train.
“You forget how few people we have in New Zealand – we don’t have to queue at all. In Asia or Europe, there are queues everywhere! If you need to stop to grab a bite to eat, you’re either in a fast-food joint or fighting the crowds to find a table. That factor’s taken out of the equation with coach touring,” says Claire.
It might amaze you to know just how much experience good tour companies have. Globus, for example has been operating for 92 years – and it shows when you look at their itineraries. Their ‘local favourites’ introduce travellers to local delicacies, tour directors and local guides take you beyond the standard tourist fare for a better backstage experience, and itineraries are regionally focused. Their Undiscovered tour series takes you even further away and well off the beaten track in places like Italy, Britain, Ireland and the Mediterranean.
“Even if you’re a seasoned traveller, they give you a really good insight into the country. They do seem to look at giving you the best experience – they don’t always go to run-of-the-mill places, and they take you on different excursions you wouldn’t normally see,” says Claire.
Then there are the things you may forget to consider, as Claire did when she got stuck in Paris on Bastille Day.
“We’d organised a city ride, but everything was closed. Luckily the tour operator was a Kiwi – we’d have wasted our one day in Paris otherwise.
“Coach touring takes a lot of that frustration out of travelling, things like making sure you’re wearing proper clothing so you can go into churches, and indicating ahead of time if things might be closed.”
Travel with like-minded people
Coach touring has always been a great way to meet and travel with new friends from all over the world – and that fact still stands. Globus hosts 38 people at a time on their coaches and Cosmos welcomes closer to 50, with people coming from all walks of life. That means many travellers making lifelong friends. They’re a great option for solo travellers, and Cosmos can even match single travellers up so you can avoid the single supplement. Globus tours have an average age of 55+, and Cosmos caters for everyone from teenage kids to their grandparents.
“People on Globus tours are always active, giving everything a go. Absolutely we’ve made friends. We’ve set up Facebook pages so we can keep in contact.
“I have lots of friends that travel by themselves as well. If you want to get the most out of your time, and be comfortable, for me an organised tour is the go-to – just sit back and enjoy!” Claire says.
Better quality for your money
At first, escorted coach tours can seem expensive, says Claire, but everything’s included a lot of the time. When you consider the cost of a local guide plus the cost of amenities with the exchange rates, organised tours can be a super economical way to travel (and reduce the stress factor).
One of the biggest benefits is never being surprised by additional costs.
“If anything goes wrong, Globus takes care of that so you can continue to enjoy your trip. We’ve just booked a trip to Hobart by ourselves, and just found out we’ll have to drop our rental car out of town and get transport back to Hobart, to make our flight home.
“It’s things like that that add up,” Claire points out. “On an organised tour, it’s so economical, it’s all factored in, and you get group discounts.”
Easy to fit into your holiday
Claire explains, “If you’ve got five weeks away, and you want to see a number of things, then adding a coach tour as part of your trip is such an easy way to make sure you make the most of your time.”
Get on that plane knowing everything has been organised, and fly home thinking ‘When can I do it all again?’
See more with an escorted coach tour
Escorted coach touring is so much more than it used to be. Great coach tour companies make travel easy, sorting all the details of your itinerary, so you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of another country and its people. Their years of experience give them insider knowledge to help you see and do more, you can travel with like-minded people from all over the world, get better quality travel for your well-earned money, and easily fit a tour into the rest of your holiday.
Ready to get on board? Give Globus a call on 0800 267 672 or visit their website at www.globustours.co.nz