Janet Parton, sales director for Cosmos, offers her advice on how clients can make the most of escorted touring.
These come with a pre-designed itinerary in place before departure that is custom-made to help tour guests see the very best of each featured destination – from the bucket list stops to those that they might miss if travelling independently.
With an itinerary already confirmed, time and energy are not lost to planning or trying to figure out complicated transfers, local transport or how to navigate foreign cities in an unfamiliar vehicle.
With transportation already pre-arranged, customers can reclaim the time they might have spent planning, and reinvest this in truly getting under the skin of their chosen destinations.
Once customers have made the decision to book an escorted tour, here are five of my top tips for making the very most of the experience.
1. Clients should take advantage of the knowledge of an experienced tour director and the services of any local representatives as they will help give them the inside track on the key attractions, activities and restaurants to explore in each location, and help bring the place to life. This will save precious time on planning and give clients the chance to include as much independent sightseeing as possible.
2. Consider selling an escorted tour that runs out of season; these tend to give clients more time to explore the top attractions in each location – without encountering the same density of tourist crowds or queues for key sights compared with travelling in the peak summer holiday months.
3. Clients should make the most of any free time by signing up for any optional guided excursions included in the price of the tour as these will enable them to see more of the destination quickly. Often tours include the opportunity to learn new skills from locals such as cooking and creative local arts.
4. Advise clients to talk with fellow tour guests to hear their experiences of the destination. They may have discovered something different – and this will help provide inspiration for what else to see and do, from the perspective of a like-minded traveller.
5. Clients should capitalise on relaxation time available during transfers. Most vehicles used by escorted touring companies come with WiFi. Rather than use up key exploring time in a destination to share holiday photos on social media and with family members back home, clients can do updates from the comfort of their seat on an air-conditioned coach between stops. Plus, some tour operators now offer handy apps which allow travellers to download useful guides on local points of interest and the best bars and restaurants to help guests spend their time most effectively in each destination. Cosmos customers should look out for the newly launched Cosmos Go app.