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Old 03-24-2018, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,821,689 times
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AAA offers numerous tours all over the country. They have some great bus tours. Hotel stay is included. Some meals are also included in the fees. They also have cruises.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,131 posts, read 19,131,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leorah View Post
We booked our own train trip on the Alaska Railroad to Denali and it was wonderful. We also took a Road Scholar tour of Yellowstone and Glacier, Banff and Calgary. We are soon leaving for another Road Scholar trip to the Utah parks. Check out Road Scholar, they cater to mature adults and you can choose the activity level that works for you. Caravan also has National Park trips at a very reasonable cost.
I had COMPLETELY forgotten about Road Scholar! GREAT SUGGESTION!

StealthRabbit, thank you for taking the time to respond. OUR limited experience with group trips has been very different than yours (frankly, based on this post and your other posts, I doubt you have ever personally taken one.)

Your method of travel is WILDLY different than what 99% of how the general public defines a vacation. I wouldn't ever BUY an RV for a two week road trip, nor am I interested in sharing that vehicle with a hired stranger. Come to that, I don't especially want to spend days on end in a car with a stranger, let alone tell him/her what to do. My days of being a 'boss' are happily behind me. And planning anything like what you describe would take WAY longer than the trip itself. I enjoy planning trips, but not to THAT much. Sometimes, For certain types of trips, allowing a company to make decisions, itinerary and all the arrangements is a better choice - Even if that means being part of a 'cattle call as I'm sure you would describe it.

Furthermore, we have neither the housekeeper or chauffeur that you evidently have on staff, or the "elderly relatives/friends you describe in to cover our expenses. In point of fact, we ARE those elderly people.

I suspect that when/if you become a little old, cranky, have physical limitations or are just plain looking for an easy sightseeing tour, you will either change your travel style or stop traveling at all.

Last edited by Jkgourmet; 03-25-2018 at 08:30 AM..
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:25 AM
 
Location: North State (California)
40,234 posts, read 3,056,797 times
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We took several bus tours with the senior center, One went to the Tetons,Yellowstone, & then up to Glacier Park. We flew into Salt Lake City & the bus picked us up there, Fantastic scenery. We also did a trip to South Dakota to see MT Rushmore & Crazy Hourse & other points of interest in that area. I love bus tours. The bags are normally delivered to your hotel room, & then in the morning, leave them in the hall & the porters pick them up & load them on the bus. Happy travels to you.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:29 AM
 
2,761 posts, read 1,572,358 times
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Having seen the Road Scholar catalog recently, I wonder why they're so expensive? Far, far more than individual travel would be. Am I missing something important about organized tours? These tours?
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,131 posts, read 19,131,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
We took several bus tours with the senior center, One went to the Tetons,Yellowstone, & then up to Glacier Park. We flew into Salt Lake City & the bus picked us up there, Fantastic scenery. We also did a trip to South Dakota to see MT Rushmore & Crazy Hourse & other points of interest in that area. I love bus tours. The bags are normally delivered to your hotel room, & then in the morning, leave them in the hall & the porters pick them up & load them on the bus. Happy travels to you.
Any information about what companies these were?
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,131 posts, read 19,131,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
Having seen the Road Scholar catalog recently, I wonder why they're so expensive? Far, far more than individual travel would be. Am I missing something important about organized tours? These tours?
I think it's fair to say that most times, group travel IS more expensive than individual travel. Some reasons for that may include:

They have to purchase and maintain equipment like buses.

If plane tickets are involved, they are prepurchased by the agency. If they go unsold, the agency is stuck. This sometines applies to overnight accomodations, too.

They have to employ people - bus drivers, tour hosts, translators, sometimes am extra host. I was on one tour where two guards went with us everywhere and were on duty many nights. Another that had a small van and driver for luggage.

In house employees for adminstrative, sales, database management, website management, tour planning and logistics, marketing, customer setvice, etc. And taxes, benefits , etc for those employees.

They may have to pay commission to agents.

These ARE businesses. They exist to make a profit for the owner who take the risk of being an entrepreneur.
Their business is providing travel planning, transportation, accomodations, sometimes meals, and vacation experiences to their clients. Their clients have specific reasons for wanting those services, but price savings is not usually one of them.

(An exception: we took a group trip in Thailand some years ago. The cost of the whole shebang was less than what we would have paid for airfare on our own.)
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Old 03-25-2018, 11:12 AM
 
Location: North State (California)
40,234 posts, read 3,056,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
Any information about what companies these were?
It was arranged by a travel agent who worked with our senior center. So not a large company. But plenty of places offer such tours, I hope you can find one, with the itinerary you want.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:00 PM
 
2,761 posts, read 1,572,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
These ARE businesses. They exist to make a profit for the owner who take the risk of being an entrepreneur.
I see. They make money by taking it out of our pockets. You'd think with economies of scale, business partnerships and such that they could do better than we could. Maybe they do, and pocket the savings and then some. Most certainly don't pass it on to customers. Guess that's not the model, and a segment of the population is willing to put up with their limitations.

A friend has taken some Road Scholar trips, and has been surprised lately at how large her groups have been, and not in a good way. Lots of time spent boarding, deboarding, waiting in lines, overwhelming some sites and such. Something to think about when booking a tour - how big a group? How many on a bus?
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:26 PM
 
6,846 posts, read 3,818,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Amtrak has a tour component that might work but my guess is that it would be pricey. Of course, with a sleeper you get all meals included and the food is good. You meet some interesting and nice fellow travelers on long distance train trips if you are open and socialize with people.
My first thought was Amtrak. Although I don't know if they have a National Park-purpose line, and then stop to let people explore the park for a day. But they might.

There's also the possibility that while you're on the train, there might be a murder, and some portly little detective with a mustache has to do an on-site investigation of it on the spot, which would be exciting.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:13 PM
 
9,460 posts, read 6,320,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
We are thinking of this option in 2019. We recognize that generally self-drive, indepent travel is certainly a better way to go. But I don' t like to drive (especially with passengers) because of a visual field cut, and DH feels that at 75, he is "so-over" long driving vacations. Plus, he would like to enjoy the scenery, too.

We've traveled extensively internationally, occasionally on group tours, but not so much on the US. It's time to see the beauty of OUR country, especially the national parks out west and the typical tourist stops. We are definitely NOT going camping, RVing, farm stays, or hospitality exchanges.

Suggestions and experiences welcome.
We are in our 70s

1st, we took a 14 day train/bus tour of Switzerland 10 years ago. Beautiful, great accominidations, great guide etc. BUT, we will never do anything like that ever again.

To be forced to put up with everyone for 14 days was a major mistake. People who wore the same clothes and smelled like a locker room A retired minister with Alzheimer's who would walk into the group meals lift a leg and pass gas then curse like a sailor. Two ex Nazi SS Officers who turned my stomach. Having all luggage outside the door by midnight then up and out at 7AM

You get the picture

Like you, after spending many great vacations overseas, (Greece, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, France, The Amazon and the Caribbean) Cruises and fly and drives. On our last two trips we felt that they would rather have us mail them our money and stay home. THEY WANTED OUR MONEY MORE THAN THEY WANTED US

We finally decided to support OUR economy

Our handicap placards got us free lifetime passes to all US National Parks. You will never go wrong National Park hopping.

If you plan ahead and pick parks that are within easy travel times it is so much better to drive yourselves. You and pick where and when you want to stop for short walks, photo ops and food.

https://www.nationalparks.org/sites/..._10_3_2016.pdf

We fly in and out of a start/finish point then drive, usually 1-2,000 miles in 2-3 weeks. (We try for a few hundred miles driving stints before stopping for a day or two)

We only make reservations for the night before we leave and if there is a special place we want to stay during the trip (El Tovar at the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful Lodge, Crater View Lodge in Hawaii, The Lodge at Monument Valley, etc. Our definition of camping is a Hampton Inn or Fairfield Inn.

We always ask for locally owned restaurants, never chains. Some of our best meals ever were at little hole in the walls that we would have probably walked past without even thinking about looking in

Several easy trips:

In and out of La Vegas then Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Escalante NPs with stops at Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridge NMs (Utah has the most beautiful parks within easy driving distances)

In and out Colorado Springs Pikes Peak then Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde Great Sand Dunes NP etc

Santa Fe and surrounding parks. San Francisco then Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite

You get the idea

We leave in fall after schools are back in session and get the colors and the parks to ourselves. When we were in Zion and Yellowstone, we were able to drive ourselves instead of using the packed trams because we were out of season. One trip to yellowstone, we drove the entire loop with stops and saw less than 100 cars.

Pacific NW is a litthe tougher because snow starts earlier, so we go in August. This past year we were lucky to hit Portland, drive down to Redwoods and up to Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, all of the waterfalls around Portland, Craters of the Moon etc AFTER the 100+ degree weather and BEFORE the forest fires

All in all, over 10 year, we have visited well over 80% of the US NPs from Acadia in Maine to Volcanoes in Hawaii and Denali plus several in Alaska. We even tossed in a few Parks Canada

Drive while you can, don't take bus and train based trips.
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