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Travel easy with an escorted tour

Traveling overseas is a dream for many people. If you want to take your family to visit a foreign country, but the planning and making it happen seems overwhelming, the solution is an escorted tour.



What is an escorted tour?

An escorted tour is a pre-planned trip where all the arrangements for your transportation, hotels, some sightseeing and meals are already made. You have a tour guide and driver that make sure everything runs smoothly and you just show up and enjoy.


There will be some activities included and other sightseeing options that you can choose to add. The tour guide will be fluent in the local language as well as English and sometimes several others. Most escorted tours use a motorcoach for transportation although some use trains, boats or vans. A small tour group may have eight to 20 people, and the largest tours have 40 to 50.


Planning

The biggest advantage of an escorted tour is that all the planning and logistics are taken care of. The tour companies have researched and planned the best possible route to get from place to place as you experience the highlights of each area. The guides have local contacts and can advise on which optional tours would best fit your needs. You don’t need to research the history of the area as your tour guide will be well-versed in everything there is to know about the areas you visit.


Types of tours

There are escorted tours for every kind of traveler. In recent years, family-focused tours have increased with Adventures by Disney offering high-end tours around the world that feature kid-friendly activities. Traditional tour companies such as Tauck have added tours for multi-generational families. Adventure tour companies such as G Adventures, Backroads and Intrepid have special tours for families of all ages and families with teenagers.


There are theme tours based on historical events, sports such as biking or hiking, wildlife sightings, food tours and much more. Some tour companies offer the opportunity to do community service or have dinner in the home of a local family. Family tours make learning about the local culture fun and interactive.


Logistics

Some families want to see and do as much as possible and go non-stop, while others prefer to spend a few days in each place and include time to relax. When deciding on a tour, ask each family member what they want to see and do. One of the benefits of an escorted tour is that not everyone has to always do the same thing. For instance, on a recent escorted tour to Costa Rica with my family, my older sons and their dad went rappelling down a waterfall while my youn-

gest son and I visited a sloth sanctuary. The tour guide made all the arrangements and we each got to do exactly what we wanted.

Say it louder for the moms in the back: all the planning and logistics are taken care of with escorted tours.

Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of a tour is that you save time and money. Having a vehicle pick you up and take you exactly where you want to go is much easier than dealing with train schedules and taxis or trying to find your way around in a rental car. Tour companies book thousands of hotel rooms every year and can get much better prices than you would get on your own. Tour guides can advise you which sights are worth seeing and which are tourist-traps to avoid.


Safety is a big issue and a good tour guide will advise which areas to avoid and local scams to be aware of. If there are any issues such as weather problems, a local strike or other disruptions, the tour guide is right there to handle any situation.


One of the unexpected benefits is building friendships with the others on your tour. I’ve taken escorted tours throughout Europe, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and Costa Rica, and every time I have met interesting people who made the trip extra special. On family tours, children can become fast friends with other kids.


It’s important to have the right tour for your family, and a professional travel agent is inval-

uable in finding the perfect tour for you. If you’ve always dreamed of taking your family on a safari to Africa, on a biking tour through Italy or sightseeing in Japan, now is the time to start planning.


There are more flights than ever available from Eugene Airport to anywhere you want to go in the world. Get your passports in order, and call your travel agent!



 


Meet Vacation MOM Vacation MOM is brought to you in partnership with Eugene Airport

Donnita Bassinger has been a travel agent for three decades, and she enjoys sending families on vacations around the world. She is a mom of three and lives in Eugene with her husband. She is the owner of VIP Vacations, Inc., and she looks forward to talking to you about your travel plans.


Contact Donnita at 541-913-5272 or on facebook @VacationMOM



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