A value tour to Europe doesn’t mean skimping on top-notch experiences, and with the strong dollar holding its own against the euro, today’s value tour is very different from what it was even a couple of years ago.
Says Paul Wiseman, president of Trafalgar USA, “We’re very pleased to offer across the board price reductions for all European countries across our newly launched 2016 Europe & Britain brochure compared to 2015 prices. Operating costs have not decreased, but we’re seeing more attractive pricing from hotels and suppliers which we’re passing on to our guests because of the strong dollar.” He adds that, “America used to be a bargain for Europeans but with the drop of the euro, they’re not interested in coming here, which means airlines have extra empty seats. This means in addition to great land prices, we’re able to offer air deals that didn’t exist before.”
In response to this trend, Trafalgar’s CostSaver has now launched as a sister brand to Trafalgar under The Travel Corporation. It offers travelers budget trips with no deadline for early payment discounts or early booking savings.
Through these packages guests can enjoy iconic sights, quality hotels, some dinners, and plenty of free time. These itineraries, some starting at $91 per day, also include a Trafalgar-trained travel director and airport transfers. CostSaver itineraries are a good option for the busy professional who is limited by time and budget, clients who like to have everything organized for them but still want the freedom to explore on their own, families—who may save 5 percent plus an extra 10 percent for kids—and even ocean cruisers since there is a range of trips that start and end in major ports, making for easy cruise connections. Itineraries include the 7-day Jewels of Italy, with rates from $144 pp per day. Available from April 2016 to March 2017, it stops in Rome, Pisa, Florence, Verona and Venice. The 7-day Highlights of Scandinavia, meanwhile, starts at $172 pp per day and visits Copenhagen, Odense, Frederikshavn, Gothenburg, Oslo, Bergen, and Stockholm, among other destinations; it’s available from April to October 2016.
Central Holidays offers the Travel in Simplicity option for budget travelers. On this tour style, guests have access to tourist-class hotels and group sightseeing options, but don’t get the private tours and other perks available to Central Holidays’ guests who opt for the Travel in Style and Travel in Luxury tours. For example, the 6-day When in Paris itinerary, starting at $652, includes daily buffet breakfast, a 1-hour Seine River cruise, a hop-on/hop-off tour of Paris, a 4-course gourmet lunch aboard the Bustronome, a 2-day museum pass, a 10 percent discount coupon at Galeries Lafayette, plus a document holder and luggage tags. To compare, the Travel in Style option starts at $1,520 and throws in first-class hotel accommodations, a 5-day metro pass, private full-day tour of Paris, lunch in Montmartre, private half-day excursion to Versailles, and a 6-course gourmet dinner aboard the Bustronome, plus other inclusions.
For those who want to keep costs down by taking shorter vacations, Alexander+Roberts offersFreeStyle Travel options in major European cities. The 4-day Warsaw itinerary, starting at $529 pp, for example, includes a private car, airport transfers, and guided sightseeing with a personal driver and guide. It features accommodations at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw, set within the historic Mokrowski Palace, daily breakfasts, visits to the Old Town and the Market Square, as well as St. John’s Cathedral and the Royal Castle; and there’s a free day to explore on one’s own. That said, an alternative is for guests to combine various FreeStyle itineraries to create one longer vacation. It ups the price, of course, but is still a valuable option for people with limited time. Additionally, says Mickey Huang, marketing manager for Alexander+Roberts, “Many of our FreeStyle bookings come from guests on our Small Group Journeys. Specifically, these are travelers who have a bit more time and/or the inclination to extend their trip and explore other cities beyond those on the itinerary.”
Alexander+Roberts: alexanderroberts.com or alexanderroberts.com/rewards/login.aspx
Central Holidays: centralholidays.com or centralholidays.com/New-Member-/-Login
CostSaver: costsaver.trafalgar.com/usa or trafalgar.com/agents