Escorted Tours...Reality vs. Misconceptions!

From our friends at AAA Travel...

Surprisingly, the words "escorted tour" still carry an unflattering image for some travelers.  In large part, that image can be traced to the film "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium," about vacationers on a whirlwind escorted tour of Europe.  But does that image reflect reality?  ""If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium" premiered in 1969, the year the Brady Bunch debuted on TV, Nixon was inaugurated, and John Lennon married Yoko Ono.  Forty plus years later, a fresh look at escorted tours is long overdue.

Perception:  Escorted Tours provide a superficial overview of a destination.

Reality:  Well-executed tours deliver a more in-depth experience than most people can arrange on their own.  A superior tour operator knows the destinations they serve far better than the first time or occasional visitor possibly can.  They know the authentic, off-the-beaten-path places that bring a destination to life, and they can arrange exclusive cultural experiences that simply aren't available to the average traveler.

Perception:  Tours are higly structured, with no free time.

Reality:  Most tours blend organized components with independent exploration.  Today's escorted packages are moderately paced and typically feature multiple-night stays in key locations.  This relaxed pacing allows time for organized sightseeing as well as time for indepent exploration.

Perception:  Tours are exclusively for senior citizens.

Reality:  Escorted tours draw travelers of all ages.  Escorted travel options have exploded in recent years, attracting many younger travelers who now enjoy everything from family-specific safaris in Africa with their children, to a dizzying range of active tours (heli-hiking" in the Canadian Rockies, anyone?).

Perception:  Tours feature cramped, uncomfortable buses.

Reality:  Escorted travel uses many modes of transportation, including state-of-the-art motor coaches.  And today's motorcoaches are veritable limousines - sleek, elegant, and equipped with plush reclining seats, video monitors, PA systems, and more.  But the best feature on a motorcoach may be the driver, who keeps you from having to navigate a rental car through congested foreign cities.

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