Marilyn Foster: Group travel offers big bang for the buck

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I often am asked about the benefits of group travel versus traveling with a friend or even alone. I tell them that group travel, for me, is the only way to see as much as possible, learn more about the culture than presented in guidebooks, meet great, new, like-minded friends, and know upfront what the cost will be. There are not many surprises when traveling safely in a group environment.

Unless you are an experienced traveler, group travel is the best way to see wonderful destinations that could be intimidating otherwise. Group travel takes the worry out of travel. Everything is planned for you except for the packing of your suitcase – and sometimes that can be the most daunting! That being said, group travel is not meant for those who wish to leisurely explore a destination, yet more and more tour operators are providing more free time within their itineraries to allow a traveler more personal exploration time should they so desire.

I personally enjoy the structure of group travel. I have stayed in wonderful hotels that I may not have known about or chosen and have seen sights I may not have otherwise enjoyed. I enjoy the historical and cultural perspectives narrated by the tour guide, and mostly I like knowing that if I have an issue with anything, it will be handled expertly.

Yes, there is a negative or two that should be known upfront. If you want to sleep in, well, unless you are on a river cruise and decide not to explore the destination of the day, you are up early to begin the day’s journey. Sometimes the motorcoach rides can be tiring, but you get to the next destination faster and with less hassle and more comfort than flying. And, instead of seeing clouds and the land from above, you see the land from the window of a comfortable motorcoach.

From my informal study and experience, women seem to like to travel more than men. For those who are single, widowed, or traveling with girlfriends, group travel is a good choice, for there are plenty of great women who travel on these tours who want to know the world as much as I do. Yes, there is generally a single supplement and few spaces, but those who book early can reserve those spaces. The single supplement for motorcoach tours are affordable. Unfortunately, cruises charge a premium for singles.

Those who read this column know that I travel primarily as a single. I prefer it that way. I like my space and am willing to pay the extra cost. I travel primarily on tours offered by the Carson City Chamber and have been more than pleased with the two first-class tour operators they use: Collette Vacations and Mayflower Cruises and Tours.

Mayflower Tours will be coming to the Carson City Chamber to do their road show on Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. Those who wish to learn more about where we will be traveling in 2020 and previewing some of the new tours for 2021 are welcome to join us for this free event. But, you must RSVP to 882-1565.

If you haven’t yet made up your mind for where to travel in 2020, there is still space on a few tours that should be of interest. There’s a savings offer of $200 per person if you book Collette’s fabulous England’s Treasures tour before Sept. 24. I’m scheduled to travel to Russia next April and if you book this Collette trip prior to Sept. 24, you can save $250 per person. Reservations also are being accepted for Norway and Santa Fe, N.M.

I’m excited about the Mayflower trip to the beautiful southern cities of Charleston, Savannah and Jekyll Island. If you haven’t been to these beautiful coastal cities, I promise you are in for a true treat and some great food! There are a few cabins left on the brand-new yacht cruise of the Croatian Islands, and I can almost taste the Italian culinary delights that will be the highlight of the Culinary Italy tour traveling from Sorrento to Rome next October. I loved my yacht trip of the islands of Croatia!

Yes, fellow traveler, I love to travel just about anywhere. I have trod the streets of India, enjoyed the sights in Dubai, spent my 90th birthday in Hanoi, cruised the rivers of Europe, listened to country music in Nashville, and enjoyed so many wonderful adventures and met so many great people – all on escorted tours. Once you travel on a group tour, you will be hooked. Come join me!

Marilyn will soon enjoy the Germanic countries and has a deposit on a trip to Russia. At 90, she is always checking out new places to travel.


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