Is it included?
Do you know what’s included in your travel package? Do you take the time to read the fine print, ask the pertinent questions, and select the best options for you and your set of expectations?
We arrange so many types of travel packages for a wide range of customers, and there’s so much information out there online, most of it conflicting, it’s easy to see how it can become very confusing.
Let’s talk all-inclusive resorts first. Most all-inclusive resorts offer all food, drinks (alcoholic drinks too), taxes and gratuities. They also offer free non-motorized water sports, meaning snorkel equipment, boogie boards, Hobie cats, etc.
Round trip transfers are also typically included in your package. That means we’ve arranged for someone to pick you up at the airport and deliver you to the hotel or cruise ship. After the trip they will take you back to the airport.
You can share transfers with about 40 other passengers on a motor coach and may stop at up to 6 different resorts on the way to your own. You can pay extra and have nonstop transfers, or you can pay even more and have private transfers. It’s up to you to determine the method of transfers you are most comfortable with.
Let’s talk about escorted tours. On an escorted tour by land you will have a professional tour conductor. This person will remain with you and the group 24/7 during your tour. They arrange the hotel reservations, included attractions, and included meals, secure the services of local guides and even help the hotel staff deliver your luggage to your room.
They also provide fascinating commentary about the destination you are touring, making them a key part of the tour success. They offer advice about where to go and what to do during free time as well. Sometimes they drive the motor coach in addition to these duties, sometimes there is a second person along driving the motor coach.
When our agency offers a personally escorted land tour we go along with the group, in addition to the tour conductor and driver. Prior to departure we select a tour, enhance the tour and enlist the participation of our customers.
During the tour itself we assist the tour conductor and driver when needed and necessary, but most of all are there for you as a problem solver and co-conspirator in the fun. Usually we are return visitors to the destination so we are also able to offer advice about where to go and what to do during your free time.
When our agency offers a personally escorted ocean cruise it’s much of the same, however there is no tour conductor. We select a cruise, enhance the itinerary (such as offering private events only for our group) and enlist our customers. We then accompany them on the cruise, assisting them if they need it and enjoying the fun alongside of them.
On a personally escorted river cruise there is a cruise director onboard, and their function is similar to the tour conductor. They are with the cruise 24/7 and assist the guests with excursions, problems etc. We are there as well, assisting our customers and the cruise conductor where and when necessary. As with the other group experiences, we’re beside you for the fun as well.
On all of our escorted tours (land, sea and river) there is no up-charge to our customers for our participation. In other words, we pay our own way, you don’t pay for us. There are many companies out there who charge extra for their presence during the event. We do not and never have.
Whether you join us on an escorted tour or opt to go with another company, group travel is a wonderful way to experience a destination and I heartily encourage you to try it. All-inclusive resorts are now the #1 product we book for a reason- the better ones are simply amazing. If you haven’t given all-inclusives a try, add those to your bucket list as well.
Is it included? If in doubt, ask. You always want to know exactly what you are, and are not, paying for.
Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel