The six best reasons to take an escorted coach tour

 

Never taken a group tour? Not sure it’s the way to go? Then consider these important facts before you attempt to go off on your own:

1. You simply can’t beat the price! Tour operators volume contracting for hotels and services provides you with travel at wholesale rates. You’ll know the cost in advance.  Travel relaxed and hassle-free, knowing that all arrangements have been made for you by reliable specialists.

2. Enjoy the company of interesting fellow travelers, as active, sociable, and curious about the world out there as you are. Many lasting friendships begin on a coach tour.

3. With a professional tour director you not only see the sights, you learn about their meaning as well — a stimulating and enriching experience.

4. Sharing a luxurious, fuel-efficient motorcoach and the services of an experienced driver with other travelers is much more pleasant and ecologically sensible than driving yourself.

5. Who likes standing in line? Because your visit has been arranged months in advance, your group will be ushered to the head of the line at many of Europe’s most popular attractions.

6. A coach tour is carefully planned to make the best possible use of your time. A lifetime of caring for people just like you has taught our selected tour operators which sights and activities you enjoy most, and how much free time you need to explore on your own.  Once you’ve discovered the special advantages and delights of group touring, you’ll never want to travel any other way again!

Spanish holidays – Viva La España!

Oh, to holiday in Spain again would be a dream come true. My family and I had recently experienced a holiday in a lifetime at Tossa de Mar, an absolutely beautiful place on the Costa Brava in Catalonia.

Tossa de Mar

We’d been enjoying holidays in our touring caravan for years whilst the children were young and had travelled up and down the whole of Great Britain to explore the many wonderful and culturally rich places in our beautiful land.

Our caravan called Bubbles.

However, as the kids were growing up a bit, we decided to save for a holiday in the sun and finally made it this year to Spain and glorious sunshine. We had never been to Spain before and were not sure what to expect, but upon arrival, we knew we had made the right decision. The food was good, the weather fabulous and the culture was fascinating.

The kids looking cool.

Although we did enjoy a fair amount of exploring the cultural side of Spain, we did only stick to the region of Catalonia as the kids were more happy not to venture out too far and preferred the marvellous pool at the resort.

Enjoying the pool

This got me thinking about the possibility of just my husband and I embarking on a trip to explore the more cultural aspects of Spain. We could leave the kids with their grandparents (which they would love), and enjoy a break for just the two of us – happy all round I would say.   A friend had suggested going by coach as she had enjoyed a multi European coach tour recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. She had used a company called Global Coach Tours and had joined a Cosmos tour called  ‘A Taste of Europe’.

We weren’t sure what to choose but the user friendly website does make it easier ( some are a nightmare to browse). We eventually decided ( after much debating) on a Cosmos coach tour called the ‘Spanish Panorama’ which covers most of the regions we want to explore.

Tour Map

Map of the tour

The cost from £1175.00 per person is also excellent value for 15 days touring and exploring, and that includes return flights from London – Bargain! The large number of  destinations to visit are all culturally rich and there are optional excursions to choose from which are well worth the extra cost my friend advises with authority.

Dancing in Barcelona

All we have to do now is book the ‘Spanish Panorama Tour’ and look forward to a fabulous holiday –  Viva La España!


How school projects and Remembrance Day led to a tour across Europe.

I’ve got 3 children who were all covering some aspect of both the 1st and 2nd World Wars in their school studies and wanted to find a way of giving them some hands on experience that would help them appreciate the impact of these Wars. Remembrance Day was also upon us which placed even more emphasis on a need for more insight into war in general. We had also recently found some old photos that my Husband’s Mother had given us depicting a trio of soldiers whereby one of them was a relative.

Old photo found of relative from the 1st World War

I also wanted to book a holiday, as one was well over due, and thought it would be nice to combine the two – in other words, a restful trip that also provided some interesting knowledge about the past Wars. Looking at the Internet, I came across a website that specialised in coach tours across all of Europe as well as other countries across the world – Global Coach Tours.

 

I found an Insight Tour which was especially of interest called World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) which provided an excellent and fascinating tour where the memorials and cemeteries testify to the futility and tragedy of the Great War to this day.

The World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) tour takes you on an emotive and poignant journey through the countryside of northern France, dotted with war cemeteries and memorials.

 

This Insight tour World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) has the lot – beautiful places to visit combined with rich and fascinating historical facts. Just hope my children can absorb all what there is to see and do and take the wonderful experiences back with them to the classroom – a worthwhile coach trip indeed.

 

A grand way to tour on a budget.

I hadn’t really thought about going on a short break in a while but was soon prompted when I found out some long lost relatives would be visiting from abroad! I really had to rack my brains for a solution to make sure they all would be entertained without us all having to fork out a lot of money. Image my relief when I came across a travel website that offers budget short and long breaks by coach travel. Not only that, it also ticked all the right boxes for all my family’s needs regarding dates and costs.

The tour we chose was the Taste of Britain 4 day tour which covered a lot of the places my family wanted to see. The tour started in London and we travelled on a luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and on-board restroom.

 

Our first stop was at Cambridge with its famous University. We viewed the colleges which are part of the University and these were truly fascinating to see. Next we headed to York where we went on an orientation walk to be shown all the splendours of the city. These included the beautiful Minster and the famous Shambles. We also noticed a lot of ghost walks!

 

On day 2 we headed to the City of Edinburgh for a lot of sight seeing including the magnificent  Edinburgh Castle. We also saw  Hadrian’s Wall on the way which is a  very, very long defensive wall built by the Romans in 122 AD.

 

The very long Hadrian’s Wall ( 80 Roman miles).

 

The magnificent  Edinburgh Castle.

Day 3 was special as we travelled through the stunning views of the Lake District before stopping at the village of Grasmere where  the great poet William Wordsworth lived.

Enjoying the view.

We next went on to Liverpool before arriving at our very comfortable hotel for the night in nearby Haydock and enjoyed an excellent dinner and breakfast the following morning. After breakfast we travelled to Chester and particularly enjoyed the sights of the black and white timbered buildings which are known as the ‘Rows’.

 

The ‘Rows’ in Chester.

We next visited  Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, before arriving back where we started from in London.

The family fully enjoyed this trip and went on for weeks afterwards about their wonderful experience. I can truly recommend this tour and may even go on a longer coach tour of Britain in the future. Try it for yourselves – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Christmas Wishes on a Rivercruise

I’m so excited – just been told I’m going on a Christmas Markets River Cruise by my wonderful husband . Apparently it’s going through Alsace and Germany which I can’t think of any better place to be during the festive season to savour Gemütlichkeit, Glühwein and Lebkuchen? I can’t wait to be enthralled by the beautiful decorations adorning the magnificent buildings and the twinkling lights on the market stalls.The festive atmosphere which these Christmas Markets conjure would be one to beat on a beautiful crisp winter’s day.

 

We fly to Zürich on the 26th November (which will soon come round) and go on to a place called Basel for four nights where the cruise ship is based. Apparently we are all to meet the crew at a welcoming reception so we can get to now them and vice versa.

I’m particularly looking forward to the second day as I believe there is an excursion to the famous Black forest which is best known for its cute cuckoo clocks, fabulous woodcarvings, Black Forest ham and the delicious Black Forest Gateaux!

The following day we should be visiting Strasbourg which has the oldest and most finest Christmas markets in Europe which date back to 1570! The City’s famous Christkindelsmärik‘ is also found around Place de la CathÈdrale and Place Broglie and  a giant Christmas tree is traditionally seen as its centrepiece.

I’m also very excited for day four as we can either explore the magnificent and ancient imperial city of Speyer or join an excursion to beautiful and romantic Heidelberg with its ancient castle, ice rink and wonderful Christmas Market.

Basically, I can’t wait to spend my whole time exploring the wonderful Christmas Markets whilst savouring the aromas of mulled wine and cinnamon cookies and listening to the sounds of festive Christmas songs – roll on November 26th!

 

 

Crossing virtual borders to save $2000 on Cosmos Best of Europe Tour

Read this article to save $2,000 on your coach tour

The internet is an unparalleled research tool. If you are considering a trip anywhere from a local restaurant to a hotel in a far-flung destination, everyone is now booking online.

Hotels, car rental, flights. It’s all easier than ever before with the World Wide Web! At the same time it can be very confusing and time consuming.

If you are travelling outside your home country, you can easily find a tour package on the internet and book it with a tour operator based in your home country. Had you considered looking to see if that tour company has overseas offices in the region or country you intend to visit? Exchange rates have a considerable impact on the price you pay for a tour package. Global Coach Tours are authorised agents for many tour companies such as Cosmos, Trafalgar, Contiki and CIE tours. They make comparison shopping easy for you by having a ‘choose your currency’ option on the site. This enables you to look at the web site of the tour operator in your home country and compare prices.

Here’s a sample comparison on the land price of “Best of Europe” by Cosmos as sold in Australia and by Global Coach Tours in the UK

Cosmos Australia website price 10th June 2016 $3798
Global Coach Tours price for the same tour departs London 12th June 2016, same date $2735  – a saving per person of over $1,000 Australian dollars. Prices correct with exchange rates on 11 December 2015 –  UK price does not include 2 nights in London before the tour, worth about $400 AUD. These may be added to your booking or purchased later. However we DO include Eurostar train travel back to London from Paris on the last day.

Surely it’s a ‘no-brainer’? Australians can save $2,000 per couple in 2016 on a Cosmos tour. Whether you are from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore or anywhere else, we’ll be pleased to compare the price here with your local price for any tour company we sell.

Global Coach Tours have been established for over 16 years and all transactions are financially protected under European law. The terms and conditions for the booking a broadly similar and over the years, many travellers have made combined savings of tens of thousands of dollars. Add local knowledge and personal service from this dedicated family firm, you can be assured of a great experience. They are now doing the same for river cruising, so why not check out the savings and try a little cross-border shopping in the comfort of your own home?

TOSSATASTIC, a great family holiday in Spain.

Image

Oh, Tossa De Mar – what an unexpected treat. Took the family consisting of 1 husband, 2 teenage daughters and a 10 year old son for their first Spanish holiday abroad and what a joy it was.

The resort of Tossa de Mar sits along the Costa Brava coastal region within Catalonia and boasts beautiful beaches and glorious weather. It is also not far from the wonderfully vibrant city of Barcelona with all its rich history and Gothic charm. We took a coach trip from the hotel to Barcelona four days into our holiday and this set us up for a wonderful further ten days of discovery.

Our first stop was at the Parc Guell, one of Gaudi’s most famous and celebrated creations depicting fairytale sculptures and amazing landscape design. The salamander in particular caught the attention of the kids as they have been desperate to buy a real  lizard in any shape or form during the past year.

The salamander in Parc Güell

Next stop was at the La Sagrada Familia, an architectural masterpiece which had its first stone laid in 1882 and whereby its completion is still not finished. Our tour guide advised us that it would take another 80 years before works would be completed including the demolition of an entire block of nearby apartment buildings.

La Sagrada Familia

We even had time to visit Barcelona’s famous Olympic stadium which was originally built in 1927 and renovated in 1989 for the 1992 Olympic Games. We next  checked out the shops along the Ramblas where the kids were in their element and even managed to alarm the street entertainment!

My daughter Lucy shooting the street entertainer!

We managed a few more coach trips but mainly stayed at the resort of Tossa De Mar for the remainder of our holiday. The Hotel was fantastic and it was great not to have to cook and clean for a whole two weeks as every thing was done for you. It was just a matter of getting up, eating and sun bathing – ah heaven.

I would strongly recommend Tossa De Mar as a holiday destination and will certainly not hesitate to go back there again – it was bliss.

Why it is safe to book your vacation on the internet with Global Coach Tours

There’s a lot of talk and concern these days about buying your holiday via the internet. After all, it’s a really large purchase and something you may look forward to every year or it might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Global Coach Tours use what we believe is the safest protection method for your money. We don’t hold your money. Whether you pay by credit card, debit card or to our bank, it is deposited directly into a secure trust/escrow account which can only be legally used to pay the tour operator. This account is monitored by trustees and administered  by the Global Travel Group Ltd, (TGTG) a consortium of several hundred UK travel agents.

Some travel agents who are not members of TGTG use a bond rather than a trust account. They can legally use your money in their everyday cashflow to pay other bills. Should they get into financial difficulty or become insolvent and they haven’t handed over your money to the tour operator, it can cause delay and frustration whilst this is sorted out.

Global Coach Tours has been trading from the UK for 15 years on the web and became Ltd (incorporated) in 2002. We have always been members of the Global Travel Group and our membership number is T1174. So look for this logo when booking your holiday.

Consumer Protection

Global Travel Group Customer Protection

Should we or TGTG ever have the misfortune of becoming insolvent, your money will still be in the trust account to guarantee payment to the tour operator, so your holiday can go ahead as planned.

Once the tour operator has been paid, your money is protected and insured by various UK  insurance and bonding schemes such as ABTA and ATOL, as required by the European Directive on package travel.

What about the coach tour operators we sell? Coach tour operators have a much better track record of staying in business than some other holiday companies that rely on the sale of a flight and a hotel by the beach. Cosmos Tours are celebrating 50 years in business this year, Trafalgar Tours over 60 years, Insight Vacations 32 years, Contiki 49 years to mention just a few.

We offer the chance to speak to us on Skype video link, so you can see you are dealing with a real person in the UK and not just a web site.

We at Global Coach Tours look forward to helping you plan your escorted touring holiday or vacation.

Need a visa for your trip to Europe? Allow plenty of time

It’s great to imagine a spontaneous visit to Europe. If you are from one of the following countries you don’t need a visa for a tourist stay of up to 90 days: UK, European Union, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia. This is by no means a complete list.

However, if your passport is from India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, any African country, most South American countries and many others, then you must apply for a visa for the UK and the ‘Schengen Area’. Allow at least 8 weeks for the process as you have to pay for your travel arrangements in advance. This is part of the evidence you need to show to the consulate where you are applying. A visa refusal is very rare, but make certain you have all your paperwork correct before you apply. Unfortunately the consulate where you apply has no connection with the tourism office for the same country and no matter how much you have paid for your travel arrangements, all they care about is if the paperwork is correct so they can issue a visa.

Similarly the booking conditions of most tour and travel arrangements do not provide a full refund within 8 weeks of travel. A sliding scale of cancellation charges kicks in usually within 8-10 weeks before departure. If you have to cancel your travel plans you will lose your airfare, your tour deposit and probably a lot more since you won’t know if your visa has been granted until possibly a couple of weeks before travel. Visa refusal is not an insurable event.

It’s not all doom and gloom. In 15 years of helping guests form overseas with their tours I can recall four failures to obtain a visa out of hundreds. Two applications didn’t apply in time. The other two were refused for unknown reasons. Only one person lost money because they decided not to re-schedule. The others we managed to re-schedule their departures for a later date with minimal charges. This is due to our excellent relationships with the tour operators and their goodwill. You should not count on this as each case is looked at on an individual basis. The tour operator booking conditions allow them to treat any change within 8-10 weeks of departure as a cancellation and you can lose anything from the deposit only up to 100% of the tour cost.

This article is just to remind you to be prepared and get your application right. Global Coach Tours does not provide a visa processing service, but we will provide all the evidence required to prove your travel plans with us. We will write you an application support letter when you have booked and paid in full for the tour. The process is usually straightforward, albeit bureaucratic.

Key points:

  • Apply in consulate of your main destination. If you are visiting different countries in the Schengen area, but one country in the Schengen area is where you will be spending most of the time (in number of days) that is your MAIN destination.
  • If you are visiting different countries in the Schengen area, but you are spending an equal number of days in each country, your first port of entry in the Schengen area is the country you apply to.
  • Apply in your country of residence. If you are currently living in the UK as a student or worker you can apply in the UK, but when family come to visit you from your home country on holiday, they must already have a Schengen visa.

Further reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area

Where can I start my European tour?

The top FAQ I get asked is “where and when does my tour start?”

You have a choice of tour operators and a choice of places to join your tour, depending on the operator. Our most popular tours are multi-country tours that start in London and cross the channel by ferry. With Trafalgar, Insight, Contiki or Cosmos, you can join in central London or at the first hotel in Europe which will usually be in Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris. Additionally with Cosmos you can join the tour at Dover and park your car free with a voucher. Leaving the tour, you can say ‘au revoir’ at the last hotel on the tour or ride back to Dover or London, depending on your plans.

So where and when do you meet in London?

CONTIKI AND COSMOS tours depart from the north entrance of the Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, Central London. This meeting point is attached to the Royal National Hotel. Check in for Cosmos is by 8.45am and departure at 9am. The coach usually gets back to Russell Square around 5pm. Click the following link to view the Cosmos joining point or copy and paste the link into your browser for Google Streetview: http://tinyurl.com/RoyalNationalNorthSide Contiki has it’s ‘basement’ under the hotel where helpful staff will give you the departure time the night before for their tours. It’s usually much earlier than Cosmos.

For those not staying in a recommended hotel before the tour, Trafalgar Tours visiting UK and Ireland, Paris or Brussels depart from and return to their London Reception Centre 75 – 79 York Road, London SE1 7AQ behind the ‘London Eye’ http://www.trafalgar.com/lrc
Map: http://g.co/maps/5q8s9

If you wish to book your own hotel, try this hotel price comparison site  http://tinyurl.com/GCThotels  and search in the Waterloo area if your tour leaves from the London Reception Centre

Trafalgar Tours going to Amsterdam as their first stop depart from and return to a designated/Trafalgar recommended hotel. Ask for details.

Insight Vacations tours depart mostly from the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel which is also the return point for their tours. However this is subject to change so check with us. This link shows the location: http://tinyurl.com/qwhcxy This is the hotel’s own web site: http://www.thistle.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/thistle_marble_arch/index.html Approximate departure times. You must always reconfirm the time by calling 020 7828 4388 a day or two before departure as times are subject to change.

European Tours 0630hrs, check-in 0615hrs
British Tours 0645hrs, check-in 0630hrs

For all tour operators, let Global Coach Tours book you a pre and/or post night in the hotel nearest to the departure point.

Insight Vacations Coach

Insight Vacations Coach in Rome