Inside Out with Trafalgar!

 

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When travelling on holiday, we mostly get to look at the touristy type places and popular experiences that are on offer.

However, sometimes we may want to broaden our experiences and find out what a culture and its people are really like.

So, if you want to get a truly authentic insight into the local culture of your destination, you’ll love Trafalgar’s hand-picked Insider Experiences.

Authentic and exclusive, Insider Experiences introduce you to the people, places and moments that are only possible by getting into the heart of a local community and its culture.

Be My Guest

Trafalgar’s Be My Guest experiences are extremely popular as they allow you to meet interesting characters by dining with families in their own homes.

Interestingly, food and drink tastes so much better when it’s shared with local people who have many tales to tell. It gives you a deeper understanding of their lives and history.

You’ll also have the chance to learn how to cook regional dishes, and share a glass of wine with winemakers at their own vineyards.

Be My Guest dining at a French chateau on the Best of France tour and be truly inspired.

 

 

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Best of France 2016

Châteaux, chic beach resorts, cheese and wine – all you want to see and taste in France. But this in-depth experience also peels back the layers to reveal the soul of this great country.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… learning the strategic importance of Carcassonne’s double ring of ramparts with its 52 towers from our local historian, and why the fortified town made such a good backdrop for the film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’.

  • Lasting for 13 Days
  • Prices Starting From £160 per day

 

 

Local Specialists

Local Specialists are local people such as dancers, archaeologists, geologists and artisans who can provide you with the information to take you deeper into the local culture. They allow you to see things in a fresh and vital way and supply you with fresh insights and anecdotes to make your trip memorable.

For example, if you’re in Amsterdam, they’ll take you to the Royal Delft Pottery workshop to witnes porcelain being hand-painted by expert artisans. Similarly, when you to visit Seville, you get the chance to learn flamenco dancing.

Be inspired by the Local Specialists on the European Highlights tour.

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European Highlights 2016

Discovering six countries, this introduction to Europe compares its big players, France and Germany, and their smaller neighbours, Switzerland and The Netherlands.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… smelling sawdust in the air as German clockmakers craft cuckoo clocks in front of you, in a fairy tale Black Forest setting that feels like it’s straight from a Hansel and Gretel pop-up book.

  • Lasting for 7 Days
  • Prices Starting From £171 per day
Gaudi’s incredible buildings and sculptures

TRAVELKR / Pixabay – Gaudi’s incredible buildings and sculptures

 

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Spanish Wonder 2016

Explore every side of Andalusia, including its Moorish twist, and visit the principal Spanish cities of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona – with passionate experts on every encounter.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… exploring Toledo’s ancient cobbled streets with a local historian, who leads you into the cool tranquillity of the Church of Tomé to reveal the hidden meaning behind El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz.

  • Lasting for 9 Days
  • Prices Starting From £128 per day

In Warsaw, Poland, hear about the heroic history behind the Little Insurgent and discover a story that helps you understand what the city and its people are all about.

You can do this on the Highlights of Eastern Europe tour which takes you to Warsaw as well as many other amazing places.

 

Iwona_Olczyk / Pixabay

 

 

 

 

Trafalgar’s Really Useful Holiday Tips!

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So Trafalgar have compiled this very useful guide to provide you with as much information as possible to help you prepare if you are lucky enough to be travelling with them on one of their coach tours.

Take a look below before you travel on your remarkable global coach tour.

Luggage Allowance

luggage

This is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10” (76x45x25 cm) and a maximum weight of 50 lb (23 kg). Hotel porterage of this luggage is included in your Trafalgar holiday price. Hand luggage should be one piece per person and small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. This is your responsibility and should be carried on/off the coach with you. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach and cannot be accepted as carry-on luggage. If a second suitcase is carried, or if it exceeds the permitted weight and/or dimensions, a charge of €6/£5 per travelling day will be collected by your Travel Director. Airlines may have additional restrictions and may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Please note that airport porterage at the beginning and end of your guided holiday is not included. Loss or damage to luggage or any of your belongings is at your own risk, so please protect yourself with appropriate insurance.

 

Packing

packing

Trafalgar advise that you pack each suitcase with day and evening clothing for each person when travelling as a couple. This is because in the unlikely event one of your suitcases is mislaid on your flight, you’ll still be able to manage. Ensure that your personal and holiday details are written on a label inside each suitcase (including name, address, telephone number, departure and return flight details), but write only your name and destination address on outside labels. Make sure that your luggage is in good secure condition, and use a TSA approved lock for US security checkpoints. Use a rigid style suitcase for protection when carrying fragile items. Check-in only your own suitcases. Do not carry items packed by other people. Under no circumstances ever accept packages or articles from anyone unknown to you to carry on board the aircraft. There are strict airport security regulations on items that may be carried on board aircraft such as liquids/gels and metal objects. These usually need to be placed in a clear bag for viewing at checkpoints. Please consult your airline or travel agent regarding these and other restricted items and how they must be displayed at airport security checkpoints. We suggest you pack only essential items for daytime use in your hand-baggage, both for your flight and while on the coach. For example, your camera, medicines, anything that you use frequently or is particularly valuable. Expensive items such as jewellry should be left at home for your peace of mind.

Clothing & Footwear

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A general tip in regards to suitable clothing and footwear would be to make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes as a number of cities in Europe are developing as havens for pedestrians. What to Bring will depend upon your own personal preferences, where you are travelling to and the time of year you are travelling. Casual, lightweight, drip-dry clothing that requires little or no ironing is generally recommended. Laundry facilities are available at most of the places you stay, however, take sufficient clothing to last for about a week. Below is a list of clothing items to consider packing for your Trafalgar holiday:

• Good walking shoes

• Swimsuit

• Undergarments

• Sandals

• Socks

• Hat

• Sleepwear

• Shorts/skirts

• Jeans/trousers

• Warm jacket

• Pullover/cardigan

• Waterproof jacket

• Shirts/blouses

General Items

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Below is a list of general items to consider packing for your Trafalgar holiday:

• Camera/memory cards

• Spare batteries/charger

• Medications & prescriptions

• Power plug adapters/ converter

• Toiletries • Collapsible umbrella

• Insect repellent

• Sunscreen

• Travel sewing kit

• Pocket calculator

• Plastic bags

• Travel alarm clock

• Water bottle

• Sunglasses (screw top lid)

• Sachets of washing powder

• Money belt or holster Essentials

• Passport (& Visas)

• Travel insurance policy

• Trafalgar documents

• Airline tickets

• Credit cards/pre-loaded currency cards

Tip:  Only take the essential identifiers like your drivers license and just two credit cards  in your wallet or purse – one to carry, another to be locked in your hotel room safe.

 

Budgeting

money

Trafalgar itineraries include many features that will save you money on your trip, including many highlight visits and sightseeing, as well as meals and entertainment. For personal items such as souvenirs, gifts, taxi fares, laundry and gratuities, we suggest you allow €9-€11 per day in Europe and £8-£10 per day in the UK.

 

Meals

meal

Lunches are usually not included in your Trafalgar trip and individual requirements vary, but we suggest you allow €10/£9 per person per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, allow €25-€30/£22-£30 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately €2-€3/£1.50-£2.50 each.

Delightful Discounts for the New Year!

The chaos of Christmas can be exhausting at this time of year what with all the stress over present buying and food preparing, not to mention the the school nativity plays and the need to make your child some sort of half decent outfit to wear!

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It’s hardly surprising that come January people are turning their attention to something a bit more exotic or different to look forward to.

It’s also why many people start to look into booking their holidays for the year ahead and even start looking while still on their Christmas holiday.

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The good news is that there are plenty of bargains to be had if you look around a bit.

Trafalgar Tours are specialists in escorted coach tours and have a great deal on at the moment that offers 10% off selected European coach tours if you pay the full amount by the end of January.

Trafalgar Special Offers

Save 10% on Trafalgar 2016 Europe Tours.

Pay in full by 29 January

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Trafalgar Tour Coach 2005

European Supreme 2016

Classic favourites meet the roads less discovered, to give a complete view of Europe’s many faces, from well-known characters Rome and Paris, to the lesser known personalities and secrets places of Be…  read more»

  • Lasting for 29 Days
  • Prices Starting From £146 per day
From£4225

 

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Insight Vacations also offer a similar deal on some of their outstanding tours, including  the wonderful ‘European Breakaway (2016)’ tour.

Insight Vacations coach

European Breakaway (Summer 2016)

A sensational sojourn designed to capture the very essence of Europe in a short period of time. Travel from the canals of Amsterdam to the Swiss Alps and elegant boulevards of Paris. Tour Pace – Livel…  read more»

  • Lasting for 8 Days
  • Prices Starting From £194 per day

From

£1550

 

Another great saving can be made when you book with  CIE  Tours.

 

2016 Early Booking Discount

Save 10% (up to £600 per couple) on any 2016 escorted coach tour of Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales departing in 2016. Book and pay the standard deposit per person by December 31st, 2016.

 

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CIECoach750

Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland

Starts and ends in London  read more»

  • Lasting for 24 Days
  • Prices Starting From £128 per day

From

£3069

Great saving on fantastic holidays so don’t delay and get that bargain now before they’ve all gone !

Grand Group Getaways!

Ever fancied taking the whole family away on a big grand European tour?  Not just immediate family, but whole generations of relatives as well! Be it your own parents, grandparents or uncles and aunties, travelling and experiencing some of the wonderful and facinating countries waiting to be explored.

 Travelling in a group can also save you money. For example, if you travel with Trafalgar Tours or Insight Vacations, you could save 5% for a group of  5 – 8 people on the LAND-only portion of your holiday. Even better, if nine or more guests travel together,  one traveller qualifies for a 50%* discount off the LAND-only portion of the holiday. In a group of 16 guests, one traveller qualifies for 100%* discount off the LAND-only portion of the holiday- WOW!

If you want to try visiting a few European countries or just stick to one, the choice is amazing as there are numerous travel companies wanting to make your wish come true – without all the hassle of having to plan things yourself! Take in a glimpse of Europe on a tour that lasts a week or try something longer for a much grander holiday.

The choices are endless and it’s not only Europe that wants your company, America and Canada also call for some extensive exploration in their vast landscapes of diverse cultures, breathtaking National Parks and stunning Canadian Rockies.

 

Boat Trip to Riva del Garda and Malcesine

It was a warm morning in late September 2013 when I set out for Riva del Garda. I waved goodbye to my wife Sue and our dog Coco as we did not possess the required muzzle to bring Coco on board.  So it was a day trip on my own. The fast ferry was covered on the top deck, but not enclosed at the sides. Going out this morning it was a little cold once the ferry got up to cruising speed.

Lake Garda

Setting out for Riva del Garda

We called at three ports on the way including Limone. Riva and Malcesine are both much more commercial than Gorgnano, but have more of a centre you can walk around exploring. They both have old castles to visit. Riva has a tower in the square too. It’s castle is located high above the town so would be an uphill walk away, whereas Malcesine has the castle in the town. You can rent boats and pedallos in Riva.

Lake Garda
The further north in the lake you go, the more sports you see. Sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, even paragliding off the steep mountains that tower above. In Malcesine you can take a cable car ride up the mountain. The slow ferry is best in fine weather – it has an open top high up and the seats swivel to give you breath taking 360 views!  This is the Riva to Malcesine leg of the journey.

 

I took tour 8 which gives you an easy timetable to follow with approximately 2 hours in each place. It costs 25 euro with a promo card from your hotel. One of the boats incurs a supplement for going faster. You can’t pay the supplement when you buy the ticket. Due to procedure adopted by the ferry company you must pay it later, but before you board! Don’t buy the all lake day ticket unless you are really good with timetables. See the tour plans below.

Coco kept Sue company for the day at our dog friendly hotel, the Villa Sostaga A large  male dog called Lupo had arrived at the hotel and Coco was beside herself! I would recommend this hotel and restaurant for the stunning views and good service.

Enjoy tours of the entire Italian Lakes region with Trafalgar’s Highlights of the Italian Lakes  or Cosmos Magic of the Italian Lakes

 

Garda ferry tours

Find a Coach Tour that suits you!

Not sure which tour operator to book with when deciding on a coach tour?

Don’t know who provides what and when?

Just too much choice out there!

Well worry no more as I can explain what some of the leading tour operators have to offer. There is  a simple way to decide on which Tour Operator to look at first – by age group and budget.

The number game!


Massive Contiki Savings

Contiki tours are ‘fun and funky’ but only available to you if you are 18-35 years old.

It’s a shame if you are young at heart, but this policy is strictly adhered to. If there are two of you travelling as a couple, Contiki will consider you if ONE of the partners is 17 and has permission from a parent or guardian. Or 36/37 might be considered if ONE partner is 35 or under. They have a worldwide choice of destinations at competitive prices. In Europe they have tours for different budgets such as hotel, resort and camping. There is even a boat option!

The minimum age on a Trafalgar and Insight tour is 5 years but 8 years on a Cosmos tour.

The tour operators decided years ago that small children don’t enjoy coach touring and they introduced these lower age restrictions. There is no upper age restriction. Apart from the Contiki brand, the average age on most coach touring vacations is 50 with a fair mix of 20’s-40’s and retired folks. Age 50 is just an average and it’s impossible to know the exact age groups on any given tour. 

If you are in good health and can walk at a gentle pace without difficulty then coach touring is for you. If you can’t walk very far, but can manage the steps on and off the coach you will still be able to participate in most of the tour. If you use a wheelchair let the Tour Operator know about this in advance, it must be the fully collapsible, manual kind, not electric. You must also be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who is capable of helping you on and off the coach and pushing your chair.

 

 

Premium, First Class, Cost-saver or budget?

 

If you look at individual tour pages at Global CoachTours you will see a price per day for the tour. This is shown so you can easily compare the cost of one tour with another. It varies considerably from country to country. For example the cost of premium touring in Morocco is much less than in Scandinavia. For all brands, all hotel room bathrooms are private so you don’t have to leave your room!

 

Insight

Insight is a premium first class brand. Insight guests expect and receive personalized service, balanced itineraries and carefully chosen, well located first class and premium first class hotels. The coach has a maximum of 40 guests and extra legroom seating.

 

Trafalgar

Trafalgar has both a First Class and Cost Saver brand. Both provide exceptional value for money, with the same professional service of a Tour Director and Driver and comfortable coaches. First Class tours include First Class Hotels, buffet breakfast daily and more sightseeing inclusions. Cost Saver hotels are guaranteed Superior Tourist class or better and continental style breakfast daily. Dinner is provided on selected nights.

 

Cosmos

Cosmos provide  great value budget tours – hotels vary between 2-4 star, but are usually in edge-of-city locations or at airports. For European tours they include breakfast and some dinners. They don’t include any food on their USA tours.

When travelling alone,  some clients do not want to incur the expense of an additional single room supplement. However, to avoid having to pay this supplement, Contiki,  Cosmos, Insight and Trafalgar all offer a twin share option whereby you agree to share a room with someone (same sex of course) at no extra cost. As you can imagine, this is a very popular option.

 

Whichever brand of tour operator you decide to  choose, you can be sure that Global Coach Tours will look after you and handle your booking with the utmost care and personal attention.

Whatever you’re looking for, we can guarantee you’ll find a coach tour that’ll take your fancy.

 

 

Global Travel with Trafalgar Tours

Trafalgar
Offering first class independent vacations and escorted tours to almost every continent, Trafalgar tours offers custom constructed itineraries to destinations across the globe. With over 200 itineraries year-round, there is a Trafalgar tour for any globe hopper.
Skirt across the globe with week-long treks across Europe, African safaris and Asian cultural history tours. Explore the Great Barrier reef or indulge in the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean with a tour of Turkey. With guided tours, first-class accommodations and specialty journeys, Trafalgar offers everything you need for the perfect expedition.
Great for students, single travelers and families, these once-in-a-lifetime tours allow you to see the world from the inside. No longer do you have to worry about setting up airfare, hotel and sightseeing bookings on your own. With all-inclusive packages, you simply pay one price and go. If cruising is your pleasure, take a river cruise to one of hundreds of exotic ports across the world.
Traveling is an experience that will change your life. With knowledgeable tour guides that will help you navigate the globe, you will enjoy all the earth has to offer. Go diving in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, or explore ancient ruins in Mexico. See the sights of Paris in springtime or take a ride in the canals of Venice. Cruise around Alaska and see glaciers, whales and elk.
With a custom tour created just for your tastes, you will enjoy seeing the globe in grand fashion.
Book your next journey with Trafalgar tours today.

Bed hopping around the world

Double, Single, Queen, King, Twin, Triple, Quad, Suite, Full Size, Wide Double, Olympic, Super King, California King, King Long, Stateroom?
These are all terms used by bed mattress makers worldwide, but when it comes to travel, they mean different things in different countries!

We all like a nice comfy bed after a busy day sightseeing on an escorted tour of Europe or Britain.

A double bed in a London hotel

A double bed in a London hotel

At Global Coach Tours, we are always explaining the terms, so at last, here is the full explanation you wanted, but were afraid to ask.

All these terms are bed configurations within rooms, except did you spot the deliberate mistake?
The word ‘stateroom’ is not a bed, but is a type of room used on board ships and river cruise boats.

Four poster

A romantic four poster double bed in a country house hotel

A single room or bed in North America might mean ‘a room’ rather than a suite, but in Europe it means a room for one or a bed wide enough for only one person to sleep in.

Touring by coach in Britain & Europe you will get a “twin room” as standard. That’s a room with two single beds in it  (approx 90 x 190 cm aka a twin). If you are travelling as a couple, you can request a double (aka a full size bed) but as you will be staying in a variety of hotels, demand may outstrip supply in some hotels. You should get your request fulfilled for most of your tour.  The size of a double will be at least 140 x 190 cm, but you may get a larger bed in some hotels.

Put simply, request ‘double bed’ if you are travelling as a couple and like to sleep in the same bed. This means one larger/wider bed sleeping two, rather than two narrow beds sleeping one person each.

A triple room can either be a double plus a single or three singles. A quad room could be any configuration that sleeps four people, including two separate rooms.

Are you travelling alone? Touring with Trafalgar, Insight and Cosmos, single room prices apply if you want a room to yourself. If you wish to save money, on most tours you are guaranteed to be matched with a room mate of the same gender at the start of the tour and only pay the standard twin-share price. Should there be nobody to share with on day 1 of the tour, you would get a single room at no extra cost, but this doesn’t happen very often. The only way to be guaranteed a room for sole occupancy is to agree to pay the single room price when you book. 

For a definitive explanation with exact bed sizes, please see this Wikipedia article

 

 

Travel the World With Trafalgar Tours

Offering first class independent vacations and escorted tours to almost every continent, Trafalgar tours offers custom constructed itineraries to destinations across the globe. With over 200 itineraries year-round, there is a Trafalgar tour for any globe hopper.
Skirt across the globe with week-long treks across Europe, African safaris and Asian cultural history tours. Explore the Great Barrier reef or indulge in the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean with a tour of Turkey. With guided tours, first-class accommodations and specialty journeys, Trafalgar offers everything you need for the perfect expedition.
Great for students, single travelers and families, these once-in-a-lifetime tours allow you to see the world from the inside. No longer do you have to worry about setting up airfare, hotel and sightseeing bookings on your own. With all-inclusive packages, you simply pay one price and go. If cruising is your pleasure, take a river cruise to one of hundreds of exotic ports across the world.
Traveling is an experience that will change your life. With knowledgeable tour guides that will help you navigate the globe, you will enjoy all the earth has to offer. Go diving in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, or explore ancient ruins in Mexico. See the sights of Paris in springtime or take a ride in the canals of Venice. Cruise around Alaska and see glaciers, whales and elk.
With a custom tour created just for your tastes, you will enjoy seeing the globe in grand fashion.
Book your next journey with Trafalgar tours today.

How do I choose a coach tour when there’s so much choice?

We feature many brands of tour companies. There’s a simple way to decide on which brands to look at first. By age group and budget.

Contiki tours are ‘fun and funky’ but only available to you if you are 18-35 years old. We are sorry if you are young at heart, but this policy is strictly adhered to. If there are two of you travelling as couple, Contiki will consider you if ONE of the partners is 17 and has permission from a parent or guardian. Or 36/37 might be considered if ONE partner is 35 or under. They have a worldwide choice of destinations at competitive prices. In Europe they have tours for different budgets such as hotel, resort and camping.

A new arrival in the last few years is Expat Explore They are aimed at 18-40 age group, but unlike Contiki they don’t have an upper age limit. Just as long as you are fit, healthy and young at heart you are very welcome on their budget ‘comfort’ tours which are amazing value.

Can I bring my baby and my great grandma?

The minimum age is 8 with Cosmos.  With Trafalgar and Insight it’s 5 years. The tour operators decided years ago that small children don’t enjoy coach touring and they introduced these lower age restrictions. There is no upper age restriction. Apart from the Contiki brand, the average age on most coach touring vacations is 50 with a fair mix of 20s-40s and retired folks. 50 is just an average and it’s impossible to know the exact age groups on any given tour.

If you are in good health and can walk at a gentle pace without difficulty then coach touring is for you. If you can’t walk very far, but can manage the steps on and off the coach you will still be able to participate in most of the tour. If you use a wheelchair we must know about this in advance, it must be the fully collapsible, manual kind, not electric. You must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who is capable of helping you on and off the coach and pushing your chair.

Premium, First Class, CostSaver or budget?

If you look at individual tour pages you will see a price per day for the tour. This is shown so you can easily compare the cost of one tour with another. It varies considerably from country to country. For example the cost of premium touring in Morocco is much less than Scandinavia. For all brands, all hotel room bathrooms are private, you don’t have to leave your room!

Insight is a premium first class brand. Insight guests expect and receive personalized service, balanced itineraries and carefully chosen, well located first class and premium first class hotels. The coach has a maximum of 40 guests and extra legroom seating.

Trafalgar has both a First Class and CostSaver brand. Both provide exceptional value for money, with the same professional service of a Tour Director and Driver and comfortable coaches. First Class tours include First Class Hotels, buffet breakfast daily and more sightseeing inclusions. CostSaver hotels are guaranteed Superior Tourist class or better and continental style breakfast daily. Dinner is provided on selected nights.

Cosmos Tours are great value budget tours – hotels vary between 2-4 star, but are usually in edge-of-city locations or at airports. For European tours they include breakfast and some dinners. They don’t include any food on their USA tours.

CIE tours are the market leaders in tours to Ireland and are fantastic value for money

Leger Holidays are budget tours aimed squarely at the UK and special interest market, such as battlefield tours and Disneyland Paris. All other brands above are for worldwide English speaking clients.

Just You are part of the Page & Moy group and are primarily for single UK travellers. Their big selling point is ‘no single supplements’. You always get your own room. With Cosmos, Insight and Trafalgar you can avoid a single supplement by agreeing to share a room. This is a very popular option.

Allied T Pro and American Tours International (ATI) are US tour companies providing value and budget tours in the USA. Continental breakfast is included on some of their tours, but mostly there is no food included. This is not a problem as there is always a wide choice of places to eat close to most stops.

Whichever brand you choose, you can be sure that Global Coach Tours will look after you and handle your booking with the utmost care and personal attention.