1. Compare costs.
Find out what's included in the tour offering: Are the hotels really in the historic heart of the city or just "centrally located?" Does the tour company sell more tours and experiences once you're on the vacation? If yes, avoid them like the plague. They do not have your interests at heart, they have their bottom line at heart! Are admissions and entrances included or do you have to pay extra? Now Journey provides a transparent itinerary with most everything included except for a handful of lunches and dinners, and your departure transfer.
2. Ask about the Local Guides.
You know that a locally guided tour can be a dream or a nightmare. It's important to know that the tour company you're considering utilizes local expert guides who are vetted — tried and true. Now Journey's guides are the créme-de-la-créme when it comes to tried and true, proven professionals who speak good English and know their subject matter.
3. Ask about how each day plays out: Is the Day Balanced? Or is it Sun-up to Sundown Activity?
Traditional, mainstream (and even some newer companies) believe maximizing each day with sun-up to sundown sightseeing and experience is what you're looking for — well, answer that question for yourself and then we recommend you find a small group tour company that maximizes your experience with a healthy, balance designed for the Modern Traveler — our tours include morning sightseeing with most afternoons at leisure. We have found this to be the perfect balance that was missing in the tour industry.
"I never felt rushed or crowded and had pity on the other tour groups following their tour director around like puppy dogs. I just felt better with my decision to be with the friendly professionals at Journey who didn't take themselves so seriously. It just felt better. Vive la Journey!"
We agree with the sentiments of this traveler: Journey really is a better feel for the modern traveler.
4. How Small is Small? Or, How Big is Small?
Since the Pandemic of 2020 arrived, tour companies across the board launched 'small group tours' as their primary offering. Well, we all know 'the devil is in the details.' One major tour operator who has been around for nearly a 100 years offers "small group tours...of 24 to 30 guests." We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that isn't a small group. In college, we learned small group communication begins to suffer after a group exceeds around 16 to 20 people. That sounds about right to us and that's why most of our groups average 8 to 16 guests. It's important and it matters.
5. How does the Small Group Travel?
This is also keenly important. Is your "small group" transported from city to city in a Big Bus? Remember, big motorcoaches cannot access the small villages and hill top towns of Italy and France very easily (and most of the time are restricted). Find out how many hours you're sitting down traveling from place to place — with Now Journey's 11-Day Classic Great Cities of Italy we're on our micro-coach (sits about 24 seats onboard for our small groups) for about 5 hours during the ENTIRE journey! That's amazing and that's why Journey is Different.