Trafalgar Travel Talk Show – Ottawa, Ontario

Trafalgar Travel Talk Show – Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, my wife and I toured Italy with a Trafalgar tour group. Not surprisingly, therefore, we received an invite to their “Travel Talk Show” which took place this evening in Ottawa. In an hour and half presentation, three individuals from Trafalgar outlined the many benefits of traveling with Trafalgar tours, showed some highlights of the European tour packages and provided a bit of advice on how to prepare for a tour. Bring only 1/2 as many clothes but twice as much money, was the sage bit of advice that got the most laughs :-).

From our experience, the latter part of the above advice becomes more and more important as all tour companies introduce bare bones packages and more flexible packages to appeal to travelers interested in low price or the freedom to “do their own thing” within the framework of an escorted tour.  Where once, everyone on an escorted tour paid the same amount, and all went on the same tour each day, these modified tour packages will provide you a bus from point A to point B and a hotel room for the night as part of the package and a guided tour on some or most days, but then the traveler will be faced with multiple decisions about whether they will sign up for any one or all of the ‘optional’ tours or special dinners that may be offered by the tour director while enroute.  As always, it is a good thing to read the fine print, know what precisely is included in the initial price of the tour package and what will likely be an add-on. Remember – do your homework and compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges as best you can when choosing your tour provider and tour package.

The same applies to the all-inclusive resort package which can, in fact, be all-inclusive if you don’t intend to do anything more than eat, sleep and sunbath within the confines of the chosen resort. Realize, though, that you will be offered the opportunity to look at an à la carte selection of optional Beyond the resort walls once you arrive at your all-inclusive destination. As tour companies continue to design a seemingly ever-increasing potpourri of tour packages, remember that “experience the sight of hot air balloons drifting over the Serengeti” is much different experience than actually being in that hot air balloon drifting over the Serengeti. Most African safari tours offer the chance at the former but in most instances the flight is an add-on.   In this ‘new world of travel with freedom’, we find that it is still a “buyer beware” world, and whether planning a vacation through a travel agent or dealing directly with a tour company, remember to bring along enough money or credit cards to be able to do what you want to do on your trip.  Remember, also, that payment with plastic is easy in a foreign country but payment back home still is an obligation and use caution with your plastic.

Since Graeme and I have been to many of the locations that Trafalgar Travel Director, Nick Howard, was showing on-screen, I was enjoying mentally comparing his images and presentation style to my images and presentation style in the travelogues that I do.

For me, it was interesting to see how the subject photographs appeared very similar to mine in some instances, while in other instances, the images appeared quite different due to differences in time of day, focal length of lenses used and slight differences in composition or slightly different locations from which they were taken. Their image of the Eiffel Tower was from the first story of the tower, for instance, and offered a completely different view than my image of the Eiffel Tower which I took with a telephoto lens from atop the Arc de Triomphe. In similar fashion, I was interested to see how their image of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland using a wide angle lens appeared so much different than my images featuring a much narrower field of view or pointing in a different direction. Not better nor worse, just totally different and for a photographer, interesting to observe and study.

Graeme’s experience on a Trafalgar sister company tour went well as he mentions in his Contiki European Inspiration blog entries (which he has been retroactively posting as time permits – many more still to come).

Our Trafalgar tour of Italy, however, was not as optimal but then it isn’t every day that your state-of-the-art tour bus hits a brick in the middle of the road and you can’t fault the tour company when nasty weather forces cancellation of a much anticipated boat ride to the Isle of Capris! Having two things go completely wrong in a space of only a few days is probably every tour director’s worst nightmare and we were unlucky enough to be on that tour when that happened!




About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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