Stretch your vacation dollars with group travel

Group travel has certainly changed since the very first recorded escorted tour: an 1840’s train trip of a few miles through central England to attend a temperance meeting!

In fact, today’s choices have never been better. There’s a tour for every temperament, age group, interest, and budget. Luxury motor coach tours like those from Trafalgar Tours and Insight Vacations can be as leisurely as you choose, and some incorporate train and boat travel. “The big advantage to group travel, be it on land or at sea, is value-for-money,” agree group tour specialists Kathy Loewen and Astrid Murphy of Carlson Wagonlit Travels Winnipeg office.

“The savings are tremendous compared with independent travel,” adds Murphy. “If people don’t want to mix, they don’t have to — but it’s worthwhile to buy the group rate for air, hotel, and/or cruise, then they can do their own thing on arrival.” And nowadays, as few as 10 people traveling together can often expect additional savings and amenities.

Group travel offers companionship and peace of mind

A group tour may be “just the ticket” for you if you want to pursue a favourite hobby or meet like-minded people when you travel. For example, one popular tour for winter 2010 offered by CTW is the Book Lovers’ Cruise, departing February 4th, 2010 for 16-nights aboard the Coral Princess, sailing the Panama Canal. Guests will have opportunities for gatherings and small group discussions with others who love to talk books, all lead by book review editor Morley Walker.

So what else happens with groups?

“Typically, a group is hosted” says Loewen. “The cruise or tour host is provided with all the details of the group. They will usually set up a hospitality desk onboard the cruise ship or at the hotel, and are accessible from the day you arrive until the day you leave to return home. Optional group functions such as get-acquainted cocktail receptions and group dining are arranged. Group touring offers the chance to meet new friends, and offers peace of mind, as there is always someone to look out for you”.

Autumn cruising

This fall CWT is offering two hosted Mediterranean Cruises on board Celebrity Cruises stunning new ships, the Celebrity Solstice and the Celebrity Equinox. On October 8th, 2009, CWT’s National Cruise Manager, Karen Irvine, will host a group aboard the Equinox for a 15-night voyage visiting Italy, Greece, Israel and Egypt. During the two-day stop in Egypt, the tour includes an exclusive 2-day inland journey to Luxor visiting tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, the Pyramids at Giza and other major sites.

“Group touring offers peace of mind”, says Kathy Loewen. “You can share your experience with others traveling with you or be as independent as you wish and take advantage of the added values offered. But the icing on the cake is knowing there is someone there you can call on if you need to.”

Photo © Galina Barskaya

Carlson WagonLit Travel logoBook either of these 2009 hosted Mediterranean cruise departures, and you will receive an exclusive offer of $200 savings per couple! Book any other CWT Fall 2009 hosted departure by June 30th, 2009 and save $100 per couple! Call your Carlson Wagonlit Travel counsellor today at 1-800-CARLSON (227-5766) to find out more about these or other exciting offers, visit and sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter on the latest offers and specials!