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Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

Santa Barbara...
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Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

According to the Office of Tourism in Aix en Provence, there are about 7 companies that offer day trips from Aix en Provence. Be warned that all of them are Escorted Tours, meaning that they basically offer transportation and a superficial narration along the way. What's more, they're all quite pricey.

What I thought I was getting was a "Guided Tour," meaning that a certified guide drives you to a destination and personally shows you around. Instead, you're dropped off at a central location and told to be back at a certain time. You're on your own!

Further, some companies are unreliable and may not show up. Make sure that the Office of Tourism or your hotel confirms the arrangements. Even so, the drivers are sloppy with paperwork and may pick up the wrong people instead of you.

Next, some companies may promise "no more than 8 people in a minivan," but you can wind up with a group of around 20--yet, there's no reduction in price.

Finally, keep in mind that tours cannot be cancelled. Best advice is NOT to book far in advance. Book a day or two in advance, through the Office of Tourism.

All in all, while the guided walking tours in town are worthwhile, think twice about the escorted day trips.

Vaison-la-Romaine...
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1. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

How do you know that just about all of these companies are either unreliable, don't show up, do sloppy paperwork etc.? Did you do tours with all of them? And re booking just a day or two inadvance - try that in high season and you will never get to take part in a tour. If you had a bad experience, just name the company but don't give all a bad name!

Antibes, France
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2. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

As a rule of thumb tours in 8 seater minivans will cost around 50 euro for a half day and 100 euro for a full day. ( I'm sure these vans are only licenced for a maximum of 8 and any more would be illegal). Tours in normal buses range from 25 euro for half to 50 or so for a full day - that is usually a 56 seater coach. Lunch is sometimes included as an optional extra adding to cost. As usual in France tipping is unnecessary.

I am afraid that the general experience certainly on the Cote d'Azur is that you are dropped somewhere and left to your own devices. In some cases this is a blatant marketing operation such as the trips which bring you to perfume factories. Commentary seem to be a hit and miss affair usually provided by 'guides for whom English is of the strange international sort that will hopefully be understood by travellers of several nationalities.

Ed

3. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

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Santa Barbara...
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4. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

I did not say "just about all companies." I said "some companies." My experience is with two companies, but I was told stories about mix-ups from fellow travelers who were waiting in front of the Office of Tourism, the typical pick-up location.

I agree that if you book just a day or two beforehand in high season, there's a chance you won't get exactly what you wanted, but if you book far in advance, there's a chance you'll have to cancel, for one reason or another. Decide what's best for you, keeping in mind that trips can cost somewhere between E69 and E115 per person.

As far as how many passengers will be on the trip, press the Office of Tourism for specific limits that will be placed on trips booked through them.

The real question here is what you expect from the tours. If you want a licensed tour guide to accompany you through a particular site, make sure that's what you're getting, instead of a driver who drops you off and leaves you on your own. If your preference is to be on your own and to pay significantly less, consider day trips by public transportation, such as bus or train.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

Really not sure why "tours" are necessary if you can read a bus / train schedule and a guide book or two.

6. Re: Difference between "Escorted Tours" and "Guided Tours."

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Removed on: 16 October 2014, 06:21
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