Longtime Global Escapes clients Vernon and Suzan Meentemeyer asked our founder, Ella, to help them plan a guided trip through France and Spain in late 2014. Because Ella had worked with the couple for so long, she had come to know Vernon and Suzan’s likes and dislikes, as well as their travel style. She knew that a guided tour with Trafalgar would be perfect for this couple, who loves to explore culture with local experts, but who wants to do so as efficiently as possible.
“We had a great experience with Trafalgar,” Suzan said. “We flew into Paris, and it was so wonderful. It was my first time in Paris, and it brings back a lot of great memories. I was so glad we went on our trip.”
The Meentemeyers spent several days in Paris, where they explored the monuments and landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, as well as local neighborhoods, squares, shops and museums. From Paris, they traveled through the Loire Valley to Lyon, Avignon, and all the chateaus and castles in between. They arrived in Nice, where they spent a couple of days strolling the Promenade and enjoying splendid scenery along the Cote d’Azur. An excursion into Monaco and Monte Carlo revealed a beautiful casino built by Charles Garnier in the 19th Century.
On into Spain! The Meentemeyers’ Trafalgar Tour followed the coast, then continued through the dramatic Provencal landscape, which has provided inspiration for myriad artists such as Van Gogh and Cezanne. They passed through the foothills of the Pyrenees, and on into Barcelona.
The Meentemeyers, who have done a lot of traveling on their own through the years, enjoyed the ease of a Trafalgar Tour for several reasons:
Rather than spending hours researching places to stay and things to do in France and Spain, one call to Global Escapes was all that it took for the Meentemeyers to ensure that their trip would encompass all that they wanted to do and see while in Europe.
Although many people in Europe speak English, Suzan noted how helpful it was to have a guide in places where she and Vernon didn’t speak the local language.
When you travel with a Trafalgar guided tour, Suzan said, you are on a time schedule. You can see all the things that you want to see in a quick and efficient manner. Suzan enjoyed that Trafalgar had prearranged all of their tours so that they could bypass lines in highly touristy areas. For example, at the Eiffel Tower, they stood in a small line of 50 people for a few minutes rather than a line of 300 people for half a day.
“If you were to book your own trip to Paris, you would have to decide whether it would be worth half a day to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. If you would like to fit in other sights, you might end up looking at the tower from below and taking some pictures in front of it, then moving on to something else. With Trafalgar tours, we were able to go to the top quickly and still had plenty of time to enjoy other activities. It was very efficient.”
Suzan added that deciding where to eat when traveling often can be a time-waster. When meals are planned—which, with Trafalgar, a good portion are—you have more time to enjoy the sights.
There is a main tour guide on each Trafalgar Tour, but there also are local tour guides who are experts in their area at each stop. The Meentemeyers particularly enjoyed their local tour guide in Paris, who was an expert on The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
- Cost Savings
Suzan noted that some people may think that guided tours are more expensive than going it alone. However, when she and Vernon factored in the cost of dining throughout Europe, they quickly saw that they saved quite a bit of money by doing a Trafalgar tour.
“In general, people have no idea how expensive food can cost when they travel. All the meals in the Trafalgar tour aren’t covered, but enough are that it makes a big difference,” she said.
Suzan and Vernon appreciated the large breakfasts each day, as well as a good number of dinners, that were all included in the price.
Overall, the Meentemeyers thoroughly enjoyed their experience with Trafalgar and would recommend the company to people who want to enjoy a stress-free, convenient, efficient vacation with people who are experts in the area.
“There are a lot of people who say, ‘Oh, I would never do a guided tour. I want to do it all on my own. I don’t want to be on someone else’s schedule.’ We used to say that, too!” Suzan said. “Having done this Trafalgar guided vacation now, we enjoyed it very much and thought it was a wonderful experience.”