Tours in Review

My wife and I took a group of 15 friends on a tour of Eastern Europe, Oct. 21-Nov. 8, ’03. We planned “extended stays” so that we could spend some quality time in the cities we wanted to visit; we also do not like to repack every day. We stayed in Warsaw, POLAND, for three nights; Kraków for four nights, and Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC, and Budapest, HUNGARY, for five nights each.

We chose Grand Circle Travel (347 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210; phone 800/221-2610) because it best fit our needs. Grand Circle did a wonderful job, provided a great tour director and picked top-quality...


We highly recommend the France-and-Italy opera trip offered by the International Council for Cultural Exchange, or ICCE (426 South Country Rd., Ste. 1, Brookhaven, NY 11719; phone 800/690-4223, e-mail

On our trip, April 19-May 1, ’03, there were only four of us plus our excellent trip leader, David Shengold, who was very knowledgeable about music and art and spoke both Italian and French. The 2004 price of this tour, including air from New York, is $4,598.

We arrived in Milan on Easter Sunday and checked into the Starhotel Rosa, a very pleasant 4-star...


Pannir of Sayang Holidays (220 Montgomery St., Ste. 469, San Francisco, CA 94104; phone 888/472-9264) did a fantastic job making all the arrangements for our Viet-Nam/Laos trip, Dec. 3, ’03-Jan. 2, ’04. The price from Savannah, Georgia, was $3,600 each — a good price, considering the considerably higher cost of traveling during the Christmas season. We had a lavish buffet breakfast daily.

The food and service on our fantastic Singapore Airlines flight were second to none. We had an overnight in Bangkok, THAILAND, at the Amari Airport Hotel — convenient and one of the nicest airport...

Beautiful karst formations in Ha Long Bay, 60 kilometers north of Hai Phong, Vie

The two of us took a private, customized trip to Viet-Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma, Feb. 13-March 16, ’03, arranged through Ceylon Express International (9542 Dumbreck Dr., Huntington Beach, CA 92626; phone 800/423-9566, e-mail They used Indochina Services as the ground operator.

For both of us, the cost of our 32-day trip, including international air, eight flights between the four countries and everything else except lunches and tips to the guides, was $12,725 — about $225 per person per day (discounting the overseas air travel days). Visas cost a total...


I took a 20-day custom tour, Jan. 20-Feb. 2, ’03, arranged for me by Ceylon Express International (Huntington Beach, CA). The entire cost of the trip, including international and domestic air, hotels, breakfasts, my own car and driver and English-speaking guides in each city, was about $6,300.

Among highlights was Madurai, where a visit to the Meenakshi Temple is a must. In Periyar, bird-watching by boat is the thing to do. In Kanya Kumari, at the southern tip of India, I toured by boat the monuments built on rocks offshore and visited the temple to the goddess Kanya Kumari.



Our trip was arranged by JMG Tibet Tours (6001 Falls Circle Dr., Ste. 301, Lauderhill, FL 33319; phone 866/548-4238, e-mail

My wife, daughter and I were escorted on our 18-day tour of Tibet and Xi’an, China, by Jeff Garrett, JMG’s owner. Our tour cost $2,495 for the Tibet portion and $630 for the three of us to take the side trip to Xi’an. The April ’04 tour started and ended in Beijing, and our international air from Detroit to Bejing was $893 per person from

Mr. Garrett accompanies all tours and has extensive knowledge of...


I took a group of my college students on the 9-day/7-night “Braveheart” tour of Scotland with Passports Educational Travel Institute (389 Main St., Spencer, MA 01562-1908; phone 508/885-4600), visiting Edinburgh, the Highlands and Glasgow. The $2,300 price (May ’04) included airfare on USAir from Denver, 3-star hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and dinner, transfers, tour and admission fees and travel insurance.

Although this company’s target market is student travelers, I feel that it is worth sharing our experiences with ITN readers who may be planning to conduct a student...


Scotland We took a 3-day/2-night tour of the Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye in May ’04 with Rabbies Trail Burners (207 High St., Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland; phone 011-44-131-226-3133). We had a great trip.

The cost was £99 (about $182) per person for their transportation. Rabbies will arrange accommodations on Skye according to how much you want to spend. Meals are additional.

The scenery and stories were made all the better by our guide, Alexander Beaton (Ally), and this side trip became the highlight of our 10-day stay in Scotland.

The 16-passenger...