SmarTours vs Cosmos - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.3
Guide — 4.3
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 4.3
Transportation — 4.3
Meals — 4.3
Recent Reviews

Beauiful Croatia

0.0 July 2019
M
Recommends
This was our first Bus Tour. While we did enjopy the spots we visited, we felt that there were too many towns and not enough time in each, necessitating more time on the bus. Nevertheless the value of the tour is undeniable. The Tour director Jon, was extremely professional and he was a huge positive on the trip. The topography of Croatia was spectacular, the Sea and mountain views were gorgeous. Lake Bled, the Postojna Caves, Opatija/Plitvice Lakes, Debrovnik, the Roman Ruins, Zagreb were wonderful. The hotels were all clean and rooms were comfortable. Unfortunately my partner Barbara fell and injured her face and broke her glasses on the way to Debrovnik. Jon was extremely concerned offered to find a doctor ()which Barbara declined) but Jon took the broken glasses to an occulist who temporarliy repaired the frames. Two of our fellow travelors who were Nurses took care of Barbara after the accident.
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Exceeded my Expectations!

0.0 July 2019
K
Recommends
For someone who usually plans every detail of my travels...going on a group tour was not something I relished. Plus, I knew that Smartours was considered a “budget” travel company, so my expectations weren’t that high. However, other than a few minor inconveniences, this trip exceeded my expectations. The magical African landscapes and its kind, welcoming people made this adventure one of the best vacations I’ve been on. Pros: Well-paced itinerary that gave us the opportunity for some free time to plan our own activities, smallish group (25) of lovely, considerate, fellow travelers (we were in the minority of “younger” folks and we are in our 50s), excellent included tours, mostly lovely hotels/lodges, amazing breakfasts/dinners, included porter services at all stops, Smartours CEO personally responded quickly to our inquiry regarding booking cost concern, and our delightful and attentive guide Jonathan. Cons: 6 hour scheduled layover, most uncomfortable 14+ hour flight ever via South African Airways, trip extension Vic Falls guide was very personable, but not very attentive, Smartours sends trip info only 2 weeks prior to departure (would love to have had this info sooner), several of the optional tours were mediocre. But honestly...if you’re a frequent traveler...these concerns are pretty minor. I will definitely be recommending the South Africa Tour to friends for value/quality and hope that ST keeps its word about limiting group sizes to under 25. I will definitely use them again in the future!
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Wonderful experience, well-deigned by SmarTours

0.0 May 2019
R
Recommends
The Treasures of Portugal trip focuses on the highlights of the cultural and artistic heritage of this fascinating country. The chosen destinations and sites rarely disappointed, and there was always something awe-inspiring at each stop. The tour provides a great balance between programmed and free time, allowing you to see what you want or find time to explore on your own. The fact that few dinners and no lunches were provided afford you the opportunity to discover the places and tastes that intrigue you as you discover the variety of offerings available in each location.

The destinations chosen are smart and live up to the promise that these are the country's treasures. Our guide was brilliant - she knew well the backstory of the locations and the significance of the art and architecture. Each part of the tour was a lesson in history, presented with excitement and passion. Her adoration of the history and culture of her countrymen was palpable and infectious, and gave the touring experience much added value.

Well planned, organized, balanced, affordable, and utterly enjoyable. Very highly recommended.
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Great COSMOS value

0.0 November 2016
t
Recommends
I am a budget solo female traveler. I have traveled with COSMOS for about 20 years in the past, all over Europe, Switzerland, Turkey, etc. The best thing is that I never have to pay extra for single supplement when I room with someone. If Cosmos can not find a room mate for you, you end up having the whole room. Because of this feature, I was able to travel everywhere by my self with reasonable price. Cosmos always provides great value for the bucks. I would do it again. I highly recommend to you all.
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Tours 58 Trips 426 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 187
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Styles
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
Service Level Budget Budget
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Budget
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA Littleton, Colorado, USA
Year Established 1996 1960
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
About SmarTours

Founded in 1996, smarTours promises its customers the “Best Travel Bargains” by offering mostly all-inclusive guided tours throughout much of the world.

What Makes SmarTours Stand Out?

  • Airfare included
  • Affordable trips
  • Numerous ways to save
  • Local guides
  • Destinations around the world

Japan tour with Smartours

SmarTours offers affordable tours along with great itineraries. Included in the price of all their tours is international airfare from the U.S., first-class hotels, sightseeing excursions, and English-speaking local guides.

SmarTours draws a large repeat business, taking travelers to such far-flung destinations as Thailand, Morocco, Japan, Peru, Patagonia, India, and Australia.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with SmarTours?

  • Budget travelers
  • Social travelers
  • History and culture lovers

Travelers who love traveling and care about experiencing the destination above all else - tourist sites, history, and culture - will love the feel of a SmarTours trip.

These tours are definitely for the budget minded - SmarTours offers numerous deals and specials throughout the year, and provides many other ways you can save money as well, including referring your friends and being a repeat SmarTours traveler.

London england with smartours

Trips are comfortable and well guided, if not luxury or especially unique in tone. Airfare is included, which is a major selling point for SmarTours travelers.

SmarTours is perfect for the traveler who wants to get the most out of their travel experience, in terms of inclusions and time spent exploring the sites, both with a guide and with free time. If you are looking for a more cultivated, personalized experience, the SmarTours focus on keeping costs low doesn’t always allow for this. That said, this is budget travel that strives to appeal to a wider range.

SmarTours caters to all ages that are looking for good prices. They are largely popular amongst middle aged, 50+ travelers, and families.

Top Destinations

sand dune in Africa

SmarTours travels all over the world, including Africa, Asia, South America and Cuba, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Diverse itineraries are available in each destination.

SmarTours Travel Style

  • Large coaches
  • River and small ship cruises

Except for its cruise offerings -- primarily river cruises as well as Greek Island and Galapagos cruises -- transportation is generally by bus. Group sizes can reach 40 and beyond, but may also be smaller depending on the popularity of the trip. SmarTours will design custom trips for groups with at least 25-30 travelers.

Solo hiker on trip with Smartours

Accommodations are between value and premium, comfortable with a step above basic amenities. You won’t spend much time in your hotel, as SmarTours makes the focus about the travel experiences on the ground. They care about ensuring that you have as much time as possible to explore with the guide and on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With SmarTours?

SmarTours is a complete bargain package for budget minded travelers. If you are looking for an unbeatable value, don’t mind a large group and want tours focused on exotic destinations, then SmarTours is a perfect choice for you.

About Cosmos

Cosmos promises to “turn your travel dreams into reality” by offering affordable tours in several parts of the world. Part of the Globus group of travel brands, Cosmos has been running escorted tours for five decades since the 1960s. It touts its clout with hotels and other travel providers as a way of keeping down costs, with savings passed on to their customers. Most expenses are included in the tours, though you may be on your own for some meals and optional excursions.

Cosmos started out offering value-priced European coach tours for budget-minded travelers, and now has added North American, South American, and some Middle East and North African destinations as well. Religious-themed tours of southern Europe and Israel as well as holiday season tours are all part of the mix.

The company emphasizes that when you tour Europe, for example, you’ll stay like Europeans do, eat like Europeans do, and “share the European view of Europe.” That generally means comfortable but not luxury hotels, well-chosen neighborhood restaurants, varied means of transportation, and guided sightseeing of all the “must-see” sites, with extended stays in key cities. Cosmos also offers plenty of free time to explore on your own, a way of personalizing your group tour a bit.  

 

 

 

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"I'm bored' is a useless thing to say. You live in a great, big, vast world that you've seen none percent of."
Louis C.K.
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