SmarTours vs Great Value Vacations - 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
Value — 4.1
Guide — 4.1
Activities — 4.1
Lodging — 4.1
Transportation — 4.1
Meals — 4.1
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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The customer service was excellent

0.0 August 2019
J
Recommends
When I booked with Great Value I was nervous because it seemed too good to be true. Nope, just a really great deal. I was able to take my dream trip to Ireland and Scotland and it was within my budget. Everything was covered, my lodging, flights, and rental car. There was no hidden fees, or fine print that would nickel and dime me later on, as "good deals" usually have. I also had to change the date of my trip and the customer service was excellent and this change was simple. Thank you Great Value, I'll be using you every time I travel from now on
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Tour Great Value Vacations Company Reviews

Everything on the trip was excellent.

0.0 August 2019
E
Recommends
Everything on the trip was excellent. The only concern with any services from GVV was initial communications ahead of the trip regarding when and how we'd receive all our travel vouchers, as some were available online, and some were to be picked up in country upon arrival. It took no less than 5 phone calls to learn some vouchers would be picked up in country. The trip was outstanding, exhausting, but gloriously beautiful. It was exhausting from the perspective of moving around the country and only a few places were 2 nights. But, we knew that going in, and we wanted to see ALL of Switzerland and this certainly checked those boxes. We saw majestic mountains, we saw countless waterfalls and glaciers. The trains in Switzerland were all clean and we felt safe. The hotels were good with delicious breakfasts each morning. Overall, I would recommend GVV to a friend or family member and I would personally book another vacation with GVV.
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Tour Great Value Vacations Company Reviews

Our trip was amazing!

0.0 August 2019
A
Recommends
This was my first time planning a trip out of the country. I read previous reviews who had a good experience with Great Value Vacation. Our trip was amazing! The booking and reservations were easy to use with the vouchers provided. The staff was helpful. The only downside was I upgraded to have an automatic vehicle and they gave me a stick shift. It took a while to get sorted out but other than that I loved my trip! I will definitely use great value vacations again when I book my next trip. I opted for the additional wine tasting package and I did not regret it! I recommend adding those additional tours to get a more complete experience.
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Tour Great Value Vacations Company Reviews

Tours 58 Trips 335 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 288
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Styles
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
Service Level Budget Budget
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 50+
  • Budget
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA Rockville Centre, New York, United States
Year Established 1996 2011
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English English
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 Great Value Vacations

Great Value Vacations provides pre-packaged, competitively priced vacation itineraries suitable to all traveler types. They are owned by DH Enterprise and Associates, Inc.

What Makes Great Value Vacations Stand Out?

  • Professionally planned itineraries
  • Flight & car rental available
  • Local insights
  • Budget minded

Unlike traditional guided tours, Great Value Vacations provides professionally planned packages for independent travelers booking a vacation. Everything from flights to car rental is available through the Great Value Vacations booking process.

Self guided road trip with Great Value Vacations

Itineraries are designed by locals, so you can get a true sense of local authentic living while on your vacation.

Their packages are competitively priced, and designed by an extensive network of travel experts. You can choose from among several types of trip and their reviews speak for themselves in customer satisfaction.

Accommodations and activities are hand selected by their local experts or the “feet on the street” as they call it. They choose only the highest quality places to send you and your travel companions.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Great Value Vacations?

  • Independent planners
  • Budget travelers
  • All ages

Young woman on independent trip through Great Value Vacations

Travelers who want a fully vetted itinerary and the peace of mind that comes with having all components taken care of will love the experience of a Great Value Vacations package. Because of the great variety they have available, families, older travelers, and young professionals can all find something suitable on Great Value Vacations.

It’s important to note that these trips are not a traditional group tour or private tour, with a guide. If you are looking for a different kind of packaged pre-set itinerary with a fellow group of travelers, we recommend checking out a few different group tour companies first.

Small scandinavian european village on the water

These packages are great for independent minded travelers who still like the idea of a professionally planned itinerary, with unique experiences and activities, but plenty of free time. Great Value Vacations is also great for having all services in one place - including visa information, flight booking, hotel booking, and car rental.

Great Value Vacations is also a great options for budget travelers. They partner with various deals sites like Groupon to provide ongoing deals and specials (although the voucher system might be a bit complicated).

Top Destinations

Beautiful sunny day in Thailand

Great Value Vacations operates tours in Africa, Asia, Europe, and The Caribbean. Travel styles include everything from all inclusive resort experiences, to quaint Bed & Breakfasts, to fully escorted tours, to rail journeys.

Great Value Vacations Ireland trips are quite popular, particularly now as Ireland has remained open to travelers during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can find several different affordable independent and self drive Ireland packages through Great Value Vacations. 

Similarly, many American travelers are considering domestic travel for the next vacation. Great Value Vacations United States trips are a great choice for keeping the budget low and finding fun unique ways to explore your own backyard. 

Great Value Vacations Travel Style

  • Adventurous
  • Local culture
  • Active
  • Flexible
  • Driving

The Great Value Vacations travel style is about convenience coupled with confidence - for an unforgettable adventure. Most of their packages involve driving, and their rental car availability is comprehensive as well as a big part of the value when using a Great Value Vacations package.

Open road at sunset

Itineraries include detailed directions, all your hotel information, and other important documents are available within 30 days of your booking. You are required to print all necessary documents provided to you via their Traveler Portal.

Most packages include a few guided day tours and several activities ranging from cultural to active.  

There are several vacation types and themes to choose from that are available through Great Value Vacations. These include everything from Luxury to Self Drive Vacations (which is one of their most popular).  

Why Choose a Tour with Great Value Vacations?

Relaxing palm trees and traditional asian boat

For the ease of booking a package all in one place, Great Value Vacations is a top choice. Their packages have the propensity to be a bit standard, however given that they are created by local experts - all itineraries bring a little something special to the itinerary. You’ll definitely see the important sites, as well as get some locally immersive hidden gems.

They bring all facets of planning travel into one place, at a competitive price, taking care of all the factors that can make planning travel stressful. They have an easy to use online booking system, eliminating the need for you to take any extra steps.

It's important to note that some travelers may find the Great Value Vacations booking model a bit convaluted. They are very much geared toward budget travelers which means you can may see them listed on sites like Groupon or other deals aggregators. 

Great Value Vacations Covid-19 Travel Update

In response to the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, Great Value Vacations is currently postponing all bookings, based on the travel date, current news, and country travel policies.

This precaution is in place at least until November 2020 and will likely be extended beyond that. At this time any current bookings with Great Value Vacations remain non-refundable.

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