SmarTours vs Perillo Tours - 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 — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
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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Not worth your money

0.0 July 2019
J
Does Not Recommend
My Mom and I had the opportunity to visit Italy this summer on the 9 day Rome and Amalfi Coast Tour. Italy is a beautiful country and everyone needs to see and experience it before they die. However, I would NOT recommend Perillo Tours (PT). Here’s why: Introductions of group members were not done at the orientation. There are still people on the tour that I did not meet or know their names. And, we were only given the first couple of days of our itinerary, which was VERY broad and lacking detail. I am still in shock that it was HAND-WRITTEN and lacking so much important information. For example, it would say that Breakfast was at 7 and we would depart at 7:30, we would tour the Coliseum and the Roman Forum, have lunch, and we would return to hotel at 5:30. I had so many questions: Where is breakfast located? Where do we meet to depart as a group? How long is each part of the tour? How long will we be on our feet/in direct sunlight? Will bathrooms be accessible on the tour? What time is lunch? Where is lunch? How long do we have to eat lunch? In my opinion, these are valid questions that should have been written down on the itinerary that was given. I will say that some of these questions were addressed verbally, but it would have been more relaxing for me to have at least had approximate plans written down on the itinerary. In our orientation, we were told that water was provided on every bus. NOT TRUE. I asked for a water bottle and was told that only the bus ride to Amalfi would have water bottles. So yes, you guessed it. My Mom and I went most of the day without water. This was frustrating knowing that we had perfectly good water bottles in our room and that we were misinformed during orientation. I think that it is also important to note that on the tours you don’t always get to jump the lines. At all of the tour sites, we still had to get in the “tour group line” and wait our turn to go. Most of the time, we were standing in direct sunlight for 30+ minutes. Specifically, while we were waiting to tour the Blue Grotto at the Isle of Capri, we had to wait in a rocky boat for 45+ minutes. Keep in mind the conditions. It’s hot, humid, loud, and the fumes from ALL the boats is almost unbearable. Then the captain of the boat randomly decided to jump out of line and move our boat closer to the cliffs for some reason. This area of the water was full of waves and not an ideal spot to anchor a boat. Accurate time frames or time estimates are almost nonexistent with PT. Not only is this confusing and not helpful, but this was a trend of the entire tour. No one knew any answers and it almost felt like we were being misinformed or dare I say lied to. My Mom and I decided to do one of the optional tour add ons. We understood that it was at an additional fee, but thought it would be worth it. Long story short, it was not. This tour started at 2, so we had a short window to rest, eat lunch, and regroup. We were told the walking tour would be 2 hours. It ended up being 3.5 hours in the heat of the day, direct sunlight, with no bathroom breaks, and only two stops at fountains to refill our water bottles, per my requests. At this point, my Mom becomes ill. She is light headed, nauseated, and no longer able to walk at the pace of the group (probably due to the heat, lack of water, and fast-pace of the tour, but that’s just a wild hunch). I informed the tour guide of this and he responded loudly in front of other group members, “Well, what do you want me to do?!” I suggested that my Mom and I end the tour early and head back to the hotel in a cab. He told me that this was a pedestrian only part of town and that we would have to walk to find a cab pick-up area. He also made it very clear that PT would NOT pay for the cab ride. I was shocked to say the least that he did not seem to care that my Mom was sick and did not offer to help us in any way. When we arrived back at the hotel, we were given less than an hour to rest and get ready. So at this point, we had been up and moving in direct sunlight, with very little water for about 8 hours. Sounds relaxing and fun, right? My Mom was still feeling ill and was not able to go out for dinner with the rest of the group, so I asked PT to please send a meal from room service, so she could have dinner. PT would not accommodate this request because hotel room service was too expensive. Instead, they sent up a bucket of ice to our room. Confused about this? Yeah, we were too. At the restaurant, I was handed a to go bag of food to give to my Mom, but we didn’t arrive back to the hotel until 10 PM and in my opinion, mozzarella cheese and prosciutto was the last thing my Mom needed to eat that late. If a person cannot go out to dinner because they are ill from the tour, then room service should be provided by PT to help them feel better. I have so many more things to add, but not enough character space to do so. In summary, do NOT book with PT!
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Fantastic

0.0 May 2019
A
Recommends
Loved, loved, loved our "South & Sicily" tour! Fantastic, knowledgeable and informative professional guide (Lorenza). My only regret is that my trip is over! Also, I would have liked to have stayed another day/night in beautiful Taormina. Thank you Perillo for taking care of everything for us resulting in a trip of a lifetime that we shall never forget!! We had a wonderful time.
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Tour Perillo Tours Company Reviews

Never again! Perillo is sliding downward quickly.

0.0 February 2019
M
Does Not Recommend
No on-site management. The staff has no supervision.
Hotel is moldering and crumbling. Serious personal safety issues of several kinds. Doors are left unlocked all night, my room door bolt was broken.
I had some very unsettling experiences in a hotel and Perillo tried to ignore me and make me go away.
Extremely inept, defensive, inexperienced and unprofessional staff.
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Tours 58 Trips 8 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 260
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Local Specialist
Trip Styles
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
Service Level Budget Standard
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, USA
Year Established 1996 1945
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 Perillo Tours

Founded in 1945, and headquartered in New Jersey, Perillo was a pioneering company in the guided travel industry. 

What Makes Perillo Stand Out?

  • Destination expertise
  • Well-balanced itineraries
  • Generous and satisfying meals
  • First-rate hotels

Perillo has been a name in the tourism industry since the 1940s, known for operating tours of Italy. Today Italy is still their main focus, though they have expanded to offer limited departures in Hawaii, Greece, and Costa Rica.

They provide well thought out and classic itineraries, showcasing the traditional sights, nicely augmented with local insider knowledge. Perillo is a classic tour company, offering several trip options including custom tours, destination weddings, and traditional escorted group trips. On the trip, you’ll benefit from their extensive experience and destination knowledge.  

Montepulciano Italy Tuscany tour Perillo

They have a dedicated Italy brand, “Perillo Italy Tours”, which expands on their long legacy providing Italy guided experiences, as well as a “Learning Journeys” brand. Their learning journeys travel to many more destinations, and cover a very wide range of interests, including certification classes for certain skills.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Perillo?

  • Older travelers 
  • Solo female travelers
  • Those interested in classic, custom, and themed tours

All ages are welcome on Perillo tours, however their type of travel may be more enjoyed by older travelers looking for a calm, fully managed tour. Perillo is a bit old fashioned. They do one thing and do it well, and haven’t changed much in the 60 years that they’ve been around. So if you’re looking for a traditional guided tour, busy but not with too many bells and whistles, Perillo is a great choice.

One unique offering through Perillo is their faith-based journeys. This was one of the first types of tours designed by Perillo. You can visit Greece and the Holy Land, as well as several important religious destinations in Italy.

For travelers seeking an authentic religious-themed travel experience Perillo’s extensive experience leading and planning these kinds of tours is nearly unmatched.

Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy

Custom trip options are also available through Perillo. These custom group experiences cover a wide range of interests including yoga / health and wellness retreats, festivals, and learning tours geared toward universities. If you’re planning a destination wedding or honeymoon they have services dedicated to this as well.

Their Learning Journeys are perfect for solo female travelers and enthusiastic life learnings passionate about learning new skills, languages, or diving deeper into the history of a certain destination and culture.

Top Destinations

Venice Italy with Perillo tours

Perillo is known for, and primarily focuses on, Italy tours. Here their breadth of knowledge is impressive as they began operating Italy tour packages in 1945. Perillo Italy tours cover the whole country, including Sicily, with special emphasis on classic sights and local eats.

Perillo also offers escorted tours in Hawaii, Greece, and Costa Rica.

Their “Learning Tours,” focus on niche educational travel and classes around the world, including Africa & the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

Perillo Travel Style

  • Large groups or private vacation packages

Tried and true is Perillo’s style. They may not have the most flashiest or easily navigable website out there, or the most unique itineraries, but they know guided tours, they know Italy, and they stick with the classics.

Hotels, meals, and activities on Perillo tours have been personally vetted and experienced by the founder, and they have everything down to a science.

Local village in Italy

Perillo Itineraries are between 9-10 days on average, often focusing on cuisine and historical sights. Groups tend to be between 20 and 40 people, and they often arrange private departures for large groups such as families or wedding parties.

Special interest tours are another popular kind of itinerary offered through Perillo. In Italy, they offer a number of golf tours, faith-based tours, and culinary tours. Learning tours often focus on cooking, as well as art and history, science, and wildlife.

Why Choose a Tour With Perillo?

  • Classic sites and itineraries
  • Guides with significant destination expertise

Colosseum in Rome Italy lit up at night

For an Italy tour that appreciates the standards and approaches their itineraries from a local point of view, Perillo is the place to go. Their tours operate from the major cities to the charming hill towns more off the beaten path. You'll have a carefully crafted tour with a thoughtful balance of sightseeing, free time, optional activities, and relaxation.

They are not the flashiest of tour companys, and their website is somewhat difficult to navigate to find all the options available - of which there are a good number. But they certainly have laurels to rest on given their extensive background and long historic legacy in guided tourism.

Covid-19 Updates

Perillo is updating their status regarding trip operations on a regular basis. As of October 2020, all November 1 - 15th departures are postponable without subject to cancellation fees.  

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