SmarTours vs Trafalgar - 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 — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
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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A1

0.0 August 2019
S
Recommends
This was the first time we had taken a group road tour and I would have to say that it exceeded my expectations. Our guide Danilo was great, it is a difficult job managing people on this type of trip. Everything from the excursion to the dinners where completely organized and well done. We look forward to another trip with Trafalgar in the future. I would without a doubt definitely recommend this trip, it is a little fast pace but Danilo, made sure that we had options if there were needed.
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Best of China 2019

0.0 April 2019
T2
Recommends
The tour guide Hubert was wonderful, very detailed oriented and organized. And had such an extensive knowledge of all the cities and locations we went to. Truly excellent!

Personalized care and helpfulness was definitely offered throughout, very nice touch to the trip.

Overall a great trip, but some considerations below:

The hotel in Beijing – Novotel Peace and the hotel in Chengdu – Crowne Plaza were way below standard – maybe a rating of 2 stars. They were dirty, dark, stained and hot without air circulating in the rooms. After extensive days with waking up early and returning late, you just want to rest in a clean environment with cool air. I would never stay hotels like these.

This trip is not for people who cannot handle extensive walking and climbing. Trafalgar lists this as from 5 to 99 years old. Not possible. There were days we did 10 miles of walking, just a caution for anyone considering. We had someone in our tour that was 82 years old and we all took turns taking care of him.

Some aspects of the itinerary could be different, but think that is all based on personal preference; however my fellow travelers did feel the same way. The cruise down the Yangtze River was just ‘ok’, time could have been spent better elsewhere. Like Xian, truly amazing city but too short a time.

NOTE: Some were charged single supplement, others were not ... I paid for the single supplement and was none too happy about that!

Also note that you need to budget for the optional tours that are not included.
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Perfect choice when seeking local expertise

0.0 March 2019
L
Recommends
Trafalgar is the perfect chose for when seeking local expertise and knowledge. They offer wonderful itineraries and incredible value.

Tour Trafalgar Company Reviews

Tours 60 Trips 2,366 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 322
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Mixed Land & Cruise
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
Service Level Budget Standard
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • 50+
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA London, UK
Year Established 1996 1947
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 Trafalgar

    Trafalgar is a name many seasoned travelers will recognize. A branch of the Travel Corporation, whose brands all enjoy stellar reputations, Trafalgar has been offering classic and affordable tours for over 70 years.

    Trafalagar Tours - Quick Facts

    Founded: in 1947

    Group size: Large Groups, between 40-45 people

    Mode of transportation: Primarily large comfortable coaches

    Accommodation style: Unique 3 & 4 star hotels and guest houses

    Typical age range: 50+

    Single travelers welcome (single supplements are required, but often discounted)

    Average tour price: $3,796

    Top Regions: Europe, USA, Canada

    Related TTC Brands: Insight Vacations, Uniworld, Brendan Vacations

    Commonly compared with: Insight Vacations & Globus

    What Makes Trafalgar Tours Stand Out?

    • Budget friendly without cutting activities
    • Comfortable, not physically demanding tours
    • Largely focused on cultural immersion 
    • Destination specific accommodation styles
    • Strong reputation 
    • Dedicated to responsible tourism - Founding member of TreadRight Foundation
    • Good balance of free time and inclusions
     

    Trafalgar is a budget friendly group tour operator with premium tastes. Their motto is “See the world from the inside,” - this is the place to come for culturally rich and immersive travel experiences that don’t break the bank or the back.

    Tours with Trafalgar are comfortable, not too physically demanding, and offer the opportunity to meet, talk, eat and drink with locals. You’ll get to know chefs, artisans, craftsmen, historians, and farmers as you explore what makes each destination truly special.

    Trafalgar has a strong reputation, having been around since 1947 - putting them right at the pinnacle of when many premier guided tour companies were established. You’ll meet groups of like minded travelers, enjoy cultural experiences, expertly crafted itineraries with local touches and experiences guides, while traveling in comfort and ease.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Trafalgar?

    • Older travelers (but all ages are welcome)
    • Families
    • Mid to high range budget travelers
    • Those who enjoy slow-paced itineraries and easy physical activity
    • Those who favor historic sightseeing & cultural immersion over hard core adventure 
     

    Winery in Europe tour with Trafalgar

    If you are an active traveler, perhaps recently retired, eager to explore the world in comfort, visiting a nice combination of unique local spots and classic sites, then Trafalgar could be a great choice.

    Possibly you are new to group tours and packages, having been used to creating your own travel experiences at a younger age - Trafalgar provides the perfect introduction to group tours.

    You'll have plenty of free time to explore on your own, for shopping, sightseeing, and meals away from the group. Optional excursions are available throughout the itinerary for when you want a bit more structure.

    Families will also get a lot out of the Trafalgar travel experience. If you're seeking a family vacation and interested in introducing a new generation of travelers to your favorite country - but don’t really have the time or patience to worry about planning out all the logistics - Trafalgar could be a great choice.

    Hiking in Mount Cook New Zealand trafalgar tour

    While they offer many trip styles, suitable for travelers of all ages, their classic touch is popular among older travelers. Classic doesn’t mean old fashioned or tired - simply a bit less on the active adventure and more on the historic sights and cultural experiences. They have a number of family focused tours, as well as tailored trips for special interests.

    Trafalgar trips are budget friendly, with most trips in middle to low range, including a “Cost Saver” feature that allows you to see more inexpensive trips broken down by ratings and cost clearly. They offer several deals on trips throughout the year.

    Trafalgar is a British brand, so many of the attendees on your tour will be from the UK.  

    Top Destinations

    • Europe & the UK
    • USA and Canada
    • Australia & New Zealand
    • Asia
    • South America

    Italy iconic cultural sites tour with Trafalgar

    With Trafalgar, you can find trips to Europe, USA & Canada, South America, Asia, Australia & New Zealand. While the destinations are widespread, Trafalgar trips explore the culture and their highly trained local guides take you to hidden local spots without venturing too far outside the comfort zone.

    Tours in Europe and the UK are among the most popular itineraries, utlizing guest houses and even castles for accommodation! 

    Their USA & Canada tours are extremely popular for outdoorsy travelers. National Parks are a common itinerary item, as are trips along the Rocky Mountaineer railroad.

    In South America, Trafalgar travels to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. In Africa, they go to Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa. In Asia, it’s Cambodia, China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    And in the Pacific, Trafalgar visits Australia and New Zealand - some trips in this region are more basic when it comes to accommodation so be sure to read the itinerary carefully!

    Wherever you go, you can expect high quality guides, unique destination-specific accommodations, and smooth travels.

    Croatia Dubrovnik tour with Trafalgar

    They also have a number of religious themed tours, including trips that include excursions to Oberammergau, Bavaria. Once a decade this small town presents a Passion Play, and Trafalgar has had special access since 1970. The next time to experience this unique event is 2020.

    Trafalgar Travel Style

    The Trafalgar travel style is all about getting to know the culture through activities and connecting with locals. Their main tagline is “Discover the Good Life”. On Trafalgar tours, you get to experience the real thing in a safe, escorted environment with knowledgeable guides there to help with the language and provide historical and cultural context.

    Iceland Reykjavik city tour Trafalgar

    "Discovering the Good Life" encompasses perks like skipping lines and private access to classic sites; and unique experiences that bring you to places and among people you’d never have the chance to meet traveling on your own.

    This kind of travel is local immersion, but not in the same way a 25 year old might interpret that idea.

    Rather than bunking at hostels, going out late at night, and enjoying potentially questionable street food, you’ll stay in premium, centrally located and culturally significant accommodations - everything from bed and breakfasts in Ireland to hotels right on the banks of Norwegian fjords.  

    Learn cooking techniques in Italy, enjoy private winery tours at French chateaus, and touring a small olive farm in Spain are just a few examples of the kind of unique travel experiences you can expect with Trafalgar.

    Groups are large, typically between 40-45 travelers, a max of 52 on trips in the USA and Canada. Primary transportation during the tour is in large coaches, equipped with WiFi (with the exception of Alaska) and featuring large viewing windows - ideal for taking in the scenery as you head to your next spot on the itinerary.  

    Most meals during Trafalgar tours are included. Trips often include free time during which you can explore on your own, with suggestions from your expert guides.

    Why Choose a Tour with Trafalgar?

    • Well known company
    • Culturally rich experiences in comfort
    • Many activities included, plus some optional choices
    • All guides are expertly trained
    • Large groups of international travelers

    France castle tour with Trafalgar

    Trafalgar has a solid reputation, and they stick to what they’ve done well for over 50 years. They focus on the classics, providing a culturally rich perspective as you meet locals along the way. Their experience has allowed them to cultivate relationships around the world with local businesses - quality control you can trust for every stop along the trip.

    Niche tours based on specialized interests are also something they are proud to offer. Trafalgar is where you go to have the essentials and logistics take care of seamlessly while you sit back and enjoy. Do note that these tours can be quite large - 40 people traveling together in a tour group can be stifling for some.

    While they appeal to an older crowd due to their history and recognizable name, Trafalgar has an impressively well integrated social media presence. Trips on their site are accompanied by instagram posts from real travelers who have been on the same tour, using the hashtag #SimplyTrafalgar.

    Old or young(ish), couple or single, traveling Simply Trafalgar inspires confidence, comfort, and enjoyment.

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