Stranded When We Landed; Does Your Travel Tour Company Care Where You Are?
In the absence of an experience one must rely on the experiences of others as a guide post for making decisions. Not knowing what traveling to France really entailed my wife and I listened to friends who made the liveaboard review trip and advised us that the best way to travel is to engage a travel tour company which takes care of all daily activities for the inexperienced traveler.
We secured a highly recommended tour company in the US for a trip to France. For seven nights of accommodations traveling from Monte Carlo to Paris we paid $12000 6 months in advance which included airplane costs, and insurance in case something went wrong before or during the trip. As seasoned travelers with our local university, we were accustomed to a well managed engagement which would take care of food, lodging, travel, entertainment, culture, history, and would be carried out with the utmost in customer care. We also expected that the extravagant cost of $1700 per day would at least equal the inconvenience of lacking the knowledge and experience of moving around in a foreign environment for a period of about 8 days. In point, the additional costs would pay for the fact that we were strangers in a foreign country and as such lacked the wherewithal to take on the new country as we would take on a new tour with our university travel group. Our first taste of our foreign land deflated our reasoning and assumptions: we were stranded when we landed!
A Case Study of the Uncaring Travel Tour Company
Stranded at the Airport
Imagine being stuck on a plane for 8 hours at night and being unable to sleep since you do not normally sleep in an upright position. To make matters worse when you arrive at your destination on foreign soil, no one is there to pick you up. Not only is there no one there but no one at the airport heard of the tour company in charge of picking you up. When you finally reach the tour manager she tells you that a car will pick you up in one half hour. After about an hour when no car arrives you are told by another American traveler that they are on a similar tour with the same travel company and they are waiting for their ride. Their ride arrives but your name is not on it. Finally the driver makes arrangements to take you to your hotel. The tour leader is surprised and apologetic noting that the pick- up service never makes mistakes stranding the travelers. I guess I should have called from the plane making sure that we would have a ride from the airport to the hotel? The first day of $1700 is lost without even a 3 dollar cheap bottle of French wine offered as an apology.