International Travel News

(My letters to the Editor)

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April 2000

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Galen R. Frysinger

Sheboygan, Wisconsin 

Editor

International Travel News

2120 28th Street

Sacramento, CA 95818

Dear Editor:

One situation often encountered, by the tour participant, is the fact that some operators offer many tour dates and itineraries that never materialize. I have prepared a short description that you may wish to publish to help travelers deal with this issue.

When your tour becomes a tour of one

One gets very excited about the many tour offerings in ITN, sends in a deposit for the one that meets your fantasies, and then monthís later is informed that the tour is cancelled because of insufficient travel participants. Often the tour operator will offer to provide individual travel arrangements.

Even though I much prefer to travel with a group, to some places I have had to go it alone. In that case it is essential, to obtain detailed vouchers for each prepaid service to be performed, including contacts to reach the provider in case of delay or inability to locate the provider at the appointed time. This "documentation" includes airport transfers, hotel, tours, and any other prepaid service. Be sure to get your airline tickets and this documentation long ahead of departure, so questions can be asked and corrections made until all information is available.

One travel provider, who I have used, LADATCO (an ITN advertiser) does an excellent job at providing detailed and accurate information. Their help on South American tours is excellent.

With another provider, Kutrubes Travel (also an ITN advertiser) vouchers were not provided. Even though I asked for early receipt, the air tickets were only available two days before departure and a corrected itinerary only the day before departure. I had no chance to get more detailed documentation or Vouchers, and hence had problems on the tour. So, if you plan to travel with Kutrubes, please make a better effort than I to get documentation early.

I know from past experience that you are reluctant to publish negative comments about your advertisers, but I am sure other travelerís may encounter the same problem. Copies of my correspondence with Kutrubes are attached.

Sincerely,

 

I have placed a copy of this letter, and any response or item published on a web page listing both ITN and Kutrubes Travel; http://www.galen-frysinger.com/tourco.htm

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Answer received in February 2001

based on this letter from Kutrubes

 

You can draw your own conclusions as to whether they favor advertisers over their travel readers.

(see my correspondence with the Travel Agency)

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Previous letter to International Travel News

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Galen R. Frysinger

Sheboygan, Wisconsin 

Editor

International Travel News

2120 28th Street

Sacramento, CA 95818

Dear Editor:

One confusion often encountered, by the tour participant, is to determine whether a prospective tour is escorted and by whom. Some operators seem to try to confuse the issue. I have prepared a short description that you may wish to publish to help clarify the issue.

Escorted Tours

Traditionally an Escorted tour has a representative hired by the tour agency, who accompanies the tour guests, and deals with the local contracted tour provider. There may also be a country guide, and sometimes local place guides to assist.

A Non-Escorted tour means that the group will be met by the local contracted tour provider, who provides the guides.

One major tour agency, OVERSEAS ADVENTURE TRAVEL, advertises that an "Expert OAT trip leader" is provided. Travelers should be aware that OAT does not directly contract these people. They are in fact provided by the local contracted tour provider. Their tours are therefore Non-Escorted.

 

I am sure other travelerís may encounter this, as I have on a recent OAT tour. Copies of my correspondence with OAT are attached.

Sincerely,

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Above paragraph was published, but reference to OAT was omitted

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