Review: A Week In… Portugal With Tauck

Portugal with Tauck
By: Maya Keith, CTA & Senior Travel Consultant

Portugal has always been on my bucket list for a very long time for its unique mix of old-world traditions – rich history, some of the best Portuguese cuisines and port wines from Duoro valley, historic monasteries, Douro River, palaces and castles. I could not have picked any other company to travel with than Tauck Tours. Tauck is one of the most luxurious company out there that is all inclusive, stays at 5 star boutique hotels, luxurious stops on trips, out of this world cuisines, excellent service, no extra cost on any optional excursions and my favorite slow paced tour that caters mainly to seniors. I can tell you that I am nowhere close to being a senior but it was nice to be treated like a VIP on a Tauck tour. Portugal with Tauck really delivered above and beyond my expectations.

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Review: Greek Island Hopper With Trafalgar

By: Vivian Vo, Travel Consultant

Why Greece? And I replied, “Why not!” The history, beaches, and activities just to list a few. Why go on a tour and specifically a tour with Trafalgar? Simply, the ease of not having to plan anything, guided by an expert with over 10 years of experience, and the accommodation are first class. So let’s get straight to what I have experienced while Greek Island Hopper with Trafalgar tour.

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North America Highlights & Tips

North America Tour Highlights

  • Get in an “empire state of mind” with the best views of New York atop the Empire State Building.
  • Get a breath of fresh air at the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon.
  • Roam the wilderness at Yellowstone National Park.
  • See the stars at Kennedy Space Center & Space Center Houston
  • See The Rockies in Canada by rail
  • Stroll through the Butchart Gardens
  • Get your photo taken at Lake Louise, in Banff

North America Vacation Tips

  • If this is your first time, no trip to North America is complete without a visit to New York City.
  • Nothing is as American as apple pie or a road trip. An escorted tour is perfect because you’ll have your own luxury motorcoach with a driver and dedicated travel director leading the way.
  • Take a rail trip in Canada if possible. Few places are as beautiful as Lake Louise and Banff.
  • US dollars are different than Canadian dollars. Remember this if you’re visiting both countries.
  • The USA alone is huge. Don’t try to do too much as once as you’ll likely miss out on a lot of amazing things to do and see.
  • The service industry – restaurants, bars, porters, etc – runs on tipping. When appropriate, don’t forget to tip for good service.
  • Whether in Canada or the USA, visit a national park when possible.
  • Depending on your itinerary, you’ll want to pack layers as climates can change quickly from one place to another.

Eastern Europe Highlights & Tips

Eastern Europe Tour Highlights

  • Go island hopping (and swimming) in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.
  • The castles… so many beautiful castles!
  • Explore the beautiful old town of Dubrovnik with its iconic orange tiled roofs.
  • Discover the two sides of Buda and Pest.
  • Then hit the thermal baths in Budapest.
  • Take a photo of the world famous Vienna Opera House.
  • Count all the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National park in Croatia.
  • Visit the beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic.

Eastern Europe Vacation Tips

  • Just because most Europeans speak English, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look up some basic native language phrases. The locals will appreciate your effort and you might even make a friend!
  • Don’t convert your currency at the airport. Wait until you get to your hotel or a local currency exchange place.
  • Make sure you carry some cash as not all places will take credit cards (especially the smaller businesses).
  • Support local and shop at family businesses. You’ll be making a bigger difference for these families.
  • If your tour package does not include a specific attraction you want to visit, make sure you buy your tickets early.
  • Try to walk as much as you can to take in the area and destination.
  • If you’re planning to walk as much as you can, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing.
  • If you’re from the USA, you’re probably used to free water and bread in restaurants. European restaurants do not do this. You’ll pay for everything you ask for.

Asia Highlights & Tips

Asia Tours Highlights

  • Climb the Great Wall Of China
  • Visit the impressive Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • Marvel at the Taj Mahal in India
  • In Kyoto, Japan, climb and visit the orange Fushimi Inari Taisha
  • Explore Gardens By The Bay in Singapore
  • Sail through the beautiful Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
  • Try your luck at the Japanese cherry blossoms during the spring
  • Learn about Asian culture through food. Sample sushi, dim sum, pho and bibimbap
  • Spot Komodo Dragons in Indonesia
  • Stay in a traditional luxury ryokan in Japan

Asia Vacation Tips

  • Take advantage of local transportation for a more immersive experience. Ride a tuk-tuk in Thailand, rickshaw in India or the bullet train in Japan.
  • Carry cash with you. US dollars or Euros are very helpful when country hopping. Change over any local currency before you leave a country.
  • Street food is a very common place to eat budget friendly and delicious local foods. Foods that are cooked in front of you are your best bet.
  • Stick with bottled water when traveling through most countries Asia. If you prefer a reusable bottle, bring water purification tablets.
  • Night markets are great place to pick up souvenirs. Bartering is expecting in markets so don’t be afraid to ask politely for a lower price or deal.
  • Traffic can be chaotic. Don’t be afraid to use public transportation like busses, tuk-tuks, or rickshaws.
  • Pay attention to dress codes. In temples, you might be asked to cover your shoulders or take off your shoes. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees.
  • Check the weather before you travel. Parts of Asia can be humid and hot. Pack light clothing, sunscreen, hats and insect repellent.
  • Hotels and bathrooms might be different than Western accommodations. Don’t be surprised if you only find squat toilets.