Don’t be told what you have to do! Escorted touring has changed significantly over the past few years, says Carl Burrows, UK managing director of Collette

Whether you want to travel across an entire country, delve into local culture, or get a locals view of some of the world’s great cities, why not consider exploring the world with other like-minded travellers as part of an escorted group.

With that said, the fear of travelling with other people paints a very negative picture for some, something the members at Atas are desperately trying to dispel.

Travelling with a group doesn’t mean you are in each other’s pockets day in, day out, far from it. Today’s escorted tour operators continue to innovate their products, destinations and itineraries to meet the ever changing demands and needs of the modern day traveller – whatever their age.

At Collette we’ve recognised that our customers value the enriching experience they get when travelling with others people, however we’ve also recognised that each customer is different and has different expectations of their holiday experience.

It’s like a tailor-made holiday

Long gone are the days when the itinerary was just the itinerary and that’s what you got. We recognise how individual all our customers are, and this year we have introduced more choice for our customers on tour.  They can tailor their holiday exactly the way they want it.

For example, we want to ensure our customer get great value for money so all the main attractions, national parks and fees are always included in our prices, however, take the popular destination of Costa Rica. You can choose to enjoy Arenal Volcano National Park either on a thrill seeking zip-lining experience through the rain forest or for those less adrenaline orientated they can traverse the volcano’s former lava fields.

Both these options are included in the tour price but you can choose how to enjoy the destination. This is just one of many choice-on-tour options we’ve introduced to make our tour less of a ‘one size fits all’ to a more unique and tailor-made experience.

More culinary experiences

We know how important food is whilst in a new destination. Food is a wonderful way to experience new cultures, exciting the senses and taste buds along the way. Our authentic culinary inclusions take you deeper into the destination, introducing you to local traditions where you can share experiences with those who call the destination home.

Once again, we recognise that everyone is different and I’m pleased to say long gone are the days of group breakfast, lunches and dinners where you are all herded into a restaurant at the same time, same group and same menu. As we continue to develop our choice on tour options, we have introduced what we call Diner’s Choice, allowing you to choose where you want to enjoy your dinner in certain destinations.

Fast or slow, big or small

Continuing on the tailor-made concept, these days many tour operators offer various tour pace levels to choose from, ranging from leisurely paced tours which involve minimal physical activity to our very active tour pacewhich requires travellers to be physically fit to fully enjoy all of the experiences.

In addition you can choose from larger group sizes to much more intimate travel experiences travelling in smaller groups and for that ultimate experience, why not try a private departure tailored all around you.

In a nutshell, travelling on an escorted tour has changed significantly over the past few years. Tour operators today provide the framework, security and knowledge around a destination, but allow guests to tailor make and modify their personal tour itinerary, allowing them to choose a tour pace and group size that suits their needs rather than the good old days when one size fitted all.