Other Options...

abdgeek

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 29, 2012
Well, for a whole bunch of reasons, I've decided not to travel with ABD this year. Chief among them is that I'm just not ready to travel internationally yet, and I'm not ready to travel domestically or internationally in a pod of one. The combination of pods and the size of ABD's trips just aren't appealing to me this year.
So I've been looking at other companies to see what's out there to travel domestically on the "shoulder" season, and I came across a trip by Classic Journeys to Bryce, Zion, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Currently, there are 8 people on the trip. The woman I spoke with thought it *might* get up to 12. And she seemed very apologetic when she said there was a teeny-tiny chance it could get as high as 18. I like those numbers. I haven't been to Bryce or Zion since I was a kid, and I've actually never been to New Mexico, so I'm really looking forward to that!

I've been such a hermit for the last 14 months, so it was really hard to pull the trigger on this trip, but I finally managed to book it! Now I'm exploring options for pre- and post-days. Totally not sure about flights yet. But I'm making plans! And while it's still a little scary (and I'm not sure why -- I'm fully vaccinated!) I'm glad I did it. I'll let you guys know how it goes with this company. (It's the same company @aggiedog traveled with to Morocco recently.)

Sayhello
You will LOVE Bryce and Zion! I finally booked a tour of both the last time I was in Vegas. We did both on the same day and the tour took about 14 hours from Las Vegas. We spent about 3 hours in each park which was plenty. I was glad I let the tour company drive instead of driving myself because there is not much out that way. St.George is about an 2 hours from Las Vegas, so if you decide to spend some pre-nights in Vegas there is a lot to do. Some people in our group had difficulty with the altitude at Bryce. They got sick once we got there(nausea, light headed, vomiting, etc.). I didn’t have any issues, so I was glad. There weren’t many guardrails on the trails we took at Bryce and there was still ice on the ground which made some places on the trail treacherous when I went in early April. You could actually go right to the edge and look over which was kind of scary.

I’m with you. If I travel at all this year, it will be in the US. I only have a trip to Hawaii planned for the end of the year. I’m still holding out hope that we can travel safely internationally next year and have two international trips(1 ABD and 1 non-ABD) planned. However, if things haven’t improved I will definitely cancel them. My sister and I were just talking the other day about how irresponsible it would be to travel to a country where the government had issued a due not travel warning. Having worked for the federal government, she pointed out to me that it wasn’t a matter of whether you could enter the country but more so a matter of whether the embassy would come to your aid if something happened since they had already told you it wasn’t safe to travel.
 

Rapunzellover

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
I'm considering New Orleans with Tauck or maybe Hawaii. But as a solo person, I'm unsure about island travel. It always seems like a couple or family thing. Any thoughts on that?
 

Up to $1,300 in Early Booking Discounts from Dreams Unlimited Travel!
Make your Adventures by Disney reservation with Dreams Unlimited Travel NOW and receive an Early Booking discount depending on Adventure and Travel Dates!!
Click Here for Details

Already have an Adventures by Disney reservation booked and want to know if Dreams Unlimited Travel can save you money?
Write to Kevin@DreamsUnlimitedTravel.com

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
You will LOVE Bryce and Zion! I finally booked a tour of both the last time I was in Vegas. We did both on the same day and the tour took about 14 hours from Las Vegas. We spent about 3 hours in each park which was plenty. I was glad I let the tour company drive instead of driving myself because there is not much out that way. St.George is about an 2 hours from Las Vegas, so if you decide to spend some pre-nights in Vegas there is a lot to do. Some people in our group had difficulty with the altitude at Bryce. They got sick once we got there(nausea, light headed, vomiting, etc.). I didn’t have any issues, so I was glad. There weren’t many guardrails on the trails we took at Bryce and there was still ice on the ground which made some places on the trail treacherous when I went in early April. You could actually go right to the edge and look over which was kind of scary.
Yikes!!! :eek: That sounds scary!! I'm going in October, so hopefully ice won't be an issue yet! I am considering Vegas, as one of my best friends lives there, and I haven't seen her since before the pandemic. I need to check out flights and what works.

I’m with you. If I travel at all this year, it will be in the US. I only have a trip to Hawaii planned for the end of the year. I’m still holding out hope that we can travel safely internationally next year and have two international trips(1 ABD and 1 non-ABD) planned. However, if things haven’t improved I will definitely cancel them. My sister and I were just talking the other day about how irresponsible it would be to travel to a country where the government had issued a due not travel warning. Having worked for the federal government, she pointed out to me that it wasn’t a matter of whether you could enter the country but more so a matter of whether the embassy would come to your aid if something happened since they had already told you it wasn’t safe to travel.
You are so right. That is the issue. More than infection rates and the risk of getting sick is the risk of getting stuck or not getting help from the consulate if needed because, as you say, they told you not to go there!!

Sayhello
 
Last edited:

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
I'm considering New Orleans with Tauck or maybe Hawaii. But as a solo person, I'm unsure about island travel. It always seems like a couple or family thing. Any thoughts on that?
I've been to Maui multiple times as a solo. It's a great island to do solo, as you can book day trips or half day trips to do pretty much anything you want to do while you're there. It's not safe to snorkel alone, so I'll book snorkel trips to Lanai or Molokai. And I also do tours to Haleakala for sunrise (AMAZING, but I'm not driving up a mountainside in the dark) and the road to Hana (crazy narrow and twisty-turny roads much better left to a professional - plus you want to be able to watch the scenery). Let me know, I can give you all sorts of info about doing Maui solo. And I NEVER felt out of place there as a solo! It's not like, say, going to Sandals!

I know 3 people who are on Maui right now (and none of them know each other!) I've been a little jealous!

Sayhello
 

abdgeek

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 29, 2012
I'm considering New Orleans with Tauck or maybe Hawaii. But as a solo person, I'm unsure about island travel. It always seems like a couple or family thing. Any thoughts on that?
I travel solo all the time (international and domestic) and have been to Hawaii solo several times. So far, I’ve been to Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. While you can get around Oahu without a car by staying in Waikiki where a lot of things are within walking distance, you can also rent a car. Parking fees can be high, so do your reseacrh. Unfortunately, you need to rent a car on the other islands to get around.

If you’re thinking of visiting Hawaii for the first time, start on Oahu which has Honolulu which is closest to a big city. Each island has its own charm and tourist sites. Most people plan to stay at least a week or more to justify the long flight. You may try posting any questions you have on the Aulani board. There are a lot of threads there already from people planning their Hawaii trips who have asked for recommendations.
 

flipflop

Mommy is changing her name
Joined
May 1, 2006
Well, for a whole bunch of reasons, I've decided not to travel with ABD this year. Chief among them is that I'm just not ready to travel internationally yet, and I'm not ready to travel domestically or internationally in a pod of one. The combination of pods and the size of ABD's trips just aren't appealing to me this year.
So I've been looking at other companies to see what's out there to travel domestically on the "shoulder" season, and I came across a trip by Classic Journeys to Bryce, Zion, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Currently, there are 8 people on the trip. The woman I spoke with thought it *might* get up to 12. And she seemed very apologetic when she said there was a teeny-tiny chance it could get as high as 18. I like those numbers. I haven't been to Bryce or Zion since I was a kid, and I've actually never been to New Mexico, so I'm really looking forward to that!

I've been such a hermit for the last 14 months, so it was really hard to pull the trigger on this trip, but I finally managed to book it! Now I'm exploring options for pre- and post-days. Totally not sure about flights yet. But I'm making plans! And while it's still a little scary (and I'm not sure why -- I'm fully vaccinated!) I'm glad I did it. I'll let you guys know how it goes with this company. (It's the same company @aggiedog traveled with to Morocco recently.)

Sayhello
We went to Bryce and Zion as part of a Tauck trip. Absolutely glorious. I hope you enjoy it. The skies at night are gorgeous at Bryce (if clear).
 
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    My plan if kiddo didn’t make his all-star team was the Classic Journeys Bryce and Zion trip. While I’m proud of my son for making the team, I’m a little bummed we won’t be able to take the vacation. I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to hearing all about it!
    Oh, wow. Coincidence! I will definitely let you know how it is!

    Sayhello
     

    BluesTraveler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2015
    I want to give an update on our Backroads experience with booking/canceling/rebooking. Last year we had 2 trips booked with Backroads. The first was in April, and that was canceled altogether. We had PIF before the big March 12 shutdown, and we were refunded all $$ for that trip. The second trip was in August, to Maine. That trip did end up going, but we elected not to go. I think the PIF date was early June for that one, and we had not yet PIF when we made the decision not to go. Since that trip did go, we couldn't get our deposit for it back, but we were able to have Backroads hold the deposit ($600 per person) indefinitely towards another trip. And, Backroads added an additional $300 per person as credit to the next trip we booked. I've just booked a trip for next summer (2022) with them, and applied that $1800 total. (We aren't doing any group travel in 2021, we are traveling but keeping it a little more low key this year.)

    They've been great to work with through the whole process.
     

    flipflop

    Mommy is changing her name
    Joined
    May 1, 2006
    I want to give an update on our Backroads experience with booking/canceling/rebooking. Last year we had 2 trips booked with Backroads. The first was in April, and that was canceled altogether. We had PIF before the big March 12 shutdown, and we were refunded all $$ for that trip. The second trip was in August, to Maine. That trip did end up going, but we elected not to go. I think the PIF date was early June for that one, and we had not yet PIF when we made the decision not to go. Since that trip did go, we couldn't get our deposit for it back, but we were able to have Backroads hold the deposit ($600 per person) indefinitely towards another trip. And, Backroads added an additional $300 per person as credit to the next trip we booked. I've just booked a trip for next summer (2022) with them, and applied that $1800 total. (We aren't doing any group travel in 2021, we are traveling but keeping it a little more low key this year.)

    They've been great to work with through the whole process.
    We had the same experience with a backroads deposit for a trip last summer that didn't run and wasn't PIF. $600 plus $300 for next trip. Very easy to work with.
     
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I want to give an update on our Backroads experience with booking/canceling/rebooking. Last year we had 2 trips booked with Backroads. The first was in April, and that was canceled altogether. We had PIF before the big March 12 shutdown, and we were refunded all $$ for that trip. The second trip was in August, to Maine. That trip did end up going, but we elected not to go. I think the PIF date was early June for that one, and we had not yet PIF when we made the decision not to go. Since that trip did go, we couldn't get our deposit for it back, but we were able to have Backroads hold the deposit ($600 per person) indefinitely towards another trip. And, Backroads added an additional $300 per person as credit to the next trip we booked. I've just booked a trip for next summer (2022) with them, and applied that $1800 total. (We aren't doing any group travel in 2021, we are traveling but keeping it a little more low key this year.)

    They've been great to work with through the whole process.
    We had the same experience with a backroads deposit for a trip last summer that didn't run and wasn't PIF. $600 plus $300 for next trip. Very easy to work with.
    Good to know. I've been thinking about going back to Backroads, also. I kind of hadn't been looking at them for a while, because their trips are usually pretty short, but I'm reconsidering that seeing how easy they've been for you to work with.

    Sayhello
     

    laceltris3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    We received our documents for our upcoming TB trip. I am still waiting to see if they send the backpacks and little presents for the kids as they have in the past. Documents were email only, though we last traveled with them in 2018, so I don't know if that was a pre-pandemic change. (I do really prefer receiving the little spiral bound version. It stays so much nicer in my bag than the folded papers I slide into a book for safekeeping).

    The only downside is that all of the information prior said that the COVID test for non-vaccinated people (for us the kids, who cannot be fully vaccinated by early June) was required within 5 days of departure. Since we are starting in a National Park, the requirement is 72 hours before departure, which blows up my established plans, but is something I will just have to deal with.

    No mention that reflects the updated CDC guidance on masking for vaccinated people.
     

    Rapunzellover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2014
    The only downside is that all of the information prior said that the COVID test for non-vaccinated people (for us the kids, who cannot be fully vaccinated by early June) was required within 5 days of departure. Since we are starting in a National Park, the requirement is 72 hours before departure, which blows up my established plans, but is something I will just have to deal with.

    No mention that reflects the updated CDC guidance on masking for vaccinated people.
    Double check with a Tauck representative. I'm considering Tauck for New Orleans in the Fall, and I saw their policies changed to not needing a test if vaccinated, like ABD changed to recently. You may not need a test.

    Also, I found their app to be best for the itinerary when I traveled with them in 2019.
     

    laceltris3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    Double check with a Tauck representative. I'm considering Tauck for New Orleans in the Fall, and I saw their policies changed to not needing a test if vaccinated, like ABD changed to recently. You may not need a test.

    Also, I found their app to be best for the itinerary when I traveled with them in 2019.
    Yes, my husband and I don't need a test, but the two of my kids who are now eligible for the vaccine will not be able to be "fully" vaccinated before the trip, and my youngest is not yet able to be vaccinated. They specifically note you need a test for all children under 16 in all circumstances.
     

    AquaDame

    DCL
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    This is likely a long shot, but my husband and I have booked a live aboard for the Galapagos in January and I'm considering staying on in San Cristobal for a couple of days to try to visit Espanola as well (I had been thinking Floreana but that would require us to ferry to Santa Cruz as it is too far). Any chance someone here also booked more on their own for the Galapagos and loved their tour provider..?
     

    Jess_S

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 14, 2015
    We didn't go to the Galapagos, but we did just come back from an on-your-own trip in Ecuador. I am happy to share a list of tour companies I used, all of whom were excellent. They all do the Galapagos. (Apparently it is pretty rare to visit Ecuador without going there, so it's the bread and butter of most of the providers there).
     
    Last edited:

    Rapunzellover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2014
    I rebooked the Tauck New Orleans trip I canceled earlier this year. I'm going in October instead of September though. I'm vaxxed and thinking things will hopefully be good in October that the trip will run pretty normally.

    Two questions for those who know:
    1. Should the weather in mid October be okay in NOLA? I'm worried about hurricanes.
    2. Any recommendations for must dos? Or must eats (looking forward to the food)?
     

    AquaDame

    DCL
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    We didn't go to the Galapagos, but we did just come back from an on-your-own trip in Ecuador. I am happy to share a list of tour companies I used, all of whom were excellent. They all do the Galapagos. (Apparently it is pretty rare to visit Ecuador without going there, so it's the bread and butter of most of the providers there).
    I would love any and all advice you're willing to pass my way! We're booked on the Letty with Ecoventura which will be the bulk of our time on the islands but I still have other details to figure out.
     

    Jess_S

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 14, 2015
    These are the tour companies we used in order of preference (although I would recommend all of them without reservation).

    1. Ecuador Best Tours. We booked through Luis, who was also our guide for two day tours. Their website has a contact form for questions. Ecuadorbesttours.com.

    2. Metropolitan Touring. They own and operate several properties in Ecuador, including Finch Bay in the Galapagos. I booked through Felipe. Customer service at their hotels was exceptional. (We stayed at Casa Gangotena and Mashpi Lodge). This was a pricey option, but cheaper than ABD.

    3.Happy Gringo. We used Eva Merx to book a day tour. She then coordinated with one of their guides and sent us the booking information. The price for the tour did not include attraction admission, unlike the other tour companies.

    As with other places we have traveled in Latin America, we found that the response times working with companies in Ecuador were slower than in the US. It can take up to 48 hours to hear back on an email. (I will say that all of the providers responded immediately when I had questions about the covid state of emergency declared just before our trip).

    Ecuador is a beautiful country. I am sure you will have an amazing trip. Even with covid, my family rated Ecuador as our top trip.
     

    Connect

    TODAY'S HEADLINES


    Top