When we talked with Mary Winkler, one of our frequent travelers, she had just returned from the Ultimate Iceland tour with Trafalgar and was in the middle of selecting her 2018 dream destination.
Armed with our catalog, Mary chooses a tour that covers what she wants to see, and then picks up the phone and calls us.
“I firmly believe in having Grand European just do it all for me,” Mary says. “Their people know all the ins and outs of booking not just the tour, but the airlines and travel schedules that work best for me.” That expert knowledge and planning is even more important because Mary travels solo. “I worked in Chicago for 35 years, so I have good street smarts, and try to apply those as I travel,” Mary noted. “But when it comes to international travel, I always choose to travel with a group and Grand European.”
“Grand European has never let me down.”
Mary raves about the Portrait of Majestic France river cruise she took last year. The trip started in Paris and ended in Bordeaux and Mary said it was a total “Wow!” “Not only were the staff and crew very attentive and responsive, and the food was absolutely delightful. Plus, I only had to unpack once,” Mary says. A very special part of that river cruise was visiting Vincent Van Gogh’s gravesite in Auvers-sur-Oise, a small village outside of Paris. “He’s my favorite artist and our Tour Director made sure we visited his gravesite,” Mary said. “Earlier that day I visited a small flower shop and picked up some sunflowers to place on his grave. I will remember it forever.”
It’s these types of special experiences Mary seeks out on every vacation she takes. Before each trip, she researches the destination she selected to make sure she can prioritize the experiences she’s looking forward to most. Research is something she recommends all travelers do before they leave, especially those “going solo”.
Mary’s other great tips for solo travelers:
- Look for tours that waive Single Supplement fees. “Traveling solo can sometimes cost you extra but looking for the trips with a waived single supplement saves you money you can use on other parts of your trip!”
- If you can’t get a waiver, you can still choose a single room for privacy. You’ll find Grand European’s single supplement rates are very reasonable.
- Make friends with others on our tour. “Introduce yourself to a group of people on your trip or just sit down with someone and start chatting. You never know who you could meet and how much fun you can have.”
- Do your research before you go. “Learn about your destination, things to do there, and the customs of the locals, and you’ll get even more out of information your Travel Director shares along the way.”
- Go early or stay on. “Pick a tour that takes you to most of the places you want to go. But since you’re traveling by yourself, make the most of your visit by arriving a day or two early to get accustomed to the area, or staying on for a few days and seeing more sites you want to see on your own.”