Visiting Europe is more affordable than you might think. The Globus family of brands has two options to choose from. Cosmos offers a great vacation value for those on a budget, while Globus offers premium escorted travel.
In order to understand the difference more clearly, I am going to use an example I came across earlier this week where a client was planning a trip to Spain, but was undecided between the Cosmos "Grand tour of Spain," and the Globus "Spanish Fiesta." Specifically, the client wanted to know why she should pay $500 more for the Globus trip, when the Cosmos goes to the same places and is one day longer?
This is one of the best questions you can ask your travel agent! The tourist industry is a very competitive field and if one company is offering the same itinerary at a decidedly different price, there's got to be a reason. As we sat and discussed the two itineraries, here is what the client learned.
She would land in Madrid on either tour; both would have meet and greet, (if airfare had been purchased through the tour operator), and each would have a hotel room reserved in her name. Now where the difference begin, is that the Globus tour director would host a welcome dinner that evening and she would meet the other travelers. The Cosmos tour director would only be in the hotel lobby to say hello. Dinner will be on her own, and perhaps she would meet up with other travelers and join them.
After a buffet breakfast (included each morning in either tour) the Globus group will have in depth sightseeing in Madrid, seeing all the major sights, with entrance to the world famous Prado Museum included and paid for. The afternoon will offer free time. The Cosmos group leaves Madrid, and is driven to Valencia (via Aranjuez and Cuenca), a distance of about 222 miles, with a stop at the Royal Palace along the way. The driving time is about 4 hours, but there will be photo stops as well as a stop for lunch, although not included. The Cosmos tour would then stay in Valencia two nights, which no included sightseeing.
On day two, the Globus tour will head north to Vitoria, stopping at Segovia and Burgos...with photo, rest and lunch stops, of course. Lunch is not included with the Globus on this day either. The distance is about 175 miles, or about 3 hours.
I won't continue the day-by-day comparison, as the article would be quite lengthy, but be assured that these differences continue throughout. Example: Globus has in-depth sightseeing in Granada, Cosmos offers it as an optional. The Globus tour takes you to Gibraltar, with entrance fee included; Cosmos does not go to Gibraltar. Globus stops for guided, fee paid sightseeing in Toledo; Cosmos does not stop at Toledo. The Cosmos visit in Madrid is at the end of your tour, no inside visits are included.
There are also more subtle differences that a Globus tour includes over Cosmos, such as extra nights in major cities to allow for more free time, a few extra meals throughout the trip, perhaps with wine included or entertainment. With Globus you often each at local restaurants, where we Cosmos you frequent the hotel's restaurant.
To sum it all up, if your goal is to travel comfortably, with clean hotels, some meals, a tour guide as your shepherd and information source and at a price you can afford, go "budget," which is with Cosmos tours. Just remember, there will be many "optional" tours and meals, so do the math. If you want to see as much as possible, gain access to outstanding museums and sights, stay in centrally located hotels and avoid many of the optionals, so more is included in your up-front price, you will find that Globus tours is the better way to go.
Keep in mind they are both owned by the same company, who have offered escorted tours for over 80 years, so you will not be disappointed either way, as long as you are clear on what's included in the price.