After a lot of research, we can say definitively that travel packages that bundle together airfare and hotels don't save money in Maine (though they can work well in the Caribbean).

Escorted tours probably won't mean a savings either, but for those who enjoy the structure of a group tour, with a group leader, they can be a fine choice. The price usually includes everything from airfare to hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation. They're not for everybody, but escorted tours -- whether they're navigated by bus, motor coach, train, or boat -- let travelers sit back and enjoy the trip without having to drive or worry about details. They're particularly convenient for people with limited mobility and they can be a great way to make new friends.

On the downside, you'll have little opportunity for serendipitous interactions with locals. The tours can be jam-packed with activities, leaving little room for individual sightseeing, whim, or adventure -- plus they often focus on the heavily touristed sites, so you miss out on many a lesser-known gem.

We think that the marketplace sites TourRadar and TravelStride. You'll be able to compare itineraries for dozens of companies, and read user reviews on those two websites.

Ask Before You Go

Before you invest in an escorted tour:

  • Always ask about the cancellation policy. Can you get your money back? Is there a deposit required?
  • Ask about the accommodations choices and prices for each. Then look up the hotels' reviews in this guide, and check rates online for your specific dates of travel. Also find out what types of rooms are offered.
  • Request a complete schedule.
  • Ask about the size and demographics of the group.
  • Discuss what's included in the price (transportation, meals, tips, airport transfers, and so on).
  • Finally, look for hidden expenses. Ask whether airport departure fees and taxes, for example, are included in the total cost -- they rarely are.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.