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Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

August 09, 2013

The demise of Classic Costa del Sol has been lamented in a number of threads, so I won't flog the deceased equine. But I do have a suggestion to make and that is why this thread is in this forum.

At 70 years of age my First Mate and I are no longer the youngest tourists on our GCT tours. But we still bring the average age down. And we are in reasonably good health, although my walking ability is deteriorating gradually. The pace of our recent GCT tours is such that we can "keep up", but it is getting harder. I realize that we do not have to do every thing included in the tour, and we certainly don't have to take the optionals. But I feel, and I think many others share the feeling, that I have paid for a tour and I need to "get my money's worth."

I would like to see GCT resurrect an extended stay vacation package. I don't much care where it is as long as it meets the following criteria:

1. The area must be relatively safe (I know absolute safety cannot be assured)

2. The area must have something of interest that can be enjoyed independently

3. The accommodations must be clean and comfortable but do not need to be plush

4. The available dining opportunities must be reasonably good and relatively inexpensive

5. There must be a hospitality desk or program director who can act as a consultant

6. The climate must be better than a Pennsylvania winter.

What do you think? Can we get a ground swell going here?

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 110
Traveler Since: 2001

August 09, 2013

 I would love to see the return of Classic Costa del Sol or something similar.  A few more extended stay trips would be wonderful.  Have you thought about the Spain's Cultural Capitals trip?  It has a very relaxed pace, is quite safe, nice hotels in good locations, great food (after all it is Spain .... paella, tapas and wine), the climate is very good (better than Pennsylvania winter, not as good as California), only two days of bus rides with wonderful stops along the way.  Best tour guide ever on my trip.  They really put some effort into this vacay.  

That said, I'm beginning to be concerned about the size of GCT trips (42 travelers?), the endless tipping and all the optionals.  It really adds up fast!  

I also dislike long plane rides ..... not a deal-breaker, but 14 hours is about my limit.  My husband and I have recently returned to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on our own.  Wonderful trip, safe, great food, and more cultural interest than you might think (Talpa, Mascota).  Also, think about Guatemala (Antigua and Lake Atitlan) ..... GCT ..... any interest?

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 09, 2013

I agree.  I've loved every extended stay vacation I've taken.   Classic Costa del Sol; Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast, which was two extended stays  - Montecatini Terme and Sorrento; and Malta.  Staying put in one or two places and taking side trips gives the best of both worlds.

Author: kba

Joined: 6/19/2010
Posts: 65
Traveler Since: 2009

August 09, 2013

Count me in.  I love to travel and sometimes it is nice to just "go at your own pace."  Several years ago I signed up for Costa del Sol but GCT cancelled the trip.  I would love to see several "extended stay" options and the chance to unpack once or twice and become a temporary local.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 486
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

August 09, 2013

 I don't know what the economics are, after all GCT  is a for profit company, but could entended stay options be added as post trip extensions.? They would probably not be as reasoably priced as Tormelinos, as thet would probably be in more expensive cities, but it would be interesting to take and extened stay in a Lonodon, Paris or Viennsa.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

August 09, 2013

I guess the definition of "extended stay vacation" that I was thinking of was "just like Classic Costa del Sol". I've taken some of the other tours mentioned, and spending 5 - 7 days in the same hotel is a step in the right direction. But I'm really thinking of 2 -3 weeks in the same hotel.

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 48
Traveler Since: 2007

August 09, 2013

"Extended stay vacation" sounds good to us, too--if not now, then a little later.  Costa del Sol looked good, but maybe there are some other places (that we've seen) that would also work: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, probably many others.  One of my daydreams: a small town or village in Austria or Germany, on a rail line for easy transportation.  Easy to contemplate, more difficult to implement!

Author: franniepat

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 49
Countries Visited:

Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Mexico, Alaska, Canada, Western US parks.

Traveler Since: 2008

August 10, 2013

You can try untours.com-they give traveler support and you rent an apartment for a couple weeks-you can stay longer even and rent a place in the same country at a different location as an add-on. Cuenca would also be a good place to spend a few weeks and OAT (through a local school) could offer Spanish lessons as well!

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

August 10, 2013

I went to untours.com and, for sake of comparison, looked at what they had available in Andalusia, Spain. While what they offered looked somewhat appealing, the disqualifying factor was that nothing was offered between the end of October and the beginning of May. The big draw for GCT's Classic Costa del Sol was that us cold climate residents could go there in the dead of winter and thaw out for a few weeks.

Author: jeswlloyd

Joined: 9/13/2011
Posts: 28
Traveler Since: 2009

August 11, 2013

Count us in.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Costa del Sol was one of our favorite vacations.  Would love to see other offerings like that trip.  Loved having the dine around options, the great tours, the ability to get around on our own and the free time to do it.  In fact, we have discussed trying to replicate that trip on our own.  But would love for GCT to offer a trip along with a local resource.  Great idea!

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 263
Trips Taken: 0

August 12, 2013

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for comments around bringing back Costa del Sol as well as other extended stay vacations. This thread has been forwarded to our Planning Department.

At the moment, we don't have plans to offer any extended vacations like the ones you describe.  However, we do have our Tuscany & Amalfi Coast trip, where you spend 7 nights in Chianciano and 7 nights in Sorrento - www.gct.com/trips/2014/tour-of-rome-tuscany-amalfi-coast-acm.aspx

As always, thank you for your feedback.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCT Forum Moderator

Author: winjim

Joined: 5/16/2010
Posts: 7
Traveler Since: 2005

August 12, 2013

Another "vote" for extended stay trips.  I've traveled on 13 OAT/GCT trips mostly in Europe (my favorite) and find that it is becoming difficult to find trips which are fresh for me.    Many understandably circle thru the most wonderful and popular city centers which I've already enjoyed.

It would be nice to stay in a secondary location, with reasonable train, bus, walking destinations as the Costa del Sol location provided.  Dine-around there worked very well to give restaurant variety.  Yes, for east coasters, somewhere warm in January would be my goal for a week or two or three.

 

Author: pegheeter1

Joined: 6/28/2010
Posts: 22
Traveler Since: 2001

August 13, 2013

 And here's another "vote" for something along this line.  As Winjed posted, many of us have already been through the standards routings and cities.  Even the slight variations, such as the new OAT trip to central Europe, aren't the same as a "stay put" or extended visit would be.  It would be nice to see what "living" rather than just "tourism" is like, if only just a little bit.  I like to think of my ideal trip as Europe Intermediate or Advanced, rather than Introductory.  Thanks for starting this post - great idea!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

August 13, 2013

I'm just curious. If you are looking for Europe intermediate or Advanced, why can't you design a trip for yourself for a few weeks? Europe is generally safe, has good transportation, hotels, apartments for rent ...

I'm not clear on what would be missing. Is it being with a group? Having someone else make the arrangements?

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

August 13, 2013

Luisa, I think your questions are your answers. Yes, I like being part of "the herd". And I also like having someone else responsible for the logistics. That's why one of my "requirements" was having someone with whom I could consult to lay out my plans for the day. I don't need every day to be a planned and guided tour, but I want someone who knows the area and can point me in the right direction to see something that attracts me. When in Torremolinos I rode the train and the bus up and down the coast on a number of occassoins. But I saved a lot of time, not to mention headaches (maybe heartaches) by having Antonio, Juan, and Maria available for consultation. And sitting around the bar after dinner provided an opportunity for me to share my activities for the day and to learn of possible activities for the morrow from the tales being told by the other tourists.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

August 13, 2013

I can understand wanting to have someone available for information, but I was a bit puzzled by the post about intermediate or advanced Europe, so thought it's probably about being part of a group. 

I enjoyed the Costa del Sol experience. I felt free to wander as I wanted and also to participate in the excursions if I wanted to. I met people there who had been going annually for several years and had formed groups that returned at the same time. I went only once because there are many other trips on my list, but I would have returned sometime.

I hope GCT can bring the trip back or create something similar.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 13, 2013

It was my first GCT trip.  A friend (my college roommate) and her husband had been traveling with both GCT and OAT for a while and suggested that I, and the travel friend she'd introduced me to, go just at the Millenium.  We decided to take the third week extension.  Then, someone she worked with decided to join us but just for two weeks.  At that time, it was a charter flight from JFK to Malaga.  We had a wonderful time!  We met people who had been spending the winters there for years and other people who had retired there.  It was always in the back of my mind to return for a few weeks some winter.

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 144
Traveler Since: 2004

August 13, 2013

 Extended stay vacations like Bajondillo would be welcome for a two or three week get-a-way

From cold weather.

captain Larry's points are quite good.

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