Almost a century after hosting its first guests, Collette is still helping people travel the world. Here at Traveller we are pretty proud of having reached our tenth anniversary. Compared with tour operator Collette, however, we are spring chickens. Next year, Collette will celebrate the centenary of its very first tour, a three-week trip from Boston to Florida. A lot has changed in the intervening century: these days, the company offers more than 150 tours across seven continents. What has not changed, however, is its expertise and attention to detail. Here are 10 reasons to consider travelling with Collette.
1. START YOUR JOURNEY IN STYLE
For most of us, our holiday begins once we land at our destination. Collette customers get to start their holiday just a little earlier. To get that holiday glow going early, Collette offers a complimentary chauffeur service to every customer that lives within 40km of a major Australian international airport. No need to worry about taxis; a uniformed driver in an executive car will collect you from your home and deliver you to the departure terminal. On your arrival home, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals terminal.
2. ENJOY ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
Any company that has been in business for 99 years has learned a thing or two along the way, and Collette is no exception. Its years of experience are evident in the small details that make a big difference to your holiday. That includes everything from the choice of hotels to the training of their tour managers, from access to the big-name sights as well as the off-the-beaten-track experiences that locals like to keep to themselves. Collette's unrivalled expertise makes them experts in the field.
3. DISCOVER WHAT'S ON THE MENU
Feasting on local flavours is often one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel. That is why Collette's itineraries include plenty of meals in local restaurants, with guests getting to choose between a number of regional specialties. Many itineraries even offer a choice of restaurants for your included meal. If you are travelling on the Imperial Cities tour through Vienna, Prague and Budapest, for instance, you can choose between dinner at one of Eastern Europe's oldest breweries, or dining at one of Prague's traditional Czech restaurants. Other memorable meals include a Renaissance-style meal in a 14th century castle.
4. GET MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
No one wants to be dealing with unexpected costs on holiday. That is where Collette has you covered. Your tour costs include the chauffeur service, all entrance fees, accommodation and on-tour transportation. Most of your meals are also covered in the costs. Knowing that you are not going to blow the budget halfway through your trip allows you to relax and enjoy the destination.
5. TAKE IT EASY
One of the joys of escorted travel is that all the planning has already been taken care of. With decades of experience, Collette's itineraries are designed to take in all the highlights while travelling at a relaxed pace. The nine-day Iconic Israel trip, for instance, includes everything from the ancient cities of Caesarea and Acre to the bustle of Tel Aviv and Biblical sights including the Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem and Jericho. Best of all, you are not jumping from one hotel to the next: four nights in your Jerusalem hotel gives you time to settle in.
6. AVOID THE CROWDS
Don't like the idea of travelling with a large group? Then the Explorations itineraries are for you. These small-group trips, with an average of 18 passengers, are designed to get you onto a road less travelled. The Tuscan & Umbrian Countryside trip, for instance, includes some of Italy's most charming small towns, including the Etruscan city of Volterra and the pretty walled town of Montefalco. Along the way you will stay in boutique accommodation and enjoy activities such as a cooking class in a 16th century farmhouse.
7. MAKE AN IMPACT
Collette's Impact travel series is designed for travellers who want to make a difference. These itineraries combine traditional sightseeing with a chance to give back to local communities. Take the South Africa Impact tour. Along with ticking off South Africa's must visit attractions – from Kruger National Park and Soweto township to the beauties of Cape Town – guests have the opportunity to take part in community projects such as working with an educational trust and helping bring fresh water to communities in need.
8. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
Every traveller is different. Some are up for an adventure, others prefer something less active. Some are into art, others are into history. That is why Collette offers plenty of included options on its itineraries, 'It's Your Choice' activities. Take its Icelandic Adventure itinerary, which explores the geological marvels of this fascinating country. One of the 'It's Your Choice' activities is a guided tour of an 8000 year old lava tube, complete with stalactites, stalagmites and astonishing rock pigments. Not your thing? You may prefer an outdoor activity, exploring the astonishing formations of an ancient lava field instead.
9. SLOW IT DOWN
Some destinations deserve a bit more time. That is why Collette has come up with the Spotlight series, which lets you explore some of the world's most fascinating cities at your leisure. Spotlight on New York, for instance, is a five-day itinerary that lets you really sink your teeth into the Big Apple. Staying in a centrally located hotel, your itinerary ticks off all the big sights, from Central Park to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, while still leaving you plenty of free time to do your own thing. Our favourite bonus: tickets to two Broadway shows – you choose your shows from a menu of options.
10. ENJOY PEACE OF MIND
Ready to make some plans? With thousands of guaranteed departures, Collette is a safe choice for those who want to lock in their travel dates. However, the company also understands that sometimes the unexpected gets in the way. That is why the company offers a travel protection plan from just $95 per person. This allows you to cancel your trip for any reason whatsoever, right up to the day before departure, and receive a full refund.
This content was created in commercial partnership with Collette. For more information on Collette's huge range of tours please visit gocollette.com.au.