Stride climate

SmarTours vs Collette - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
Recent Reviews

Beauiful Croatia

5.0 July 2019
M
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
This was our first Bus Tour. While we did enjopy the spots we visited, we felt that there were too many towns and not enough time in each, necessitating more time on the bus. Nevertheless the value of the tour is undeniable. The Tour director Jon, was extremely professional and he was a huge positive on the trip. The topography of Croatia was spectacular, the Sea and mountain views were gorgeous. Lake Bled, the Postojna Caves, Opatija/Plitvice Lakes, Debrovnik, the Roman Ruins, Zagreb were wonderful. The hotels were all clean and rooms were comfortable. Unfortunately my partner Barbara fell and injured her face and broke her glasses on the way to Debrovnik. Jon was extremely concerned offered to find a doctor ()which Barbara declined) but Jon took the broken glasses to an occulist who temporarliy repaired the frames. Two of our fellow travelors who were Nurses took care of Barbara after the accident.
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Exceeded my Expectations!

5.0 July 2019
K
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 5.0
For someone who usually plans every detail of my travels...going on a group tour was not something I relished. Plus, I knew that Smartours was considered a “budget” travel company, so my expectations weren’t that high. However, other than a few minor inconveniences, this trip exceeded my expectations. The magical African landscapes and its kind, welcoming people made this adventure one of the best vacations I’ve been on. Pros: Well-paced itinerary that gave us the opportunity for some free time to plan our own activities, smallish group (25) of lovely, considerate, fellow travelers (we were in the minority of “younger” folks and we are in our 50s), excellent included tours, mostly lovely hotels/lodges, amazing breakfasts/dinners, included porter services at all stops, Smartours CEO personally responded quickly to our inquiry regarding booking cost concern, and our delightful and attentive guide Jonathan. Cons: 6 hour scheduled layover, most uncomfortable 14+ hour flight ever via South African Airways, trip extension Vic Falls guide was very personable, but not very attentive, Smartours sends trip info only 2 weeks prior to departure (would love to have had this info sooner), several of the optional tours were mediocre. But honestly...if you’re a frequent traveler...these concerns are pretty minor. I will definitely be recommending the South Africa Tour to friends for value/quality and hope that ST keeps its word about limiting group sizes to under 25. I will definitely use them again in the future!
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Wonderful experience, well-deigned by SmarTours

5.0 May 2019
R
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
The Treasures of Portugal trip focuses on the highlights of the cultural and artistic heritage of this fascinating country. The chosen destinations and sites rarely disappointed, and there was always something awe-inspiring at each stop. The tour provides a great balance between programmed and free time, allowing you to see what you want or find time to explore on your own. The fact that few dinners and no lunches were provided afford you the opportunity to discover the places and tastes that intrigue you as you discover the variety of offerings available in each location.

The destinations chosen are smart and live up to the promise that these are the country's treasures. Our guide was brilliant - she knew well the backstory of the locations and the significance of the art and architecture. Each part of the tour was a lesson in history, presented with excitement and passion. Her adoration of the history and culture of her countrymen was palpable and infectious, and gave the touring experience much added value.

Well planned, organized, balanced, affordable, and utterly enjoyable. Very highly recommended.
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Great trip to Sicily

5.0 November 2018
P
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Very knowledgeable and customer service reps were great. Our tour leader and bus driver were the best. Great trip to Sicily to see where our grandparents came from.

Tour Collette Company Reviews

I would definitely recommend Collette!

5.0 November 2018
M
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We just came back from Sicily. Our tour manager Jovanka Mrdja was wonderful. She was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. Our driver Franco was also wonderful. He made us feel very safe while navigating the narrow, windy roads. I would definitely recommend Collette and look forward to touring with them again and would love to have Yovanka as our guide
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Tour Collette Company Reviews

Incredible value

5.0 November 2018
C
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Just got back from tour in Ireland with Collette. Incredible value, no stress, just relax and enjoy the view!

Tour Collette Company Reviews

Tours 70 Trips 835 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 259 $ 291
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Group Tours
  • River Cruises
Service Level Budget Standard
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
  • Budget
  • Safari
  • Adventure
Headquarters New York City, New York, USA Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States
Year Established 1996 1918
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages English English
Top Trips
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About SmarTours

Founded in 1996, smarTours promises its customers the “Best Travel Bargains” by offering mostly all-inclusive guided tours throughout much of the world.

What Makes SmarTours Stand Out?

SmarTours offers affordable tours along with great itineraries. Included in the price of all their tours is international airfare from the U.S., first-class hotels, sightseeing excursions, and English-speaking local guides. SmarTours draws a large repeat business, taking travelers to such far-flung destinations as Thailand, Morocco, Japan, Peru, Patagonia, India, and Australia.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with SmarTours?

Travelers who love traveling and care about experiencing the destination above all else - tourist sites, history, and culture - will love the feel of a SmarTours trip. These tours are definitely for the budget minded - SmarTours offers numerous deals and specials throughout the year, and provides many other ways you can save money as well, including referring your friends and being a repeat SmarTours traveler. Trips are comfortable and well guided, if not luxury or especially “unique” in tone. Airfare is included, which is a major selling point for SmarTours travelers.

SmarTours is perfect for the traveler who wants to get the most out of their travel experience, in terms of inclusions and time spent exploring the sites, both with a guide and with free time. If you are looking for a more cultivated, personalized experience, the SmarTours focus on keeping costs low doesn’t always allow for this. That said, this is budget travel that strives to appeal to a wider range.

SmarTours caters to all ages that are looking for good prices. They are largely popular amongst 50+ travelers and families.

Top Destinations

SmarTours travels all over the world, including Africa, Asia, South America and Cuba, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Diverse itineraries are available in each destination.

SmarTours Travel Style

Except for its cruise offerings -- primarily river cruises as well as Greek Island and Galapagos cruises -- transportation is generally by bus. Group sizes may reach 40 and beyond, but may also be smaller depending on the popularity of the trip. SmarTours will design custom trips for groups with at least 25-30 travelers.

Accommodations are between value and premium, comfortable with a step above basic amenities. You won’t spend much time in your hotel, as SmarTours makes the focus about the travel experiences on the ground. They care about ensuring that you have as much time as possible to explore with the guide and on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With SmarTours?

SmarTours is a complete bargain package for budget minded travelers. If you are looking for an unbeatable value, don’t mind a large group and want tours focused on exotic destinations, then SmarTours is a perfect choice for you.

About Collette

With a history that goes back to 1918, their experience speaks for itself. They provide comprehensive, well-managed guided tours for travelers seeking an exploratory, comfortable travel experience.

screenshot of Collette Travel video

What Makes Collette Stand Out?

  • Expert tour managers
  • Easy booking process
  • Customizable tours 
  • Balances iconic must-sees with immersive cultural experiences

Italy street on guided tour

A long history in guided tourism means they know every inch of guided travel, and take care of all the details like it’s second nature. Their goal is to ease the hardship of planning and organizing for the traveler so you can fully enjoy the experience without worry or stress. At Collette, they know guided travel and have been successfully leading tours around the world to a growing, devoted customer base for nearly 100 years.

Collette tours are about letting you, the traveler, experience unbelievable, classic, and unique moments around the world.  

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Collette?

  • Adventurous travelers ages 50+
  • Moderately active travelers
  • Mid to higher budget travelers

Do you love the ease of mind that comes with having every detail taken care of when you travel? Details that allow you to relax and enjoy the special little moments of discovering the world; learning about new cultures, awe inspiring wildlife encounters, and leisurely meals highlighting local cuisine? Then you are ideally suited to Collette tours.

The Collette traveler is typically older, in the 50+ range. Travelers who enjoy the finer things, value a premium to luxury style of accommodation and transportation, yet have an adventurous spirit.

Recent retirees and active seniors who are game for anything are the kind of traveler who relish a tour with Collette - check out this group in Costa Rica - taking part in Costa Rica's famous ziplines!

If you don't want to be encouraged to jump in and push your comfort zone a bit, you may find yourself out of step on a majority of Collette tours. Though they have several offerings, so don't let that discourage you. 

Collette is ideal for active travelers who enjoy a comprehensive guided tour, with a lot of activity, and local experiences. These tours usually involve extensive walking, sometimes over uneven surfaces, so a certain basic level of physical fitness is required. Tours are classified by 5 basic physical levels, to help you find one best suited to you.

Free days are included in most tours, giving travelers time to relax, take walks on the beach, or maybe do some shopping.

If you’re the kind of traveler for whom the a glass of champagne out in the blazing sun of the Australian outback, gazing at Uluru, sounds idyllic - then Collette tours would be perfect for you.

Top Destinations

Collette tours travel all around the world, to all 7 continents including Antarctica. They are well known for Central and South America, Australia, and Africa. They also offer an impressive variety of North America tours including several in the United States and Canada.

Travel styles include everything from river cruises to family tours to faith based tours.

Collette Travel Style

Collette promises the “trip of a lifetime” through exclusive outings, luxury touches, and appreciating the moments of anticipation before the world reveals itself. Their travel style is about discovering new cultures, embracing the explorer within -- in time for a cocktail at the end of the day.

Beautiful national park landscape

They have 6 broad classifications for travel style: Classic, Explorations, Spotlights, River Cruise, Faith, and Impact Travel:

1. Classic Collette Tours - This is what they call their Flagship collection, group tours that make the postcard come to life. Visit all the must see sites, enjoy cultural experiences, all with a professional and knowledgeable guide, there to help make your travel as seamless as possible. Groups are on the larger side

2. Explorations - These tours are about going deeper, meeting locals, and getting off the beaten path. “Authenticity” is a big word for Collette Explorations. You’ll experience the destination in a smaller group, an average of 18 people, allowing for access to more local experiences not available to larger groups. Classic sites will also be included in your itinerary, but the focus is mostly on unique experiences.

3. Spotlights - Have a shorter amount of time and don’t want to miss anything? Collette Spotlight tours are designed to maximize your city stay or short getaway experience. These are primarily walking tours, packed with sightseeing, historical and cultural information, but with some downtime as well. Typically these tours are between 5-9 days.

4. River Cruise - A very popular mode of travel, particularly for 50+ travelers, river cruising is ideal for those seeking a leisurely vacation, unpacking only once, enjoying gliding by beautiful sites and participating in various guided shore excursions. Collette river cruises go around the world, including China, Egypt, and Europe.

5. Faith - For those travelers interested in visiting religious sites, Collette has a group of tours dedicated to faith based travel. Visit world famous icons and learn their ancient histories. Collette Faith tours visit everything from grand churches to the humble beginnings of the three major world religions in the Holy Land. Tours are history based with an emphasis on finding deeper spiritual significance and meaning.

6. Impact Travel - Being a responsible traveler is an important component on all Collette tours, however if you’re seeking to do more to give back, their Impact Tours are a great way to do so. Sightsee with a purpose as you assist with local initiatives, volunteering among the community, helping in classrooms, and protecting local wildlife.

Why Choose a Tour with Collette?

Collette tours in New York

If you are looking for an entertaining, fully escorted, active tour to explore new cultures, and enjoy unique experiences, Collette could be for you. They provide a dedicated guide, and handle all the details throughout the tour.

Free time is available on some days, but for the most part expect fairly full itineraries and a good amount of walking. Some optional excursions are offered during the tour, so you can tailor your experience to a certain extent.

This is a great opportunity for meeting fellow travelers in a similar age range. Collette tours are open to everyone, but the majority of people on your tour will be older - in the 50+ range. Collette tours are ideal for travelers who want to have fun, enjoy the outdoors, and are open to new experiences.

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