Friendly Planet vs Signature Collection by Gate 1 - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
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Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.4
Guide — 4.4
Activities — 4.4
Lodging — 4.4
Transportation — 4.4
Meals — 4.3
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amazing memories!!!!5.0 May 2019
I just returned from spending 8 phenomenal days in Greece and Turkey. Our guide Yannis couldn't have been more knowledgeable, efficient, fun, funny and FRIENDLY!! There was 12 of us traveling together and he never lost his patience although some days he may have felt like he was herding cats... The hotel, ship, tours and local guides left us wanting nothing! Thank you for providing us the framework for such amazing memories!!!! Efxaristo!!!!!!Read more
Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews
outstanding5.0 November 2017
We just returned from Peru. Well done Friendly Planet. Hotels and meals were outstanding. Our main guide, Jaime, was one of the best I've ever had...and, we travel a lot! Jaime was an inspiration for someRead more
of us who needed extra support to get to the top of Machu Picchu. Our Lake Titicaca guide could use more experience. But, still a good time!
Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews
Friendly Planet - they were awesome to work with.5.0 June 2017
Took the 'Treasures of Thailand' trip with Friendly Planet and it was one of the top vacations I've ever had. It was my first guided tour because we did not know the language and that tour covers a lot of territory. Each hotel we stayed in was the #1 hotel in that particular city (with the exception of the Bangkok hotel though the Bangkok hotel was only blocks away from the stunning Four Seasons Bangkok and I would absolutely stay in that hotel again, it just wasn't the #1 hotel in Bangkok). We had two dedicated bilingual tour guides and porters who traveled with us. There is a choice to add Angkor Wat or Phuket post-tour extensions to this package. I would highly recommend this tour and Friendly Planet without any reservation or hesitation. Our vacation went without a glitch. If I could change anything would be to have added the extension to Angkor Wat. If you feel you would like a few extra days in Bangkok on your own, just talk to Friendly Planet - they were awesome to work with.Read more
Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews
|Tours||2 Trips||1 Trip|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 376||$ 0|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania|
Founded over 30 years ago, Friendly Planet is a small, family owned tour operator based in the United States. While they might be a small operation, they offer a wide range of affordable journeys to six continents. Their trips span across three categories: small group tours, value vacations, and independent packages.
What Makes Friendly Planet Stand Out?
Friendly Planet was one of the first tour operators to offer online bookings. While their trips will immerse you in local culture, they don't do so at the expense of comfort. On top of that, their tour price basically includes everything -- flight as well on most trips! It’s rare to find an operator that does so, meaning that’s one less thing for you to worry about.
They also have 24/7 customer service support, which gives peace of mind while traveling to far-flung destinations. If something isn’t up to standards while on your trip, they’ll get in contact with the guide and fix it promptly.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Friendly Planet?
Friendly Planet is ideal for active travelers, interested in culture, history, food, and nature. Their small group trips attract a wide age range, while their value vacations tends to draw a younger, more budget-minded crowd.
Whether you’re a couple, small friend group, or solo traveler, you’ll find these trips to create the perfect setting for meeting new people. Groups sit between 11-24 people, striking the perfect balance between too many names to remember and “I have no one to talk to”.
Trips can vary from everything between daily casual strolls to strenuous hikes up snow-capped mountains. If you’re looking for a trip where you can put your physical limits to the test, Friendly Planet does have tours for trekking, mountain biking, and/or kayaking.
They offer trips in various parts of Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East, Mediterranean, Central America, and South America. Any trip you choose will have a mixture of classic sights and off-the-beaten path experiences.
If you’re the type that enjoys sightseeing and scenic views as much as bread-making lessons and local village visits, they’ll you’ll surely enjoy the tours that Friendly Planet has to offer.
While they do offer trips around the world, Asia, Europe, and Nepal tend to be popular with their customers. Their service, accommodations,organization, itinerary, and guides have the most quality consistency.
Friendly Planet Travel Style
Cultural immersion is a signature feature for Friendly Planet. On top of some sightseeing, they believe it’s about activities and meeting locals that elevate your trip. This could mean a visit to a local artisan village in India, or a walking tour through Old Havana on a tour to Cuba with Friendly Planet. Or a day of leisurely walking through the countryside - where you are surrounded by mountains, lakes, and a castle on a tour to Italy.
You’re always greeted in the morning with a buffet breakfast - so no need to worry about what to order when you’re still half asleep. Accommodations are always centrally located hotels that sit in the 3 or 4-star range.
While it may not always be the fanciest or upscale hotel, they’ll do for some relaxation time and a good night’s sleep. Expect to be using transportation such as private air-conditioned motor coaches, ferries, and coach buses.
They have 4 travel programs:
Small Group Tours: This is what is popular and what they’re most well-known for. With 11-24 people, you’ll get enough time to know everyone in your group and make new friendships. Small group tours are good for young travelers that want some days to be organized, and other days to be free and do as they please.
Value Vacation: For those on an ultra low budget, value vacations offers you the same great experiences, but with a larger number of people. There’s never more than 37, and tours are operated by tour partners. Note that their tours may also be shared with other passengers that weren’t arranged with Friendly Planet.
Independent Packages: If you’re the type that would rather not have a set itinerary, or would rather pick how much you want to do depending on your mood, then independent packages would be right for you. You have full flexibility, no schedule, and no tour guides - so you can make a pit stop at that hole-in-the-wall cafe you spotted while strolling through Santorini.
Crown Collections: For those who want to indulge, have more intimate groups, or luxurious experiences, Crown Collections is for you. Groups are maxed at 6, meaning you don’t have to wait an extra 20 minutes for your fellow travelers to finish up breakfast everyday. You’ll travel using the most upscale local transportation - such as the high-end Rovos Rail Train to venture from Pretoria to Cape Town. Spend the night in boutique hotels, and dine in restaurants where regional wines pair with every dish.
Custom Travel: Those wanting to book a trip exclusively with their friends, by themselves, a couple, or a large group - this is for you. Request a proposal and tell them what you want to do and where you want to go. It’s like having your own personal trip planner, so you can focus on spending quality time.
Why Choose a Tour with Friendly Planet?
If you thought you couldn’t go on tours because it’s cheaper to do it yourself - think again! Friendly Planet is the tour operator for those that are budget-focused, without sacrificing the experiences, good service, organization, and overall quality.
Once you’re on your trip, you have a dedicated emergency line that connects you to their managers in America (no matter what time of day/night it is). Additionally, they give back to the community and actively contribute to projects that promote education, clean water, human rights, wildlife protection, and more.
It should be noted however, that not everything is always guided by Friendly Planet tour guides because they outsource some of their trips. This means there are some potential issues that are out of their control. Depending on the destination, some partners are better organized than others. Not all of them are detail-oriented - they might miss small requests or change without notice.
A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.
What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?
These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.
They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.
The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.
Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.
While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.
They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style
Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.
Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.
Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.
All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.