A guided vacation may be one of the most relaxing ways to see—and really experience—the world. But misconceptions linger. If you think you just gaze at the scenery from a motor coach window or that you won’t have free time to explore on your own, think again.
Today’s guided vacations connect travelers with unique experiences, destinations and people. And it’s something AAA travel partner Trafalgar has been expertly doing for more than 70 years.
Trafalgar has been the leader in changing the definition of guided vacations by crafting each trip with meaningful accommodations (like centuries-old castles and historical homesteads) and socio-cultural highlights that bring travelers into the homes of locals through their Be My Guest experiences. Plus, with Trafalgar’s expert Travel Directors leading the way, you can leave the guidebooks at home. Your Travel Director is the ultimate local, passionate about the places they share and fulfilling your travel dreams—they take care of your every need to create a seamless experience for you.
These five Trafalgar guided vacations show the range of amazing places you can go—combined with the member-exclusive benefits offered by AAA—and the advantages of traveling with an experienced guide.
1. National Parks Wonders
This nine-day journey takes you past the icy peaks of the Grand Tetons and the bubbling mudpots of Yellowstone National Park as well as through some of the American West’s most stunning landscapes. Spend a full day exploring Grand Teton National Park on your own, and an aerial tram ride to the peak of Rendezvous Mountain. Witness Old Faithful’s waters arc high into the air, as they do about every 90 minutes, and gain insight into this geothermal wonder. Learn about Native American Heritage from Stephen Yellowhawk, who is working to preserve it, as he shares his tribe’s history through dance and song.
Trafalgar guided vacations advantage: Stay inside Yellowstone National Park at one of its signature lodges, a rare opportunity, as you’ll often find the lodges booked up to a year in advance if you try to reserve on your own.
2. Costa Rica Eco Adventure
Learn the secrets of Pura Vida as you explore Costa Rica’s inimitable zest for life and biologically diverse national parks. While you experience volcanoes, rainforests and lush waterways, keep a keen eye out for howler monkeys, toucans and sloths before indulging in local specialties of gourmet chocolate, heart of palm and more. You’ll have the chance to add a little adventure with optional experiences such as rafting, kayaking and lava-flow hikes.
Trafalgar guided vacations advantage: Connect with locals and contribute to the local community when you join the Quintana family for a Be My Guest lunch at their eco-friendly hacienda in Arenal.
3. Scenic Scandinavia and Its Fjords
Beyond the fjords, glaciers and islands that dot the Scandinavian coastline, the distinctly different cultures of Norway, Sweden and Denmark make for a fascinating journey of discovery. You’ll delve into them all on this 14-day experience that stops in Copenhagen, Lillehammer, Oslo and Stockholm (with a free day to explore each). You’ll also have dinner with a Norwegian family on their livestock farm that dates to the 1500s and ride the renowned Flam Railway past verdant forests, sparkling waterfalls and mountain vistas.
Trafalgar guided vacations advantage: Three countries and nine hotels, with motor coach, ferry and train rides—a two-week journey like this would be complicated to plan on your own. With Trafalgar, you choose the destination, and they take care of the rest. With the essentials, logistics and special highlights and experiences, you get the very best out of the places you visit.
4. Irish Highlights
This seven-day jaunt around the Irish countryside begins in Dublin, where a local guide takes you on a sightseeing tour with views of Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and more. From Dublin, continue your journey around the Emerald Isle with castle tours, the breathtaking 700-foot-tall Cliffs of Moher and an excursion through the Ring of Kerry—with its emerald hills, centuries-old stone villages and vivid seascapes. Also share a pint and some craic with new friends as you feast on traditional Irish fare with an Italian twist during a Be My Guest dinner at Glenealy Farmhouse.
Trafalgar guided vacations advantage: Learn about the incredible and distinct Irish culture with hand-selected highlights like the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience, where you can explore the tragic history of Ireland’s famine emigration. Also visit the renowned House of Waterford Crystal, where you can take a workshop tour and see how the delicate crystal is crafted.
5. Essence of South Africa
Cosmopolitan cityscapes and wine tastings meet windswept savanna and wildlife sightings on this 10-day tour of Africa’s southernmost country. Take a cable car to the top of majestic Table Mountain, glimpse penguins on the Cape Peninsula and sip wine at an 18th-century winery. Game drives promise peeks at Africa’s most sought-after animals, including lions, giraffes, elephants and zebras. And a stop in Johannesburg chronicles South Africa’s turbulent history at the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto.
Trafalgar guided vacations advantage: As part of Trafalgar’s Stays With Stories, spend the night at Becks Safari Lodge in Karongwe Private Game Reserve and contribute to the area’s environmental sustainability and community development—it’s bound to be one of the undisputed highlights of your trip.