In this podcast interview, Allen talks with Les Cox of Albatross Tours. He’s been in the travel industry for a long, long time, and what he doesn’t know is not worth knowing.
Born and bred in East London, left after school to join the Royal Navy which he was in for 5 years and which he loved and gave him his first taste of travel.
He first job after the navy was driving a bus, which led him to driving coaches around Europe.
Deciding he needed to see more of the world, he and his friend did so, and they eventually ended up in Australia.
They decided to stay. Les joined Trafalgar Tours as a state manager in Victoria. He then moved to Sydney and took up the role as the Managing Director of Contiki Holidays; the youth specialist, for 10 years.
He then joined AAT Kings as Managing Director for 8 years.
He then retired and moved back to Melbourne.
Albatross Tours approached Les to work with them, and knowing and liking their product he did.
What is so exciting about travelling with Albatross Tours?
Europe is an amazing place to travel, and travelling through Europe in coach with any Australian company you’re going to have a good time.
The difference is in the style of operation.
The big differences are:
1. Albatross Tours don’t take large groups
Maximum is 28 people. Average is 22. They don’t cram the 22 people onto a 25-seater coach. They still use a full-size 45 seater coach.
It’s a very comfortable way to see Europe.
2. Lengthy, flexible stays
The biggest difference is that most coach tour companies do what Les calls, ‘tick-the-box’ touring. You visit a place, see a couple of sites, tick the box, and move on. Stay 1 night, 2 nights, 1 night, etc.
However, to really get to know a place you need some time there. With Albatross you get at least 2 nights at places, most stops are for 3 nights, and there’s even some 4 night and 5 night stays.
In that period of time you can really get to know a place, and very importantly you also get plenty of free time to do your own exploration.
3. Everything included. No hidden extras
Another key difference is that Albatross Tours include everything. There are no hidden costs.
With 99% of other coach tour companies, you get to Europe and then you get hit with a ton of optional tours.
You also get hit with a ton of tips; tips for tour drivers, tour managers, local guides, etc.
Albatross’s preference is to say, “if something is worth seeing, it’s included”.
There are no optional tours. You know what you’ve paid for upfront. There are no tips. It’s all paid for in your holiday price upfront.
Basically, all you have to do is worry about what you’re going to have for lunch, and whatever dinners are not included. They include about 80% of dinners so it makes it very easy to budget. It’s a very relaxed pace. It’s a nice small group which makes it even more relaxing and thus it’s not so much a tour as a European holiday.