About Collette Tours

Founded by Jack Collette in 1918, Collette Tours is a family owned business that provides guided travel experiences across all seven continents, including land tours, river cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family trips, garden holidays and more. In other words, Collette claims to handle all the details, such as airlines, accommodations, transportation, meals, sightseeing and more, and all you have to do is enjoy the experience.

When choosing Collette Tours, the company offers 4 different types of touring experiences:

  • Explorations – With small groups of 12-24 passengers, these tours are intended to help you “capture the spirit of the destination” while enjoying local cuisine and even exploring on your own.
  • Family Travel – Tours specifically focused on providing your whole family with enjoyment, including some of the top local experiences, must-see sites, cultural activities, and family-oriented hotels.
  • Royal Horticultural Society – Claimed to help “garden enthusiasts and their fellow travelers gain privileged insider access to the world’s finest gardens,” while also exploring other must-see sites. With this option, you’ll also receive a 1-year gift membership to the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Spotlights – Shorter trips claimed to provide a blend of in-depth exploration and leisure time so that you’ll have the ability to connect with a destination’s daily life.

How to Choose Your Collette Tour

In order to begin your Collette tour, you’ll first need to select the region and country you’re interested in visiting through the home page, as well as your travel dates. You can also click the Find Your Tour link at the top of the company’s website, and then narrow your choices based on important factors such as group size, if the package focuses on museums, wine, national parks, etc., and more.

After you press the Search button, all results matching your criteria will be listed, including the name of the tour, a brief description, dates, the number of meals included, and starting prices. From here, you can find out more by clicking on the Tour Details or Request a Quote buttons.

Then, once you’ve found your perfect Collette Tour, you’ll have to provide your information to secure your spot, but then have your local travel agent assist you in making final reservations.

Sure, based on all the advantages that Collette Tours might provide during your traveling experience, it might seem like a no-brainer. But before you book your reservation, consider the following:

What is Guided Touring?

According to the Collette Tours website, the company acts as a tour guide and concierge throughout your trip, including “sightseeing, entertainment, admissions to museums and other venues, and hotels.”

In other words, Collette’s tour guide remain with you throughout your trip in order to make you more comfortable in your new surroundings, show you the sites, and to take care of any problems should they arise.

Who Might Benefit Most From Collette’s Guided Touring?

Although guided touring can provide many of the benefits mentioned above, it’s often best utilized for individuals traveling alone, for large groups or families, or simply for those that want a turnkey traveling experience. Also, guided touring can be ideal when visiting “off the map” locations such as Antarctica, where chartering planes and boats individually could present a huge hassle.

On the other hand, guided tours mean that you’ll be grouped with other people (sometimes a lot of other people), which might make the experience a little unwieldy, especially if you’re travelling with a group with different goals than yours. Also (as we’ll talk about in a moment), many of the guided tours might simply consist of driving past different landmarks in a bus going 30mph, which might not provide you with the personal experience you were expecting.

What Collette Tour’s Customers Are Saying

Collette Travel Services based out of Pawtucket, RI had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with 11 closed complaints (as of 4/9/15). Most of this appeared to reference difficulty obtaining refunds, although the company seems to have settled all complaints in an amicable manner.

Collette Tours also had a 2-star Yelp rating, with the most common complaints stating that travelers received budget-style accommodations and meals at luxury prices.

Numerous Collette customers also provided their feedback on this Fodors.com thread, most of which appeared to have been pleased with their experiences. As with Yelp reviews though, most of the negative comments seemed to revolve around low-quality hotels and dining.

There were also numerous customer reviews for Collette across several TripAdvisor forum threads. And while most travelers seem to have been pleased with their experience, the most common complaints were of panoramic (e.g. bus only) tours and of lower-than-expected accommodation quality.

Finally, 83 Collette customers provided feedback on Epinions, and rated the travel company an average of 3 stars. Common compliments included good tour guides, high-quality food and accommodations, and a pleasurable experience for the money. On the other hand, the most common complaints cited mis-scheduled flights and road transportation, and disorganized tours.

Collette Tours Pricing

What you’ll pay for your Collette Tour depends largely on your destination and the things you’d like to do while there, and can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars per person.

However, according to Collette, their planning services come with “volume buying power,” which means you can save up to 40 percent versus planning the same trip on your own. Also, if you’re planning to choose a Family Travel tour, Collette provides substantially discounted rates to children 14 and under.

Important note: Airfare to your destination is not covered under Collette’s package prices. In other words, their listed prices only include travel and accommodations once you’ve arrived at your final destination.

In order to speak with a Collette Tours representative to get a better idea of costs, you can contact one of their Travel Experts at 800-340-5158.

Should You Choose Collette Tours For Your Next Travel Adventure?

Chopping to the Point: If you’re traveling to a foreign country on your own, don’t enjoy researching travel plans, or just want a hand-off traveling experience, Collette Tours is a company that has been in business nearly 100 years, and the vast majority of their customers seem to have been pleased with their experiences. As such, it might be the case that you will too.

However, it appears that the most common complaints seem to revolve around poor quality lodging and food, although this seems to be heavily dependent on location.

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6 Customer Reviews for Collette Tours

Average Customer Rating: 3.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 3 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 0 1 stars: 3
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  • Italian Vista

    We booked an Italian Vista tour through Marriott Vacation Club. The tour was for May 24 - June 4, 2016. Since we were on a seven-day cruise, we didn't join the tour until the second morning, in Rome. All we really missed was the evening get-acquainted dinner the night before. Our cruise arrived at 6:00 AM. A car was waiting that took us right to the hotel. When we arrived they had our room keys ready, and we checked in and had time for breakfast. We were able to join the morning tour of Rome. I was in touch with the tour leader, Jose, by email and cell phone prior to joining the group. The tour itself was a great experience, and we will definitely use Collette again. They stay in nice hotels right near the places you want to be. The meals are very good, and the coach is comfortable. Jose, our guide was fabulous, and constantly provided helpful tips where ever we stopped. I became ill with bronchitis and Jose helped me get the medicine I needed. I celebrated a birthday during the tour, and he also provided a special birthday torte in recognition of my birthday. My wife and I stayed in Italy for another week after the tour, and Jose provided us with helpful information regarding train travel and sight-seeing. It was the best vacation of our lives (and we have had many).

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Alpine Countries tour

    I had a great experience with Collette. If you don't like buses choose a spotlight tour. Otherwise, how else are you supposed to get to all of those places? The tour guide I had was great. Flights were fine, food was what you would expect for Germany and Austria locale. I don't know what other people expect but I found this tour to be absolutely wonderful!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    3 Tours

    September 2015 I went on a UK, Scotland, Wales tour with Collette. We spent an inordinate amount of time sitting on a bus getting to your next destination.

    Our time at Stonehenge was too short. We did not have time need to appropriately explore the site.

    At the Cotswolds we were given 1 1/2 hours to site see and eat lunch. In order to see the sites at this location I was unable to eat lunch.

    In the towns that had museums we arrived too late in the day for them to be open and left too early in the morning to visit them.

    In Costa Rica we spent 2 days at a luxury resort instead of visiting cacao farms, pineapple plantations, banana plantations, or national parks.

    In NYC our time at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were very short. The tour manager lacked communication skills.

    On the three trips I have been on (UK, Costa Rica, and NYC), flight arrangements have been terrible. We fly in around midnight, it is another hour to the hotel, luggage has to be delivered, then we are expected to be ready to go and enjoy the day touring after 3 hours sleep.

    The tours I have been on have been poorly planned and put together by Collette. The choice of sites visited need review and certainly do not justify the miles traveled.

    Not knowing what to expect we relied on and trusted that Collette Tours would provide a meaningful and enjoyable tour. We were so wrong. I will not be recommending Collette to any of my friends.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Bella Italy

    Went on the Bella Italia tour April 16-April 24: Venice, Florence, and Rome.

    The trip was fantastic! I had never been on a guided tour before so didn't know what to expect.

    From start to finish our tour director did an excellent job of creating a real community feeling with our group.

    There was a great blending and balance of walking tours, shopping opportunities, and free time.

    The hotels we stayed in were very good, I think 4 star. The daily tour guides were excellent.

    I really enjoyed myself and so did my sister. We are already checking out trips for next year.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Collette Tours – Don't Do It. F-Rating.

    In October 2015, my husband and I took a bus tour of Ireland. This tour was offered through Marriott Vacation Club and provided by Collette Tours. What a rip off. What a waste of our Marriott points, time and money.

    It was advertised as a ten day tour when in actuality it was 6 and a half days. Your personal travel days, getting to and from the tour, are counted as tour days. Collette transfers getting you to and from the tour were $50 per person one way. We later learned that a taxi would have costs approximately $30 one way for your entire party. Quite a mark-up.

    The accommodations were three star at best; the tour guide seemed to have minimal personal knowledge of the tour/country, and in fact "read" her entire 6 day tour from her iPad. (Boring!) She often deflected questions she could not answer. At one point along the tour I looked to the back of the bus and found all other tour goers asleep or with their eyes shut.

    One day we spent 2+ hours traveling to what was highlighted as a working farm. Except for the chained up dog, there were no animals at this property, no sheep, no cows, no nothing! Further, there was no farm activity of any type, nor scent of farm. According to the owner of the property, the farm had not been operating for quite sometime.

    Another highlight of the tour was to visit a whiskey distillery and become "engaged in the process" of whiskey making. Well, no whiskey was made at the distillery. The operation, rather making of whiskey, had been moved to a different site many years prior. The only process you become engaged in is what you can imagine the process being from information disseminated by a distillery representative.

    You spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on a bus getting to your next destination. You fly by numerous sites and castles that you would have loved to see and perhaps take a photo.

    This tour was poorly planned and put together by Collette. The choice of sites visited need review and certainly do not justify the miles traveled.

    Not knowing what to expect we relied on and trusted that Collette Tours together with Marriott would provide a five star tour. We were so wrong.

    Upon our return we advised both Marriott and Collette management of our comments and concerns. Collette has taken a defensive position leaving one to assume they have no interest in change or improvement. Marriott is investigating our claims of misrepresentations, comments, and concerns.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Collette, a bad choice

    • colorado,
    • Sep 24, 2015

    If you're planning an upscale vacation, you can avoid this company. We just finished a "drive by" tour of UK and Ireland. All 42 of us were jammed into a BUS with an American guide who just regurgitated what she had read or she just read the info from her iPad. It was obvious she had little experience and only minimal local knowledge. We like to experience little local culture, humor, etc. When we travel we enjoy meeting local tour guides to enrich the experience. This almost never happened. The hotels were 3 stars with the most uncomfortable beds.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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