Brits thinking about touring with Tauck - Grand Canyon - Oct 2014 - any tips


Happy New Year

We are English but live in France and are considering the Tauck Grand Canyon small group tour in Oct 2014. We are not fans of organised tours, that said we love cruises, and hope that the Tauck tour is sufficiently personalised to interest us. We prefer dining as a couple rather than in big groups and are also thinking of combining the tour with three days in San Francisco - could someone advise as to the weather in GC in Oct, the individuality of the Tauck Tour, how busy the national parks are in Oct and suggestions on a 3-4 day extension eg. to San Francisco, please?

Festive Regards

Sandy and Gordon Ewing


  • Hello Sandy and Gordon, Well, I'm a Brit but have lived in the US for quite a long time now. We have travelled with Tauck to many worldwide destinations and would not travel with anyone else. I am going to answer this as if you are going to experience Tauck for the first time. We did this tour ourselves when are children were at home but when we did it years later on our own with Tauck it was so much better. They will get you to the right place at the right time, for example, they will get you to Grand Canyon so you can see the evening colors and then you will be there in the morning to see the morning colors. We saw all the sites in this area of the country far more efficiently than on our own. Note that the hotels are the best available for the location----so not the usual higher standard of hotel you normally get with Tauck because they are Park run hotels and seasonal. When we went on this tour Tauck did not use Four Seasons at either end of the Tour so this sounds better. I don't think going on a small group tour is worth the extra money, have never felt there were too many people. Eating as a couple perfectly possible unless it is one of the special days like the Welcome dinner. Bus--- seats are rotated, so no rush to get on the bus each day, everyone will get there turn at the front/back. Tauck always does some kind of unique experience you would not get on your own. Weather--- check out the weather section for the tour on the Need to Know and see what is comfortable for you. parks will definitely be quieter that time of year as kids in school. Cruise!!! --- you would never get me on a cruise unless I get around to going to Alaska. If you want more please reply
  • In addition--- the optional plane ride over Monument Valley excellent.
    San Francisco, you could do San Francisco city easily in 4 days, be sure to book an Alcatraz island visit very much in advance, I mean weeks, though it may be less busy that time of year. It could be cool weather. Wine Country quite a drive, would be a push to do in a day, I would stay in that area at least overnight and traffic at a weekend can be slow especially if you are trying to get back to the airport for a flight! Also, we never drink and drive so hard to enjoy a wine tasting. You have to eat some gourmet dinners in that area too and you have to book months in advance for the best restaurants. We have neighbors who did this area in the summer and they took all day bus trips to these places but they found the round trips back and forth to their city hotels a bit of nuisance.
  • Hi Sandy & Gordon,

    Happy New Year from Melbourne! (Honestly, I know very little about cricket.)

    I hear your unspoken questions. Before I embarked on my first Tauck trip in 2005 (18 down & 1 more on the books for this August) I had very similar questions, and qualms. I travel solo, so you can double those qualms. Simply because do I travel alone, I couldn't think of another way to see Yellowstone. That was my first Tauck trip. I had terrifying memories of English and European bus trips from my extreme youth that seem to match your worst nightmares! ;) One of the reasons I decided on Tauck that first time was … open and a la carte dining. I just could not face a long table at 5:30 pm and being told "this is what you are eating!" Urgh.

    Tauck won't do that to you. They stay at the best hotels available. (Of course, some parts of the world can't manage a Savoy, but's that's a different question!) You can dine which whom you like and when … given any restaurant reservation issues. You will have to pay for your own drinks at dinner. Tauck do build in free time and I have always found that if there is something that you particularly want to see or do, the TD on the ground will do their best to help. All tipping is included, and given the situation in the States, this is particularly important. You do have to tip for your drinks. I need a calculator. Sigh. On land trips, the tips for the Tour Director & Driver are not included. That is something you need to cover. Now, speaking as an Aussie who has the radical belief that employers should be the ones to pay the wages of their employees, I am here to tell you that only twice in those 18 tours did I meet a TD who didn't deserve a generous tip from me. Sandy & Gordon … I don't need to elaborate for you.;)

    A small group is a good idea. Particularly for ladies at comfort stops! It is what it is! Your bus will be a very comfortable vehicle and nothing like those cramped jobs the budget companies … okay … trafalgar, cosmos and their ilk use. (I don't think they deserve capital letters, really! ;) Tauck is definitely not like them! I haven't taken the Grand Canyon trip, but it's on my list because I really want to see Monument Valley. However, I have taken the longer, National Parks of the South West trip, which covers the Arizona, and southern Utah parks and canyons, (as per your proposal). It was … wonderful. I'm sure you will enjoy your chosen trip. As for the San Francisco extension, that's a definite must. It is a stunning city. You might consider adding on the Tauck Napa Valley & Sonoma trip if the dates work. That's quite a foodie trip. It may not be what you would first expect ;) but it really is a wine and food lovers' delight. In October, you will have autumn colours, even in the desert. You will need to pack layers, but it will be stunning. In SF, it will be balmy … an Indian summer, if you will. It is a lovely time to visit the City.

    Hope some of this help. Happy to answer any particular questions.


  • I am from England too, and although I have not done this trip I have done five others and can only echo the assurances of Jdurkin and British.
    We found Tauck by accident and nowadays would not do a tour with anybody else. Have no fears, you will be treated like Lords and Ladies, taken to the best places and above all have time to relax during the journey - but do remember the phrase which our first Tour Director impressed upon us that "this is a tour not a vacation". You have paid to be taken to the best places so you might need to rise early to get there. Apart from the greeting and final meals where everyone is naturally in a group, you are not obliged to dine in any group. Having said that, we have usually been either the sole Brits or perhaps one other couple on the tour but have always found great enjoyment (and maybe some occasional friendly banter) amongst predominantly US travellers. I am sure you would not be disappointed.
  • Hi Richard,

    I think I recall you posting elsewhere on the Forum that you took the Tauck trip to Australia & New Zealand? Or was that someone else … forgive me if I'm wandering. The vagaries of Melbourne weather can do that to a girl!

    Anyway, I'm sure that are lots of other Poms (said with love and fondness, mind!) plus Aussies and Kiwis out in cyber space who would be very interested in your particular thoughts on a trip Down Under … a trip written and designed by Americans primarily for an American demographic. If I am recalling correctly (!!) you said you had a fabulous time. I would really like to hear your British (that covers a lot of bases ;)) perception of the trip. Tauck pack quite a few icons into a very short time. I always advise people to spend more time in the region … to perhaps make this first trip a trailer for a longer or subsequent visits. Either way, I always advice overseas visitors to arrive a few days early and stay a few days longer.

    Could you share some of your thoughts, please? You will need to re-label you post under this Travel Tips thread or perhaps re-post under Australia & New Zealand. It's hard enough to find an older post as it is! I know, life wasn't meant to be easy. Huh. Said by an Irishman and misquoted by an Aussie. Even clever as he was, GBS didn't anticipate the internet!

    Looking forward to your reply,


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