All sorts of wondering...

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All sorts of wondering...

Postby operated » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:10 pm

I recently went to flightcentre to inquire about trip ideas for a break I have in August from school. They recommended to me GAP and a trip to Costa Rica - which I was immediately interested in (and pretty much ready to book). However, in talking with my parents the other night (as I'd be travelling alone) they brought up a good point: what are some people reviewing/saying about this travel company?

Now, I know every person's experience is different - what one man's hell is another man's heaven - but I couldn't help but notice the large amount of negative reviews / things people have to say about their GAP experience around the internet.

It's enough for me to not book. I'm a student, and if I do book the trip I'm looking at, it is going to cost me all of my savings. I can deal with spending my savings on something worthwhile, but I now have this niggling feeling that I'm taking a gamble to spend $2,000 on something that may or may not be a good experience. I've also never travelled alone before, so I will be feeling a little insecure in a place where I don't speak the native language.

I know I can't base my decision on what somebody says on the internet, but at the same time there are quite a few somebodies all saying similar things - their CEO disappeared frequently, the intineraries written for the tour weren't followed because there was no time available for certain activities, CEOs don't get paid on a frequent basis and therefore don't care too much about their tours/groups - the list goes on.

On the other hand, there are other people who are saying their trip/experience was incredible. So I'm a little torn.

I guess some of my main questions are:
- Is it possible to find out who the CEO is for a specific trip before a person books it?
- How does GAP ensure all of the tours offered go well (outside of uncontrollable events like weather etc)?
- Does GAP / how does GAP ensure the CEO is doing their job properly? (I know these are admin type questions which might not be answerable but I thought I'd ask anyway)
- What happens if my experience with GAP is bad?
- If I do book a trip can I find out beforehand how many people have booked for that trip as well (as I'd prefer to be with a bigger group)?
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby francine_16 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:42 pm

I have taken several trips with GAP. Some have been better then others. Unfortunately, when a group of strangers get together there is a possiblity that not everyone will get a long. So like you I enjoy having a bigger group(12-16) because you are bound to find someone you get along with in the group. I have called GAP when getting to book a trip and they have said how many people were already booked on the trip. Only on one occasion was I unhappy with the group numbers on the tour I took.

As for your question about GAP staff I have had mostly positive experiences. I had one GAP guide that I was unhappy with, but he did not ruin the trip for the group.

Yes, spending this kind of money as a student is a lot to do, but I can only tell you my first GAP trip was to Costa Rica and I had a great time. I have continued to travel with them.

Travelling solo the first time can be nerve racking, but for me soon as I got to the group meeting in Costa Rica all the nerves went away and I had a great trip.

There are always going to be negative comments on all companies on the internet.
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby IncaTrail50 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:44 pm

People are more likely to post a negative review rather than a positive one, needing to vent. If you check the main "Watering Hole" page you'll see that there are over 70,000 users here. The overwhelming majority of posts here have been positive, leading me to believe in my four+ years here that people are happy and have had good experiences with GAP. In addition, when I've inquired to travel agents about various trips they tell me that for these types of trips GAP is tops. There will always be dissenters, sometimes things go wrong, some guides are better than others. You will only be alone until you get to the hotel. Once there you will meet others who are part of the group in your tour, most people with GAP have similar outlook on life. On our trips the tour breaks into smaller groups to take part in optional activities based on interest. English is the second language in many other countries so you should be fine. I always buy the Lonely Planet phrase book for whatever country I am visiting. It not only has some everyday phrases in whatever language but also lots of other cultural information as well as dos and don't for each country. It is also a handy resource while you travel in case you need to find an important phrase to seek help!
I think you'll be fine booking with GAP. They've been really good for a lot of us here!
I will never let my dreams just be dreams.
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby desiree2 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:32 pm

Hi
I agree with Inca Trail about people posting negative comments - most people are quick to complain, but not as quick to praise. I've been on 4 GAP trips and have enjoyed every one of them. For the most part, it's definitely the group that can make or break a trip which is totally out of GAP's hands. Research your destination as much as possible to make sure it's really what you want (whether that's partying all night and sleeping all day, or visiting every single site mentioned in LP - or both if you're the hardy type!).
Go on your trip with a positive attitude, tackle any problems with humour, view other people's idiosyncrasies with a grain of salt (you'll only be with them for a few weeks) and think of the great stories you'll have to tell back home.
Travelling is one of the best experiences a person can have.
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby jimshu » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:06 pm

Go on your trip with a positive attitude, tackle any problems with humour, view other people's idiosyncrasies with a grain of salt (you'll only be with them for a few weeks) and think of the great stories you'll have to tell back home.

Have to agree with the above.
I think one point to make is this- you yourself are the key to whether you have a great trip or not. Don't be passive and go on a trip expecting the world's greatest CEO's or other co-travellers to make your day. You make it yourself. It's your trip, you paid plenty for it. And if your CEO or other travellers are perhaps less than they should be, get over it, get on with it, and still enjoy it as much as you can and don't let anyone ruin it for you.
Last trip to Ethiopia, we had roads washed out, delays, detours, frustrations, but you won't see me complaining about that, because it made the trip that much more memorable, exciting and provides much more dinner party conversation than the trips where everything went smoothly.
Just got back from safari in Botswana- head on smash, eyeballing elephants from 2 metres away, wandering in the dark with 4 lions around us...and I can't wait to go back! I had a whale of a time.

Travel is what you make it, not what a CEO does.

Have a great trip!
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby operated » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:37 pm

thank you guys for your replies (i rhymed!) :wink: now I just have to get through convincing myself that spending about $2,000 on 8 days is justified. the money hoarder in me is saying keep the money!!! though....it is 8 days of travelling about, doing cool stuff, seeing things etc as opposed to spending $1500 on a week at an all inclusive resort with my butt parked on the beach.....

decisions, decisions
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby IncaTrail50 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:37 pm

operated wrote:thank you guys for your replies (i rhymed!) :wink: now I just have to get through convincing myself that spending about $2,000 on 8 days is justified. the money hoarder in me is saying keep the money!!!


Make yourself a nice tropical drink, wander to your back yard/balcony, lie down and close your eyes. Doing this you can imagine you are on any beach in the world. It doesn't work the same staring at your fence/balcony railing and imagining it's an active volcano, bull elephant, zipline in the canopy, or a crocodile trying to gnaw off your leg. :shock: It's how I justify my travel. If I can close my eyes and achieve almost the same effect as being there then I'm not paying to go there. I want the jaw-dropping vacation where I can't even begin to describe what the heck happened! :lol:

ps - don't mention the crocodile to your parents :wink:
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby lorrie jay » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:31 am

Travel (not being a tourist, not vacationing, not commuting) is always definitely worth it- good, bad, uncomfortable, relaxing, inspiring, jolting, disconcerting, surprising, tasty, memorable, risky, challenging, fleeting and oh so addicting...that's travel! Oh and I've been to Costa Rica twice(not with Gap) and had two great experiences with two very different itineraries(one tour company- one independent).
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Re: All sorts of wondering...

Postby georginal » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:46 pm

Travel is an experience, and luckily for some of us, a way of life. I think you either want to get out and do it, or stick somewhere in the safety of home and possibly never see much else of what the world has to offer. Its also about attitude, and whether you want to just experience a particular place or country whilst on holiday or totally embrace it and stick with it thick or thin, in sunshine or hail, snow and rain - thats the bit that travel is all about. Personally I think when you have the opportunity to do it, you should, you never know when circumstances at home will change and you haven't got that opportunity anymore.

I have spent the last 5 years working in the travel industry in Europe in the summer and then travelling in the winter and have also travelled over 5 different continents. I have only ever take one Gap trip and I can honestly say its the best tour I have ever done. All 3 of those CEO's can come and work for me any day! Of course there's a small possibility that you may get someone who isn't that great, as I have also expereiced, but only once and that was with another tour company.

As for the money, I've always traveled alone because my friends would prefer spend their money on expensive hotels and taxi rides - things I see unnecessary as I use my money in such a way that it goes further i.e.Youth hostels instead of hotels. In other words, its my money and I'm going to spend my hard earned cash the way I want to - and not have to compromise, or disagree whilst we're away!

Of course I'm going to say go ahead and book and don't miss the opportunity when its arisen. Enjoy and maybe give us some feedback, its an area that I'm looking at for my next travels!
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