Are private tours for you? I just finished an 11-day Central Europe Tour with JayWay Boutique Travel, and I’ve listed down things that one may expect when signing up for a personalised multi-country tour.
If you are reading this post, chances are you’re planning a trip to Central Europe and trying to decide whether to:
a.) Be adventurous and D-I-Y
b.) Go with the masses and book a group tour
c.) Go on a private tour where daily worries consist of where/what to eat next and what else to enjoy.
I recently finished an 11-day tour around Central Europe with JayWay Boutique Travel. (You may remember my days in Budapest, Slovakia, Krakow, Prague, and Karlovy Vary), so I thought I’d point out some of the vast differences and conveniences of going on a private and customised tour of this part of Europe versus the two other options (doing it yourself or going with the big buses)
1.) Planning is less intimidating
Ok, I knew I wanted to go to Central Europe. I knew I wanted to go to Budapest, Poland and Czech Republic. I wanted to see the famous must-see sights in each city. But I found it rather daunting to plan my actual itinerary especially as I’d never been in this part of Europe before.
Which city should I hit first? What kind of transportation? What route should I take? Those were just some of the major questions to consider.
With JayWay Travel, I received optimum pre-travel guidance. No question was too silly, repetitive or mundane. Everything was explained thoroughly and they always provided a reason WHY they suggested a route/ attraction or hotel. And the reasons are not confined to “Because it’s a popular sight”. The staff of JayWay travel really took the time to get to know our travel habits, personalities and preferences and based their recommendations out of that.
After months of discussion with JayWay Travel, this is what our tour route ended up looking like:
2.) There are no set itineraries or minimum number of travellers
Unlike group operators, JayWay Travel will depart when YOU depart, go where YOU want to go, and they do not have a minimum number of travellers required.
We were a party of two for this tour (myself and my other half) and this is where the massive difference is felt. No waiting for other people (or others waiting for you). Our time in Budapest, Krakow, Prague and High Tatras was ours alone.
3.) They have a broad selection of unique luxury hotels
Thanks to JayWay Travel, I was able to discover unique luxury hotels that have a lot of character. With JayWay Travel itself being a boutique company, they are also very choosy when it comes their hotel selection. No backpackers / hostels or inns, and no big “you’ve-seen-one-seen-them-all” chains as well.
The calibre of hotels that JayWay Travel uses exemplify their own service – luxurious, bespoke (personalised service) and most of all, fits our own travel personalities.
Where I stay is a Huge factor in my enjoyment of a city. Hotels are never “just a place you can sleep and stash your bags”. So I really appreciated the fine hotel choices that JayWay Travel made in this tour.
They do have various numbers of carefully selected hotels per city and you can ask them their honest opinions about the hotels, and in turn they will also recommend based on your preferences.
You can view my hotel reviews of where I stayed in each of the cities:
The Kempinsky Grand Hotel High Tatras (Slovakia)
4.) Transportation between cities are seamless
JayWay Travel prefers that their guests be taken from city to city (or country to country as this is Europe!) by private car. This is to ensure that everything will be on time.
In our 11 days, we only had 1 public transport (by train) between Poland to Prague and even then it was extremely convenient – we were brought to the train station and at the receiving train station we had a JayWay Travel staff waiting for us.
When I was still discussing and to-and-fro-ing with JayWay regarding my travel plans, there were times that I suggested to take the train (for the sheer novelty of it), and they would meticulously consider train time schedules – departures and arrivals, whether they would work with our planned itinerary.
I love how hands on JayWay Travel was with our trip and we really felt very safe crossing borders and going from one city to another.
5.) Your convenience is of utmost importance
In every city we toured, we were promptly met (and accompanied on most days of our stay) by JayWay Travel guides / person-in-charge in the city.
To call them tour guides would be an understatement. They are bright individuals who are all passionate about the city they live in (yes all of them are locals of each city).
Actually, the moment we arrived in Budapest, which is our first stop for the 11-day tour, I was given a local SIM card immediately for me to use to contact either Olga (Krakow), Kinga (Budapest), or Nataly (Prague). That was so convenient! The SIM worked in all countries we visited so it was definitely great to know that my JayWay contacts were just an SMS or a call away.
All of the JayWay local contacts / guides are quite knowledgeable and what I loved most is that not only do they know the history of each city, they also know the latest restaurants/ bars and what’s in (or out) in the city.
I have to admit, our 11 days with JayWay Travel spoiled us so much that by the end of our tour, it kind of felt strange to now take the train on your own, or explore the city by yourself.
Privately touring around Central Europe is a luxury that one must experience. It’s the sheer joy and carefree moments of not having to worry about train times or whether you are going the wrong way. It’s worry-free travel to the finest degree.
While I’ve also done a lot of D-I-Y travels in other European cities (and they are quite enjoyable too), for a multi-country tour, I really appreciated the ease of having another person take care of the ‘serious’ and logistic side of things and all you need to do is literally show up and have fun.
While it’s hard to imagine anyone not liking this kind of travel, I do need to point out that private tours are not for everyone. If meeting other travellers is one of the joys of travel for you, then perhaps you’re better off with a group tour. (Although, having said that, JayWay Travel also can combine, upon request, small parties of travellers who would like to meet and travel with other JayWay clients)
If you want a regimented tour that just touches on the surface of each city (ie generic tours) then you a group tour may be more suited for you.
If you are about to explore Central or Eastern Europe and you’ve never been before, and you don’t have the luxury of hours and days of planning this by yourself, and want expert and personalised service, this is for you.
If you like having that kind of personalised service that goes months or weeks prior to arrival until after the tour finishes, you will appreciate a private tour.
Our 11 days spent in 4 cities definitely didn’t feel rushed, and it didn’t feel too slow or long either.All of the attractions we visited and activities we did definitely felt as if it was made just for us. But this couldn’t have been just sheer coincidence. I know that this is a product of careful planning from JayWay Travel and creating an itinerary from scratch based on our personal taste.
In this age of missed connections, narrowly missed flights and disgruntled passengers in the travel industry, JayWay Travel manages to bring back that grandeur and ‘romance’ of stress-free travelling for 100% enjoyment.
Have you been on a private tour? If you could go on a private tour in any part of the world, where would it be?
Our blissfull 11 days in Central Europe has been provided by JayWay Travel. There is no obligation for a favourable review and all opinions, thoughts and sentiments are mine.