Hop on the Bus – Terrapin Tours Makes It Easy To Try Touring By Bus

Featured in Prime Living, Nov 2014

As winter is fast approaching and we all settle in for the long cold months ahead, one thing that can keep us warm are thoughts of new adventures once the weather warms and the travel season begins!  In previous articles, I have discussed the reasons to join a group tour and how to choose one that is right for you – now it’s time to talk about all the fun places to go and great things to see.

Let’s start with a quick overview of what has already been discussed – that making the decision to “Hop on the Bus” and join a group tour is a GREAT decision.  It is not something to dread - it doesn’t mean that you are old, grumpy or unable to travel on your own.  It means that you are excited to meet new people, travel to new destinations, and are willing to share the experience with others.   It also doesn’t need to conjure up images of being herded around in a mass – that’s old school!  Join the “new school” and help Terrapin Tours show the world what today’s group traveler is all about – because we know that today’s seniors are more active, more adventurous, and just more fun!

WHERE TO START? Those who haven’t been on a tour (or have been on a bad one) envision being dragged from one attraction to another in a herded mass, trapped on a bus with a bunch of grumpy people, and being kept on a strict time schedule with limited, if any, free time each day. Terrapin Tours is doing everything possible to change how bus tours are perceived and how they operate.  If group travel is new to you, it may be a good idea to test the waters with a day trip to a nearby destination.  It is a great way to learn more about a local tour company, meet other travelers, and get a sense of what it is like to travel on a group tour without committing to a longer tour.  It’s kind of like going out for coffee on a first date rather than dinner – just testing things out before making a bigger commitment.

Day trips are easy and don’t require a huge commitment – you don’t need to pack for an overnight, no need to kennel your pets, and you won’t have to listen to your roommate snore after a long day of traveling.   Enjoying a clambake on the coast of Maine, seeing a Broadway show in Boston, or enjoying the spectacular scenery in Vermont are all easy day trips from New Hampshire and are a great way to awaken your inner wanderlust.

THE NEXT STEP… If your first “coffee date” with a group tour was a good experience and you are ready to move on to bigger and better things – it’s time to hop on the bus for a multi-day tour.  Hopefully you have learned that being a passenger on a bus tour means no driving, no planning, no tough decisions… no stress for you!

Shorter tours (2-6 days) are great for the quick getaway – they are less expensive than longer tours; they offer destinations that are further away but shouldn’t require too many hours of driving (or riding); and they are a good way to ease into longer tours.  They can be relaxing or you can pack a lot into a few days – it depends on your style.  We know that traveling is a great way to stay active and to continue learning later in life and many nearby destinations offer scenery, history and culture while being somewhat close to home.  Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Quebec City, Boothbay Harbor, Ottawa, and Washington, DC are all easy to travel to from New Hampshire and make perfect short tours.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE LONG HAUL?  Have you always dreamed about seeing the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island? Can you imagine standing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry? Have you pictured yourself wearing a Kentucky Derby Hat in Louisville while sipping on a Mint Julep?  Would you like to feel the power of Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist cruise? How about taking a walk into history by following a bagpiper and sentry into the Citadel in Halifax?

If any of those ideas spark your interest, you are probably ready for the long haul! If you are comfortable traveling for a week or more by bus, there are countless destinations within your grasp.  This is when it becomes important to choose a company that is right for you.  At Terrapin Tours, we understand that while today’s seniors are more active, more adventurous, and are savvier when it comes to travel they also want to take things at a slower pace.  We feel that it is important to take time at the destinations that we visit rather than simply hopping off the bus, checking off the attraction on a list, and hopping back on to head off to our next destination.  I have learned that people would prefer to see less, but experience more.  Taking a little more time at each destination and also giving people some free time each day to do what they please has been the key to Terrapin’s success.  Our tours give you time to stop and “smell the roses” at each destination and are not designed to pack in so many activities that you are too exhausted to enjoy any of them.

Longer tours also enable passengers to get to know each other better – there are more chances to socialize and time on the bus to learn more about your fellow travelers.  Encouraging camaraderie amongst the group is an integral part of a successful tour and I believe that it is one of the reasons that traveling with Terrapin Tours is so much fun!

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP YET? With all of this in mind, start thinking about all the places that you would like to see.  As the temps are dropping, we are planning our 2015 tours.  That means you can book a tour and you will have something to look forward while waiting for the snow to melt!

WHERE ARE WE OFF TO NEXT? Next spring we are offering an array of tours from New Hampshire to cure the post-winter blahs!  In March we are heading to Charleston and Savannah as part of our “Southern Coastal Experience”, in April we will experience Nantucket’s annual Daffodil Festival, and in May we will journey to Niagara Falls & Mackinac Island.  The summer and fall will bring tours to the Coast of Maine, Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, the 1,000 Islands region, and Washington, DC.  We will wrap up the year with our annual holiday tour to New York City.   Additional tours will be announced throughout the year.

ONE LAST NOTE… At the end of the day, traveling is a very personal experience.  Traveling with a group has always been a great option for me – I love the camaraderie that comes with traveling with a group of strangers that become friends; I love sharing the experiences along the way with fellow travelers; and I love sitting down at the end of the day and sharing stories of our adventures.  My passion for group travel is helping me create a new kind of travel - a group tour where after you take that “first step” and get on the bus, you are in for a fun-filled adventure, not some stuffy old bus tour.  So hop on the bus with Terrapin Tours….you won’t regret it!

Kelly Cooke is the Owner of Terrapin Tours, loves traveling and has almost 20 years experience in the travel industry. You can learn more about Terrapin Tours and the exciting places we will be visiting in 2015 on our website www.TerrapinTours.com or by calling 603-348-7141.