Monday, October 8, 2007

A Taste of China - Friendly Planet Tour

I wasn't sure which one was better, Friendly Planet or Smartours. A friend had took a honeymoon trip to Australia last year thru Smartours. She enjoyed it so much with the tour that she booked another vacation with Smartours to some parts of Asia. She said the hotels were pretty good. The prices definitely seem reasonable and it's so convenient b/c everything is planned for you, including airfare on some tours. I know how much a headache it is to plan a vacation since I've planned many on my own. The prices for Friendly Planet & Smartours (give or take $100) were about the same for the tour I was interested in to China (10 day trip to Beijing (5 nights), Xian (3 nights) and Shanghai (2 nights). I was interested in March 19-28 tour which was priced at $1399 ($300 discount if booked by Nov 2), including airfare from Los Angeles/all transporation, hotel and 12 meals. Additional fees:

Taxes and Fees: $120
China Visa: $130
Optional Travel Insurance: $129
Airfare schedule on Air China

LAX to Beijing: 12:40 am to 5:40 am (next day) 12.40 hours
Shanghai to Beijing: 4:55 pm to 7:30 pm 2.35 hours
Beijing to LAX: 9 pm to 5 pm (same day) 12 hours.

Total: $1779. Still sounds cheap.