travel tour organized badly Thomas Cook

Pic courtesy: Shuttlestock

Recently the elder son went to Malaysia after claiming the prize he won by winning the city round of the quiz. The contest was hosted by Thomas Cook. Now, personally I do not go for organized trips with travel agencies unless it is planned by my sister’s agency so I was curious to see the experience that my son would have.

For starters, the person that I interacted with really had very little knowledge of visa procedure. He made us do unnecessary paperwork though I told him explicitly that it would not be required in my son’s case. But I see that inefficiency is the name of the game when it comes to large travel planners. Recently, I had a bad experience with a large travel firm that botched up my visa for a brand collaboration travel. Forget being aware of visa procedures, they have a lackadaisical approach to travel. Anyhow, we did as we were told and as I had predicted all the paperwork was returned in a week’s time.

Then the son set off for the trip along with a classmate and a teacher. Other children and teachers from different cities were going to be joining them in Kuala Lumpur. First, they booked in the cheapest airline possible and no meal both ways. Then on the day when they arrived early morning, no breakfast or even check-in to the hotel was on the cards even as they arrived at 6 am local time hardly catching any sleep as they had a late night flight. The kids had to buy their own breakfast and freshen up at the airport before taking off for sightseeing that early in the morning. They were also put up in one of the cheapest/budget hotels possible with 3 people sharing a room. The less said about the facilities the better.

The breakfast included in the hotel tariff had a grand total of 4-5 items on the menu mostly inedible. While the sightseeing with an a/c coach was fine, the kids were left for long hours at malls/outlets/shops, which was clearly for the sake of commission. One redeeming factor was that they had a swift process to reach out to their emergency contact/tour guide when needed.

And as their return flight to Bangalore was again at night, they were checked out of the hotel at 12 and just dropped off at the airport. Fend for your lunch and dinner as again no meal was booked on the flight and nothing was given at the airport.

Overall, while it was an experience for the son to travel on his own, the overall management of the tour reeked of cheapness and less thought. If Thomas Cook was looking to win some brownie points, I can assure you that it did not. Since children were traveling to a foreign country, a bit more sensitivity while planning would have helped. After all it is the small touches which add to the comfort and delight of a travel experience. This, however, was a travel tour organized badly. Sadly it was an exercise in saving money more than giving memories to last a lifetime.

Have you experienced anything similar with your child’s trip?

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25 Thoughts on “A Travel Tour Organized Badly

  1. This sounds terribly mismanaged! I wouldn’t have expected this of Thomas Cook at all. How did Sid manage his food then? Poor chap. I’d have been livid if something similar had happened with my own kid. Did you take this up with the contest organisers? I am sure they must be held at least partly accountable, if not wholly.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Father’s Day and what it means to meMy Profile

    • Yes, l had expected better from someone like Thomas Cook. Oh, Sid was comfortable. We had given him enough funds to buy what he needed at the airport. Besides l had packed a lot of bars and snacks for him. Luckily, he has traveled overseas and is more savvy. But l would prefer that kids’ itineraries be better planned than this. Besides when you are already spending good money why not spend a little more and make the experience memorable. Overall, Sid enjoyed the entire experience with these minor hiccups.

  2. Lata Sunil on June 20, 2016 at 9:13 am said:

    OH.. This is so terrible. Imagine the kids left to fend for themselves. It sounds like terrrible experience.

    • It wasn’t a terrible experience. Most parents had sent enough money and provisions with their children to ensure that they bought what they needed. But definitely the experience could have been enhanced.

  3. This must have been a terrible experience for the kids. I have never been on a trip planned by travel agencies and your experience makes me more wary of the same.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…Do I make sense? #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  4. I appreciate the fact that they gave safety a priority since so many kids were involved. I guess they treated them like adults when it came to meals, etc. That is why these packages are never worth taking. They sound alluring but in the end you end up sacrificing a whole lot.
    Nisha recently posted…ConversationsMy Profile

    • Yes, l appreciated that as well. And l guess they treat 14 year old as adults but they are not. It is especially more difficult when one is overseas. Despite the shortcomings, the son had a good time. Perhaps a good experience to know how to handle budget travel. This was the son’s prize and hence there was no way he wasn’t taking this trip. I guess l was more irked with the lack of thought that went in the planning. Besides it was a great opportunity to rope in a large audience for themselves had they planned the tire better.

  5. With kids one has to be so careful, specially when it comes to food and health. Yes, a little more sensitivity would sure have helped. This is all new to the kids and at 14 they would hardly know much. I guess the kids were more lost in the excitement of visiting a new country but for parents, they must be so worried when they get to hear this.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The search for a Perfect Domain NameMy Profile

  6. Gosh! that sounds terrible. how can they get away with such poor planning? What if children had fell sick or something. You must forward your post to Thomas Cook and have them explain.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…Your Dreams #MicroblogMondaysMy Profile

  7. That doesn’t sound too good. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the kids. I think the tour planners didn’t realise that they had a bunch of kids with them rather than adults who would manage such situations. Kids need a bit more care specially when they out of their comfort zone in a foreign country.

    • True, Tulika. Considering that it was a contest hosted by them they should have been better prepared. Besides when they sent the itinerary to us, we thought they would take care of issue like meals etc. but they seemed more interested in saving money. I was quite upset! It makes you mad especially when you’re child is involved.

  8. Uff! That sounds pretty awfully managed. But also sounds like Sid enjoyed the whole trip, despite the hiccups. Of course, that’s not to say that thomas Cook shouldn’t take any responsibility.
    Hope they see your feedback and get things sorted asap.
    Sid recently posted…Why don’t you listen to me?My Profile

  9. That’s really bad! I avoid packaged tours for the same reason. If not for our memories, they should have at least cared for their own reputation. A little more detailing and depth in planning on their part would certainly have gone a long way.
    Arti recently posted…Places to visit in Rameshwaram: Floating Stones Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple.My Profile

  10. That sounds bad.
    And when it is a kids’ trip, more care should be put into it.

  11. That is too bad. I have given up packaged tours long long back.
    Congrats to Sid on the prize, the experience could have been better… but kids do manage to have fun I guess.

  12. We’ve always engaged with a travel agency for long tours, we think it better that way when we are in a new unfamiliar place. An unorganized foreign trip seems too bad. But at least your son is a lot more independent after the tour I suppose? It is still a great experience.
    Dashy recently posted…I Am Enough – #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

    • I guess that is the reason why most people use organized tours though I personally prefer to plan them myself. An unorganized foreign trip is indeed bad. I will be sure not to approach Thomas Cook for any of my tours in the future. A good experience despite them I would say.

  13. One needs to be careful with children’s travel.
    Thomas Cook is now English only with name.

  14. That’s really really really bad, not offering basic meals and refreshments to kids. But these organised tour companies are known to do things like this. We know someone who booked a 5 day travel. The flights left at 11:30 pm and that day day was counted as one of the 5!

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