Founded in 1984, Gate1 Travel is one of the largest independent leisure travel companies in the United States. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gate1 offers customized, affordable vacation packages and river cruises to destinations around the world.
The company was started in 1984 by two friends who shared a passion for travel. They focused on group travel packages to Europe and grew the business over the next decade. By 1995, Gate1 Travel had become one of the top 10 travel companies specializing in European group travel packages in the United States.
In 2008, the company was acquired by Liberty Interactive Corporation, giving it the resources to expand its travel offerings. Gate1 began offering independent travel packages in addition to group travel. It also expanded to include destinations beyond just Europe, such as Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and the South Pacific.
Gate1 Travel offers a wide selection of independent and group travel packages as well as European river cruises. It serves over 500,000 travelers annually and provides vacation packages to over 100 countries around the world. With over 35 years in business, Gate1 has become a reputable and trusted name in affordable travel.
Gate1 Travel Packages
Gate1 offers a variety of travel packages to suit different interests, budgets, and styles. Some of their most popular package types include:
Escorted Tours – These are group tours with a tour director who handles all logistics. Gate1 offers escorted tours by bus, train, or boat to destinations across Europe, the USA, Canada, Central America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Tour lengths range from 4 to 21 days.
Independent Packages – Also known as vacation packages, these allow you to travel independently without a tour group or director. Gate1 will book transportation, hotels, some meals, and sightseeing, but you explore on your own. Independent packages are available for European destinations.
River Cruise Packages – Gate1 offers river cruises along major rivers like the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Rhone, Dutch waterways, Nile, Amazon, and more. River cruise packages include transportation to the cruise, lodging on the ship, meals, onboard entertainment, and stops for sightseeing.
Special Interest Tours – Gate1 has specialty tours focusing on themes like food and wine, cultural events, active adventures, family travel, religious pilgrimages, and more. These are customized group tours for travelers with shared interests.
City Stays – As the name suggests, these packages allow you to deeply explore major cities like London, Paris, and Rome. City stays range from 3–7 nights with a hotel, transportation, some meals, sightseeing, and flexible itineraries.
Custom Packages – Gate1 offers custom package designs for groups, weddings, special events, school trips, and more. You can customize the details to your preference.
Gate1 packages include transportation, lodging, some meals, tour director services, luggage transfers, sightseeing tours, travel insurance, and other amenities to conveniently bundle your trip.
Most Popular Gate1 Destinations
Gate1 offers escorted tours and vacation packages to destinations all around the world. According to Gate1’s website analytics and customer surveys, some of their most popular destinations include:
Italy – Gate1 is well-known for its guided tours of Italy, especially multi-city trips visiting destinations like Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, and more. Italy consistently ranks as one of their top-selling destinations. Popular packages include 10-day trips focusing just on Italy or combination trips also visiting Switzerland, France, or Greece.
Spain – Bucket list trips to Spain are another Gate1 specialty. They offer vacations to exciting cities like Barcelona and Madrid, as well as southern Spain’s Andalusia region. Guest favorites often include flamenco dinner shows, sherry wine tastings, and walking tours showcasing Spanish architecture and art.
Ireland – Emerald Isle vacations with Gate1 let travelers experience the legendary Irish countryside, folklore, and hospitality. Packages include stays at castles as well as visits to cultural sites like the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, and the famous Blarney Stone.
China – Gate1 provides an insider’s look at China with English-speaking local tour guides. Top tours visit unforgettable attractions like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, and more. With decades of experience, they handle China’s logistics and transportation, so travelers can fully immerse themselves.
Greece – Whether it’s a trip dedicated to just Greece or an Aegean Odyssey combination package, Gate1 offers the chance to walk in the footsteps of ancient Greeks. Their Greek tours include the Athens Acropolis, Delphi, charming islands like Santorini and Mykonos, guided shore excursions, and more.
Booking with Gate1
Booking a vacation through Gate1 is easy and convenient. You can book online via the Gate1 website or mobile app, or by phone with one of their travel consultants.
To book online, simply search for your desired destination and travel dates. You’ll be able to view available packages and pricing. Select your preferred package and then proceed through the booking process. You’ll need to provide traveler information, make a deposit payment, and agree to the terms and conditions.
Booking over the phone provides the benefit of speaking directly with a Gate1 travel consultant. They can answer any questions you may have and help you find the best package for your needs. Have your desired destination and travel dates in mind when you call. The consultant will search availability, present package options, and walk you through depositing to hold your booking.
No matter if booking online or by phone, Gate1 makes it simple to reserve your next vacation. Payments can be made by credit card. You can create a Gate1 account to save your information for faster bookings on future trips.
Gate1 also provides flexibility to change or cancel your booking if needed, with varying policies depending on the package type. Reach out to their customer service for assistance with any booking needs.
Overall, booking with Gate1 provides a seamless and pleasant experience. Their website and consultants make it easy to find and reserve the perfect getaway.
Gate1 has a reputation for providing high-quality and affordable escorted tours. Customer feedback and reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google reflect overall satisfaction with Gate1’s tour experiences.
The majority of reviews praise Gate1’s excellent tour directors, comfortable coaches, centrally located hotels, and smooth logistics. Many reviewers comment on the great value offered by Gate1 tours compared to booking independently. They appreciate the convenience of having transportation, accommodations, activities, and some meals included for one price.
Reviews indicate that Gate1 attracts a primarily older demographic interested in fully guided tours. Travelers report positive interactions with fellow tour members. First-time escorted tour customers are often pleasantly surprised by the ease of traveling in a group.
Negative feedback on Gate1 focuses on minor issues like hotel selections not meeting expectations or tour itineraries being too rushed in places. Some travelers used to independent travel find the regimented group schedule and frequent stops at gift shops tiresome. However, many still rate the overall tour experience positively.
Reviews of specific Gate1 tours to destinations like Italy, China, Germany, and Greece are overwhelmingly positive. Travelers highlight amazing tour managers who brought local history and culture to life. The range of included sights and events makes guests feel like they maximized their time to the fullest.
Gate1 offers a range of package deals at various price points to suit different budgets and travel styles. Here are some typical costs in euros for Gate1 travel packages:
Short weekend getaways within Europe start at around €199 per person, based on double occupancy. This includes economy-class flights, basic hotel accommodation (usually 3 stars), some meals, and sightseeing tours.
A 7-night Mediterranean cruise generally costs between €599 – €1200 per person, depending on the itinerary, ship, cabin type, and travel month. This includes accommodation, meals, entertainment, and some shore excursions.
A 10-day escorted tour of Italy costs approximately €1199 to €1599 per person. This includes mid-range hotels (3–4 stars), daily breakfast, some other meals, transport by coach, sightseeing, and a tour guide. Airfares are extra.
A 2-week multi-country European tour ranges from €1999 to €2999 per person. This provides mid-range accommodations, transport by coach, breakfasts, some dinners, and professional guides. Flights cost extra.
For luxury and river cruising, expect to pay €300 per person and up. An 8-day Danube River cruise starts at around €1699 per person, including shore tours and fine dining.
Additional costs to factor in are travel insurance, tips, pre- and post-accommodation, and optional sightseeing activities. Solo travelers usually pay a single supplement.
Gate1 runs specials, so it pays to compare packages on their website. Traveling in shoulder and low seasons generally costs less. Overall, Gate1 provides very competitively priced European vacations.
Gate1 Travel Tips
Gate1 strives to make booking and taking a vacation with them as seamless as possible. Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of your Gate1 travel experience:
Book early. Gate1’s best deals and early booking discounts are offered the earlier you book. You’ll have your pick of tour dates and availability. Last-minute bookings typically have fewer discount options.
Read the fine print. Carefully review Gate1’s terms and conditions before booking so you understand their policies on payments, cancellations, revisions, etc. This will help avoid surprises down the road.
Consider travel insurance. Gate1 offers optional travel insurance that can protect your trip investment in case you need to cancel or interrupt your trip. Make sure to evaluate your options.
Pack light. Gate1’s coaches and intra-tour flights have luggage restrictions. Follow their packing list guidelines so you don’t have to pay extra baggage fees.
Leave room on your credit card. You will need an available credit line on the card you used to book for incidentals that may arise during your tour.
Tip your tour director. It’s customary to tip your Gate1 tour director if you are pleased with their services. Budget €5-10 per traveler, per day.
Participate in optional tours. Take advantage of Gate1’s local optional tours, shows, and activities to get the most immersive experience on your vacation.
Have backup photocopies. Bring copies of your passport, visa, travel documents, and insurance policies in case they are lost or stolen during your trip.
Follow the tour itinerary. Gate1’s tours keep a pace that requires sticking to the set itinerary. Delayed travelers may miss portions of the tour with no refunds.
Gate1 has strict rules around canceling or changing a booking. Their cancellation policy depends on the package type:
For packages including flights, you may cancel for a full refund minus the cancellation fee if you cancel by the final payment date. The cancellation fee is €50 per person.
After the final payment date, there are no refunds for cancellations.
You may change the travel date up to 60 days before departure for a €50 per person fee. Name changes are not allowed.
For land-only packages without flights, you may cancel for a full refund minus the cancellation fee if you cancel 60 days before departure. The cancellation fee is €50 per person.
Within 60 days of departure, there are no refunds for cancellations.
You may change the travel date up to 31 days before departure for a €50 per person fee. Name changes are not allowed.
Gate1 does not make exceptions for personal emergencies, weather, or other circumstances outside their control. Travel insurance can protect against some cancellation penalties.
Gate1 vs Competitors
Gate1 is one of the largest tour operators in the United States. Here’s how it compares to some of the other major tour companies:
Gate1 vs Globus Tours: Both offer escorted tours worldwide. Gate1 tends to be more budget-friendly, while Globus emphasizes luxury. Gate1 has more regional tour options in the US, while Globus focuses on Europe. Globus tour groups tend to be slightly smaller.
Gate1 vs Collette: Similar price points and destinations. Gate 1 includes more meals and has larger groups. Collette includes more activities and smaller groups. Both get excellent reviews. Gate1 offers more budget-friendly airfare options.
Gate1 vs Trafalgar Tours: Trafalgar is more upscale and expensive. It has smaller groups and focuses intently on Europe. Gate1 has a wider array of global destinations and group tour options at lower price points.
Gate1 vs Tauck Tours: Tauck is luxury-oriented with smaller groups, while Gate1 is value-focused with larger groups. Tauck emphasizes exclusivity and unique life experiences. Gate1 provides affordable access to popular destinations.
Gate1 vs TourRadar: Both companies are reputable online travel agencies that offer escorted tours worldwide. TourRadar stands out for its budget-friendly options and diverse range of tours, including cultural immersion and adventure activities. Trip1, on the other hand, excels in its wider selection of regional tours in the United States. Both companies prioritize smaller group sizes and attentive customer service, making them excellent choices for travelers seeking enriching experiences.
In summary, Gate1 provides an excellent combination of value, quality, and variety in group travel. It hits the sweet spot between budget operators and luxury tour companies. For an affordable guided tour worldwide, Gate1 is a top choice to consider.