Affordable Travel Series: Travel Dreams Are Coming True

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Affordable Travel?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to Europe. Although I never really believed I’d ever be able to scrape up the money needed to get to such foreign and distant lands, my imagination ran wild. I dreamed about strolling casually down a cobblestone street in Paris. My mind’s eye held a vision of tiny rustic Italian towns. Perched comfortably upon my wrought iron chair, tucked loosely under it’s matching ornate table, I sit sipping a cappuccino, admiring the Ivy-laiden cafe walls and enjoying the sun and a soft breeze on my face. My favorite fantasy was climbing the spiral stone staircase of some ancient castle tower. Where, upon reaching the top,  I stand frozen in utter disbelief and awe as I gaze at the picturesque beauty of the rolling green Irish hills which sprawl endlessly before me.

Affordable Travel Could Never Be Within My Reach

As real as these visions were in my head, I never even tried to investigate or plan such a trip. Surely, the cost of an adventure of this magnitude was far beyond my reach. I was a schoolteacher. Maybe I thought that if I actually saw the price tag with my own eyes, the shock and disappointment of the impossibly outrageous figure would stop me from my foolish dreaming altogether. For years, I avoided it.

Trips with my family were planned locally. We’d often make the five hour drive to Los Angeles or San Diego, and once to  Big Bear. Mexico was always a relatively cheap destination which never disappointed, so we’d venture south of the border often. While visiting loved ones in other states, we’d  play tourists, scurrying about to noteworthy sites nearby. We always enjoyed these outings. We still do. Consequently, I hadn’t stopped dreaming of more.

Then, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It isn’t life-threatening per say. However, this condition affects many things including my joints. So, the longer I wait, the harder it will be for me to climb that staircase or walk down that street. As a result, in my mind, wasting time waiting and saving for my dream vacation was no longer an option. So, I began searching for options. 

Travel Dreams Become an Affordable Reality 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are several companies offering prices so reasonable that it’s possible for even me to embark on this journey. I have booked a 12-day road-tripping adventure through Ireland for around $5,300! This includes roundtrip airfare for 4 travelers (I’m traveling with my family), two rooms per night in 4-star CASTLE hotels with complimentary breakfast each morning, and the rental car for the duration of the trip. Who would have thought that I could afford to live my dream and fulfill my travel purpose?  

For this trip, we booked through Gate1 Travel. This online travel agency  allows travelers to affordably book everything needed for a vacation. Affordable travel packages include airline tickets, accommodations, tours, car rentals, and cruise ships. Additionally, they offer luxury travel packages. Surprisingly, even the affordable travel packages include 4-star hotel options. As a result, they are living up to their promise to deliver “more of the world for less.”

Why Gate1 for Affordable Travel?

Although as a travel blogger I do have affiliate partnerships. However, I am NOT affiliated with Gate1 in any way. I found this company through a Facebook ad.As a result,  our trip was booked as it would be by any other traveler. My recommendation is based first on their truly affordable travel packages. Second, on their fantastic customer reviews, which I found through researching the company. And finally, through my personal experience with their telephone customer service department, which has been phenomenal so far. After our trip, I will post another review as well.  

With most packages, travelers have the option to choose “land only” or “air & land.” Choosing “land only” means that you will find your airline flights to and from the selected destination. Generally, Gate1 offers the lowest available airfare, so I would recommend choosing “land and air” if you must fly to your desired destination.

Gate1 Travel Destinations

Europe: Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Romania, Central Europe, Russia, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland, Turkey, European River Cruises

Aisa & the Pacific: China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Bhutan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore

North America: National Parks, Southeast, Michigan, New England, California, Southwest, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Canada, Mexico

Latin America: Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Galapagos, Argentina, Chile, Patagonia, Antarctica, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico

Africa: South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Morocco

Mediterranean: Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Dubai, Oman

River Cruises: Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Holland & Belgium, Russian Waterways, Nile, Yangtze

At Gate1, Affordable Travel Comes With Choices

Gate1 provides several vacation style options. Affordable travel doesn’t have to come with restrictions. Travelers can choose from escorted travel, independent vacations, river cruises, and customized vacation packages. As a result, travelers can choose an affordable travel style best suited to their needs. To find items included in specific packages, check the “highlights” tab within the chosen vacation package on the Gate1 website.

Package Types & Inclusions 

Escorted travel: 

This version of affordable travel comes with a bit of pampering. First, this option offers individualized assistance, including the services of English-speaking tour manager throughout the visit, a local guide.  Additionally, entrance fees and transportation to tour locations per itinerary, and the services of a tour manager to assist with hotel check-in formalities and luggage handling are also included. Moreover, travelers can choose from a variety of escorted tours. 

Most Escorted Packages include: 
  • Round trip flights from your location to the vacation destination
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges 
  • Accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates
  • Various meals: Check the specific package for details. ALL meals are usually not included.  
  • Sightseeing Excursions 
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Services of local guides per itinerary
  • Excursion entrance fees 
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring (when applicable)
  • Rail service (when applicable) 

Independent vacations:

Another affordable option, independant vacations allows travelers to explore at their own pace, without the included features and assistance of an escorted tour. As a result, adventurers are free to enjoy each destination at their leisure. Most noteworthy are the pre-packaged City Stays, Multi-City, Fly & Drive, and By Rail, as these packages provide a convenient and budget-friendly way to travel. Optional transfers & sightseeing excursions are available to enhance any vacation, therefore adventurers can see whatever they’d like on their own terms.

Most Independant Packages Include:
  • Round trip flights from your location to your travel destination
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • Breakfast daily
  • Rail Tickets (when applicable)
  • Car Rental (when applicable) 

Cruise packages include:

  • Round trip flights from your location to the vacation destination
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • Cruise gratuities & porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates
  • A specified number of meals 
  • Unlimited drink package onboard the cruise
  • Sightseeing per itinerary 
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Most cruise packages consist of stays on land and aboard the ship

Get a better understanding of each package by reviewing the different travel  Travel Styles offered by Gate1

Affordable Travel: Gate1 Escorted Travel Tour 

9 Day Affordable Italy                                                                                                                Land Only: $1,199 per person
Land and Air: $1,649 per person

Escorted Package Includes: 
  • Flights New York-Venice, Rome-New York
  • Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 7 nights First Class accommodations
    • 2 nights Venice
    • 2 nights Florence
    • 3 nights Rome
  • Italian city hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 9 meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 dinners with wine
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Services of local guides in all major cities
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring experience

Affordable Travel: Gate1 Independent Travel Tour

11 Day Athens & Mykonos with 4 Day Iconic Aegean Cruise .                       Land Only: $1,699 per person                                                                                                    Land and Air: $2,259

Independent Package Includes:
  • Round trip flights New York-Athens, Athens-New York
  • Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Ferry between Athens and Mykonos
  • 9 nights accommodations
  • Cruise gratuities & porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 16 meals: 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Unlimited drink package aboard the cruise
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Visit the Acropolis, the astonishing ancient architectural masterpiece built during the Golden Age of Athens
  • Tour the Acropolis Museum, a striking modern building where many of the original statues from the Acropolis are now displayed
  • Explore the archaeological site of Ancient Ephesus and the colorful town of Kusadasi
  • Tour the traditional settlement of Lindos and the medieval city of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Affordability- Gate1 travel packages are very affordable. Furthermore, travelers are only required to put down a small deposit to secure their trip, so a planner can save and pay as the trip approaches. As a result, it’s clear that Gate1 Travel delivers on their promise of providing access to “more of the world for less.”. Additionally, full refunds are offered when vacations are cancelled within 24 hours of booking. This takes the risk out of your investment since passengers have a night to sleep on it in order to create a financial plan. As a result, if the cost turns out to be too overwhelming, nothing is lost. Moreover, the deposit can be used toward a more affordable travel option.

Tour options: Both escorted and independent vacation packages available.  As a result, travelers can choose to take their journey with a guide or venture out on their own. Since Gate1 allows for sightseeing add-ons when booking independant packages, each type of visitor gets to experience the destination as they wish. For example, when booking and independant package. you may choose to add the guided tour of the Eiffel Tower, but prefer to see the Louvre at your own pace.

Accommodations: Hotel options in all packages are very nice. The majority are rated 4-star and all are located within close proximity to sightseeing and local attractions. For this reason, you can expect a very enjoyable stay. 


Lack of flexibility,: Since dates offered are very specific, extending or shortening travel plans can prove to be a challenge. Our Ireland trip is in early May. As a result, my daughter will be missing a significant amount of school, which is not ideal.

Limited Options: Although the locations and excursions offered by Gate1 are pretty fantastic, they are very limited. Travelers can’t choose the number of nights they spend in each hotel or city. For example, I love the Ballyseede Castle, however, our itinerary only allows us to stay there for one night.  I wasn’t able to get that changed when I asked.   

Dates: In contrast, you can request to extend your travel dates. However. be mindful that only the return date for the air travel reflects the extension. Hotel rooms and car rentals are not included in this extension. Therefore, you’ll have to book your own rooms for the additional days.  As a result, you may get stuck with significantly higher rates in hotels which aren’t as nice. 

See more of our travel tips:

How to Easily Get Crazy Travel Deals

5 Simple Tips and Tricks for the Perfectly Packed Bag

Did you find this post helpful? Then, we’d love for you to share it!


When Traveling, Pack Like a Pro Using These 10 Easy Steps

3 Ways To Ensure Money For Travel is Well Spent


15 thoughts on “Affordable Travel Series: Travel Dreams Are Coming True”

    • I was floored when I found them. I booked the trip immediately. I thought it was too good to be true. I’m not even affiliated with them in any way, I was just amazed at the value and level of service I’d received before ever having travelled.I can’t wait to write a review article after the trip!

  1. This is a great article and great options! I definitely discovered more ways to make travel affordable even when I am not doing anything sponsored as a travel blogger. It’s such a great feeling. 🙂

    • I don’t get sponsored travel yet, either. Now that I found Gate 1 I am on the lookout for more companies like them. I like that their package had the air, car and hotels – those add up so fast! I checked with Icelandair (the airline Gate 1 booked for us) and their flights were really reasonable, the hotels on their own were more expensive. I wouldn’t have been able to book this on my own for Gate 1’s price. The hardest thing was that the dates aren’t very flexible, so we had to be.

  2. Interesting – I haven’t traveled on arranged tours before, but I’ve been considering it lately for a few places. I appreciate reading a review of a company that wasn’t sponsored. Thanks!

    • Gate 1 has fully guided, partially guided, and independent travel options. So, not matter your travel needs, you should find something to suit you. We booked the Irish Castle Fly and Drive, which is totally independent.They provided a sample itinerary which did help guide my planning. And they have guided tours which can be added to any independant package.

  3. I have never heard of Gate 1 before, but it sounds like a good option. As I like to travel on my own most of the time, I like that Gate 1 provides an independent option. It’s great they have different vacation styles depending on your preferences.


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