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Story Land & Sea®

Compare STORY with Nearest Competitors

Story Land & Sea®

Nearest Competitor

Mainstream Operator

Why Is This Important?

Size of Group

Maximum 16 Guests
on our True Small Group Tours.

"Around 24 - 28" Tourists. Other small group tour companies feature fewer guests but with sub-standard hotels and itineraries.

48 to 75 Tourists

Discover what we call "True Small Group" travel: the benefits of a small group end when your group is larger than 16 people in small group communication and quality.

Price per day

$359 - $589
Includes customary gratuities and local city tax included on our true small group tours.

$679 - $979
Does not include customary gratuities or local city tax.

$150 - $300
Does not include customary gratuities or local city tax.

Gratuities and city/municipal taxes can add up quickly. Make sure you know what you're paying for on your tour of Italy!

Tour Guides

Local, salaried Italian Expert Guides ((Tested & True, We know them, they know us)).

Hired National Guides paid thru tips & commission.

Hired National Guides paid thru tips & commission.

Your local guide can make or break your experience. Most tour company guides make their income from tips and kickbacks. Story Guides are hand-picked by Mark Story. Tipping is not permitted.

Story Way® Dining

Our approach to dining in Italy is unique. Everything is included, no hidden charges.

At select restaurants you may choose from some of the most ordered and favorite Primi and Secondi items available —  Don't see what you like? Choose from the main restaurant menu which is always on hand. We'll even bring the Maitre'd out to design a dinner —  that's the Story Way® of Dining.

Premium Wine (not house wine), Premium Beverages and Soft Drinks Flow. Who else does dinner in Italy like this?

Set Menu with limit 2 glasses of house wine, limited bottled water and limited soft drinks "limited amounts" – Some meals are served "family style."

Set Menu: Chicken, Beef or Fish at the hotel restaurant.

On a Story Land & Sea® tour, stop and listen to the conversation of the table next to you: You'll quickly discover they're speaking in Italian.

Sightseeing

All included: we all it sightseeing immersion with our Story Expert Guides and Tour Captains.

Most sightseeing experiences cost extra: above and beyond what you paid for your tour!

Most sightseeing experiences cost extra: above and beyond what you paid for your tour!

No Upsell with Story.

Admissions & Entrances

Not just 'skip-the-line,' but Special Access with Story.

Limited Skip-the-Line

Large group requires time to process into venues ((and get off the bus!))

Special Access means we have relationships with the venues we visit. The small group will skip lines and enjoy VIP entrance to most locations.

Tips

All Tips for Guides, Drivers and Porters Included.

All except guide & driver included.

None included. Tip everyone.

Most tour companies expect you to pay extra for guide and driver tips resulting in hundreds of extra dollars.

Heart of City Hotels

Heart of City

((means where you want to be!))

"Centrally Located" ((50% Not Centrally Located))

"Centrally Located" ((Not Centrally Located))

Operators can say "centrally located," but what matters is where your hotel is actually located. Heart of City with Story Land & Sea® means you are where you want to be. Our properties include free WiFi for Story guests.

Tour Directors

American Tour Managers personally trained by Mark Story. Our American Tour Captains, as we call them, know the preferences of our North American guests.

Foreign Tour Director

Foreign Tour Director

We call them Tour Captains and they know the preferences of Americans. No awkward getting- to-know the foreign tour director.

Meals

50–75% included on most tours. 13 Meals on Italy's Great Cities Tour.

50% included

35–50% included

Daily Hot Breakfast Included, select lunches, special dining events, Unique Perspective Experiences, and select dinners included with Story Land & Sea®

Big Buses?

No: Story utilizes 22 seat, comfortable vehicles so you have room to move about. We are able to navigate through the small villages.

Yes. 52 Passenger Vehicles

Yes: 56 Passenger Vehicles

From "Nearest Competitor" Website: "Yes you are on a large bus for most of the transportation."

Upsell on Tour?

Absolutely not. Our Tour Captains will not try to sell you more excursions.

Cruise ship mentality: The more they sell the more they make.

Traditional tour mentality: The more they sell the more they make.

This is a very key characteristic of Story Land & Sea®'s approach to touring: We want your vacation to be unwrapped by our people for you. Have a free afternoon, our Tour Captains will help you with ideas but we're not going to sell you anything.

Trip Consultation

No charge. Our pleasure.

Various. "Special membership" required.

30 minutes for $75, additional charge for every 15 minutes afterward.

Really? Story does not require you to be a 'member' of their club or fraternity to enjoy free travel consultation. We'll even throw in a glass of Prosecco when you visit us in person.

Flexible Cancellation or Changes

Change or cancel your tour with no change or penalty, up to 90 days prior to your departure date. to 90 days prior to your departure date.

Fees assessed at 60 days prior.

Fees assessed at 60 days prior.

Our industry leading cancellation policy is generally unheard of in the travel industry.

Guaranteed Tour Price

Guaranteed price locked in the moment you make your deposit.

May modify prices without notice.

May modify prices without notice.

It just doesn't make sense to us. The price is guaranteed once you deposit.