Small Group Travel Experts
A maximum of 16 Guests Guaranteed on our True Small-Group® Tours Brand
"Every time we walked past the other tour groups it reminded me of a cattle drive. People being herded from one site to the next. Some groups were "branded", wearing stickers, scarves or whatever else to identify who they belonged to. I knew right then we made the right decision to go with the small group tour."
Small group travel is our specialty – enjoy a maximum of 16 guests on our hand-crafted True Small-Group® Tours and up to a maximum of 24 guests on a few select tour departures. We mention what travel expert and host of The Travel Show, Arthur Frommer says with his endorsement, that our small group tours are "the perfect way to see Italy." Of course, we travel beyond Italy now but we apply the same tour mentality on each destination we offer.
We were the original small group tour company, and this means our philosophy was conceptually and has always been small group oriented. Our professional tour directors, called Tour Captains, along with our headquarter's staff all work in harmony to create and deliver travel experiences that feature unique restaurants (truly off the beaten path), along with exclusive and special access (skip-the-line) to venues that only a small group of travelers can experience.
Our mission statement clearly communicates our intent to provide guaranteed departures of our small group tours by creating entertaining, service-driven, and culturally immersive small-group itineraries that far exceed the travel industry definition of a great vacation. Many mainstream tour operators are jumping on the small group tour bandwagon by trying to modify their tours to taking fewer guests.
We provide the depth of experience, deluxe hotel accommodations with all of the amenities you require, service driven field staff along with a guaranteed small group experience. Other companies are copying our formula but there's a fundamental difference you will notice from the offset with us. We don't use the big buses, we only feature hotels truly "in the heart" of the cities and towns, and our small group dining experiences feature no hidden charges or exclusions. It's the Story Way®.
We provide this exceptional travel value by creating and fostering close relationships with our local Italian guides, drivers and hoteliers. We don't work with a middleman thus allowing real savings on our high-end travel itineraries. When you truly compare our small group tours and their inclusions with the larger, mainstream tour operators you will quickly begin to realize the value of our experience, service and quality.
Compare Story Land & Sea® with the mainstream hotels, included admissions, dining experiences and professional tour management staff and you will agree with us that we offer the leading small group travel package at an exceptional value so you, too, can leave the herd behind.
No Up-sell by the Tour Director
"Having our Tour Captain along was fabulous. No high-pressure sales on our vacation. This was a relief as we have traveled extensively with tours and our tour director always tried to sell us something during our free time."
A pleasant surprise awaits the traditional tour traveler when you journey with us. We want to unwrap the destination for you, layer by layer, so that you are immersed in the local culture and able to experience both the history, art and character all in the context of a small group tour. We believe you'll find this approach to travel both refreshing and relaxing. One of our 'pet peeves' is having a traditional tour director try to sell optional excursions each day. We've eliminated this experience from the modern tour! Your Tour Captain will be available for any question and will serve you but they are trained to help you discover the destination and not to sell you more to increase revenue.
Exclusive Sightseeing Experiences and Special Access Admissions Mean No Waiting
"I couldn't believe how many times our small group would simply walk right past the incredibly long lines at the venues. In particular, the Vatican line was so incredibly long..I couldn't imagine having to spend all of that time waiting. It would have made our vacation entirely a different experience. Thank you!"
Providing special access and skip-the-line entrance on our small group itineraries makes for an incredibly enjoyable sightseeing experience. We tour and explore in most cities the first half of the day leaving the balance of the day at leisure for you to explore. Our model of touring combines the host expertise of your Tour Captain with the local expertise of the professional Italian Tour Guide in providing a value-packed, high-end travel experience unequaled in the industry.
Special access admissions takes advantage of our long history in Italy and the other destinations our tour groups frequent. You reap the benefit by skipping the line.
Heart of City Hotels
"I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed my recent tour with your company. I traveled with my son and 3 friends on the Great Cities of Italy tour. Never having even been aware of your company we all were a bit skeptical of what to except. Please know it met all of our expectations in food, accommodations, excursions, free time and more. What most impressed me was the location of every hotel. All were within easy walking distance of both sights and good restaurants. The wine tasting lunch and rooftop farewell dinner were both exceptional."
The mainstream travel and tour operators claim 'centrally located' hotel accommodations, but the cities we visit are vast and this can be a misleading label. Our small group tours feature hotels located in the very hearts of the towns and cities. This means your hotel won't be on the outskirts of the city but will be in the very center so you can enjoy the piazzas and town centers for many hours after the mainstream tour and cruise groups have left. It's simply magical.
Our tour philosophy is simple: you’ve paid good money for the experience — so why house you on the outskirts of town?
See comments about our tour hotels on TripAdvisor®
Customary Gratuities Included
Tipping on a tour is a complete nuisance and that's why we've included customary gratuities for your tour guides, drivers, hotel staff and included dining staff. Tips for your Tour Captain are optional on your small group tour as we have found most guest prefer to show their appreciation to the 'consummate professional' Tour Captain on the last evening. No daily envelopes or daily tipping required. Simply enjoy the destination.
Our Travel Itineraries are Created with the Small Group Experience in Mind
"Steve and I were so pleased at what a great experience this was-you have been first rate from the very first e-mail. Your small group concept makes all the difference and then it is obvious you have a knowledgeable staff that has made these trips..."
Many companies boast of experiences while on tour, but with Story you are assured of a cultural immersion in the cities and towns we visit. In addition to our expertise of sharing the cultural character of a destination, we have created a series of on-tour experiences that allow our guests a unique perspective. It's called a Story Unique Perspectives Experience and takes places from unique locations including roof-tops in Florence, Venice, Paris or Edinburgh, from cellars of wineries in the Provence or Tuscany, or from gentle rolling slopes – the point is to create an experience that leaves an indelible memory of your small group journey with us.
We continue to find new experiences in all of our itineraries that allow a true small group of travelers unique opportunities not found on mainstream tours. The sum of our experience and expertise equate to a travel itinerary that is created with the small group guest in mind.
Price Inclusions and Industry-leading Deposit & Cancellation Policy
Your tour price includes a true small group of 6 to 16 guests, no more. Hotel accommodations in the Heart of the City, all breakfasts, many lunches and exclusive Story Way® dining which means no exclusions (premium beverages and wine all included), skip-the-line exclusive access sightseeing and included admissions and entrance fees, services of our local Italian guides in tandem with our professional tour managers, called Tour Captains, Magic Portage throughout your itinerary, No Big Buses means luxury mini-motorcoaches (though we walk wherever we can!), and customary gratuities.
Remember, your deposit is $700 per person on most itineraries with a 100% refund available up until 90 days prior to departure. No other company offers such an attractive policy. Deposit for Safaris may be more, please inquire with us at 1 877 865 6711.