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If you know the tour company Globus, you already have a baseline for understanding Cosmos, since it’s the budget-traveler-minded arm of Globus. Like its sister company, Cosmos has been around for decades: it’s been offering tours for 60 years. It has a wide range of tours around the world and a strong Europe focus.
In addition to its standard coach tours, Cosmos also has a bunch of other, more specialized tour formats, including small group, “undiscovered” (going off the beaten track in popular destinations), and special-event focused tours. New for 2024, Cosmos is launching So Low pricing that waives the single supplement for solo travelers on select tours.
Here’s a quick overview of Cosmos:
- Countries: 60 countries on 5 continents
- Tour Size Average: 38 (classic tours), 20-24 (Small Group Discoveries)
- Tour Type: Primarily coach
How to Book
To book, you can pretty easily go direct through Cosmos via its website. You can also look for deals and help using an online travel agent like Travelstride or TourRadar. Cosmos also has a travel agent locator tool on its website.
Cosmos has solid credibility and satisfaction scores. As part of the Globus family of brands, it has BBB Accreditation and an A+ rating. On Trustpilot, its rating is 4.5 out of 5 (up from 4.3 last year), and its guest-review score on TourRadar is 4.2 out of 5.
Cosmos has a wide reach, with tours in 60 countries on five continents. Among the most popular destinations on its more than 100 different itineraries are Britain and Ireland, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. It also has a number of tours within the U.S.
Cosmos stands out for its affordability and variety of tour styles, even those who don’t necessarily see themselves as tour-type people. Here’s a rundown of tour types (but note that not every tour type is offered in every destination):
- Small Group Discoveries: Small Group Discoveries tours are sized between 20 and 24 people (versus the average traditional tour group size of 38). There are small-group tour options for every tour in Europe and North America, and for some dates on South Pacific tours.
- Undiscovered Tours: Both Cosmos and its sister-brand Globus offer these “Undiscovered Tours” designed to take guests off the beaten track and into lesser-known and traveled towns and villages with more time in destination. Born notes that these tours are great for “repeat travelers and for those looking for a more in-depth experience in their chosen destination.”
- Special Event Tours: Cosmos Special Event vacations focus on large celebrations in North America (think Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta and the Calgary Stampede). These tours offer special benefits like better access, close-up views, and behind-the-scenes experiences.
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- Faith-Based Tours: Cosmos also offers a range of Faith-Based Vacations that highlight centuries of religious history. These Christianity-focused tours include sacred locations in the Holy Land, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
- Cruise and Land Tours: The tour company mixes land and cruise experiences on these tours to destination pairs like the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, and Greece and the Aegean Islands.
- National Parks Tours: Cosmos has about a dozen U.S. national park focused tours. Some mix train journeys or cruises into the tour itinerary.
You can also search tours that are particularly affordable by looking at its Dreams on a Budget section, which features tours under $1,600 per person. And of note for solo travelers is that the single supplement is waived on select departures each year.
Cosmos tour guides receive extensive training that includes certification by the destination authority and proficiency in multiple languages. Most are from the country in which they lead tours, and all are selected for their passion for travel and their storytelling abilities. Cosmos tour directors average 20 years with the company.
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In addition to the tour directors, Cosmos has a strong network of local guides, many of whom have worked with the company for years.
Cosmos was an early pioneer in value touring vacation travel, and focuses on turning people’s travel dreams into reality, even when a budget is tight. Cosmos gets to the lower price point by preserving experiences and finding more affordable (but still conveniently located and of good quality) hotels.
Cosmos tours include experienced Tour Directors, pre-selected hotels, guided city sightseeing, transportation, and select meals, including breakfast each day.
Optional excursions can be purchased pre-trip. Cosmos can also add flights to and from the tour, with schedules coordinated with the tour. Flights include complimentary airport transfers to-and from the hotel. And airport transfers can also be added for land-only guests.
The average Cosmos traveler is in their early- to mid-50s. Guests come from a range of generally English-speaking countries, primarily U.S. but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Cosmos travelers are an even mix of seasoned travelers and first-timers. The majority are couples and families, but typically 20%+ are solo travelers.
The standard pre-trip communication is made up of five emails, including the all-important Travel Packet, with has the detailed itinerary, schedule and flight information (if flights booked through Cosmos), destination information, tips and guidelines on pre-trip requirements and preparation for the destination, and information about booking optional excursions 90 days or closer to the departure date. Vacation planners are available by phone, email and online chat six days a week.
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Cosmos also has the Cosmos GO app, which provides access to all tour components, including schedules, hotels, included features, destination information, optional excursions, interactive maps and more. This access is provided pre-trip, 30-40 days prior to departure.
The Globus family of brands (Cosmos, along with Globus and Avalon River Cruises) offers a Welcome Back Credit loyalty program. Each trip earns guests up to $250 credit to use on a future trip with any of the brands.
The per-person credit is based on the tour price:
- $2,499 or Less = $100 credit
- $2,500 – $3,499 = $150 credit
- $3,500 – $4,499 = $200 credit
- $4,500 & Over = $250 credit
Guests have two years to book/deposit a vacation using the credit.
Any Cosmos Europe tour can be converted into a Private Tour for between one and 24 people. There’s an additional premium, based on the overall number of guests, which is charged for each traveler in addition to the published tour price. Private tour groups get a dedicated tour director, private transportation and driver, and personal, and professional local guides, plus all of the visits and entrances in the original published itinerary. Private tours offer flexibility in both pace and experiences for you and your travel companions. To pursue a private tour with Cosmos, choose your tour from the Cosmos Europe lineup and then contact the company.
Cosmos is part of the Globus family of brands. The company’s Lighthouse Project focuses on projects that benefit people, places, and the planet, with dozens of areas of focus within each category. Projects include support of The Ocean Cleanup, Trees4Travel, Landmine Design and dozens of other projects and initiatives worldwide.
Health and Safety Practices
Cosmos’ health and safety policy currently includes enhanced cleaning protocols on coaches, hotels, and ships. Cosmos also has a Travel Protection plan that includes a cancel for any reason benefit and covers expenses related to trip interruptions.
- Globus: Globus offers escorted tours to destinations around the world with a range of tour formats.
- Avalon River Cruises: Luxury small-ship river cruises in Europe, South East Asia and other worldwide destinations.