Planning to join an organized tour? Some pointers for picking the right one.
Thinking about joining an organized tour on your next trip? This can be a great way to see the sights but it's important to make the right choice because not all tour companies are created equal. Here are some tips to choosing the right tour company for your next vacation.
Assess their reputation
Check out how well the tour company has been received by other travelers. Reviews can be invaluable for revealing what you can expect from one of their tours and can prevent you from committing yourself to the wrong choice of tour.
How much will it cost?
When it comes to the price of tours, don't make the mistake of assuming that expensive always means better. In many cases, costs have no definitive bearing on the quality of a particular tour and large operators can overcharge. On the flip side, look out for hidden costs attached to low cost tours -- what looks like a reasonable price on paper could actually include very little, meaning that you will ultimately pay a lot more on top of the basics.
Who are their tours aimed at?
Some tour operators cater for specific demographics and it's important to check whether this is the case before you go ahead and book. If you're traveling solo, you're probably not going to want to join a tour that caters for families with young children. Make sure that you are fully aware of the type of market that the tour company is looking to cater for before you commit yourself. It's also a good idea to check the average group size for their tours.
Who are their guides?
The best tour companies will use local guides who know the area inside out. Failing that, a long term resident with copious knowledge is the next best option. These type of guides are the best bets for insider information.
Check how the tours are organized and what the planned schedule will be. Are you given free time at leisure as part of the tour to look around on your own terms or is it all organized for you? Some people prefer to take things in at their own pace while others are not keen on this, for example. Which attractions form part of the tour and if anything key is missed out, is there any opportunity to see these by yourself? The itinerary can have a big impact on which tour company you ultimately choose, depending on your preferences.
Safety issues can be an often overlooked factor in choosing a tour company. Does the company follow the relevant regulations and requirements, for example? Are they accredited by their local government in line with this? If you can't find this kind of information easily, this could be a red flag in terms of credibility.