How to Choose a Tour Operator
You’re sure about going on that trip, except you have no idea which tour company to trust. At least, there are many options out there, but how do you take a pick?
Tour Group Size
First of all, look at the tour group’s size. Smaller means more flexibility, especially in terms of accessing the so-called “hidden gems” of your destination. But that also means you have to spend lots of time with the same set of people.
Tour Pace and Physical Requirements
Tour pace and physical requirements can affect your travel experience more than you think it can. If you usually enjoy lingering at a specific attraction, a guided tour may be your best bet. If you like to check out as many attractions as possible, a coach tour or a ship cruise may be the better choice. When it comes to physical requirements, expect different modes of transportation to be provided. Also, not all activities during a tour are mandatory.
Know what’s actually included in the trip’s base cost. Do you have to pay for your airline ticket? What about accommodation or other amenities? Will there be any free days you’d like to spend shopping? Also confirm whether the tour will include any other additional activities. Take note that these will likely cost extra and have to be booked in advance.
Cultural immersion can mean many different things. If meeting locals is one of your goals for the trip, spend a night in a homestay or share a meal with the family. You can also learn to cook some local dishes by attending a cooking class. Tour companies can offer varied levels of cultural immersion, so go with the one that is most in line with your preferences.
The itinerary is probably the most important part of a tour, guided or not, alone or with a group. Make sure to choose a tour that features all of the attractions you want to see. This one is quite easy. Just ask the tour company for a copy of their itinerary, or maybe you can even find it on their website. Of course, you have the option to take a custom tour if you’re not happy with any of their packages.
Sometimes, you’ll hate having a lot of free time, like when your trip is shorter or you don’t particularly like the other people in your group. On the other hand, you may want more free time to enjoy the destination by yourself. Tour companies are usually happy to work with you on your preferences.