Planning a trip can be exhausting. You finally decided to take a bus tour, which include the transportation, hotels, a well-planned itinerary, plus a travel expert who have the insider scoop and will guide you through the journey.
Nice, isn’t it? You get on the bus, put down your luggage, kick back, and someone will take care of the rest. However, before getting on the bus, there is some homework for you to do. We have designed a five-step guide for you to easily find your perfect bus tour.
1. Consult a Travel Agency.
This is a world of collaboration. Instead of hitting tens and hundreds of different tour operators, a smart way will be going through a travel agency where you can compare all the tour itineraries, schedules and prices all in one stop. Online travel agencies have gone a long way to make it easy for travelers to search their trips efficiently by key words, times and locations. A lot of times travel agencies also offer additional discounts and promotional vacation packages for those who travel on a tight budget.
2. Know your Limits.
Before planning for a trip, ask yourself some questions: Where does the trip start? For how many days? Where are the places you want to visit? And how much do you plan to spend without breaking your bank? Most of the online travel sites allow travelers to search for trips by using the 3 Ds: Departure, Destination, and Duration.
Another question that is commonly neglected by travelers is “How intense the bus tour you want it to be?” Do you want to visit lots of places in a weekend getaway, or you want to take it slow by staying in one place? With an escorted tour, visiting a lot of attractions in a short amount of time maybe perfect for those who want to get the most out of their journey; however, not so much for those who prefer to relax and take their time. If you’re not sure about the intensity of the tour, pick up your phone and call the agency to talk to a real person.
3. What is Included?
As the travel industry gets fiercely competitive, travel agencies are tightening their margins to attract more customers. It is not uncommon for travelers to find too-good-to-be-true travel deals with a little extra time and effort researching online. However, what you see is not always what you get. For a bus tour, transportation and accommodation are almost always included. Other factors you might want to take into account include: Does the tour provide airport/hotel pick-up? Which attractions are paid for and which ones are optional (admission fees not included)? Is the travel insurance included? What hotels are you staying in?
4. What Language Do You Speak?
This one seems obvious but is neglected very often. Most of travel agencies in the U.S. require tour guides who speak English. However, there are many tours out there that are guided by people who speak multiple languages. It is not uncommon to find someone who is trilingual and can guide a tour in fluent English, Spanish, and Chinese. For those who speak English as a second language, it could be nice to find a tour that is guided in your mother tongue. On the other hand, if you prefer the tour guide to speak one language instead of switching among five other languages, you might want to avoid multiple language tours.
5. Rules, Rules, Rules
Is there a refund policy? What is the cancellation policy? Do they take credit card or check? Visit the website and understand the legal aspect of the agency will not only protect you for your rights, but also give you some ideas of when and how you want to book a tour.
Afterall, knowing what to expect and plan ahead is always the safest way to enjoy your trip!
For more information about escorted bus tours and great travel deals, visit GotoBus.com, a leading online travel agency offers bus tours and vacation packages throughout more than 200 operators in the U.S. and Canada.