To Tour or Not to Tour: Four Questions to Ask Before Signing Up For a Tour

To Tour or Not to Tour: Four Questions to Ask Before Signing Up For a Tour, Flickr: artethgrayTours can reach into our travel budgets and leave us with very little. And in other cases, they can give us insight into a destination we never had before. They can ease the worry of the logistics for the solo traveler or comfort the family that doesn’t quite know how to travel around a city on their own and on a budget. As travelers we should always ask a few questions before clicking purchase with these tours. To avoid disappointment or winding up on the tour from way down below the earth, be sure to ask these four questions first.

How Long Is It? If you aren’t the kind of person that likes fixed schedules and stops, the first question you will want to ask about your prospective tour is just how much of your day it will occupy. Some travelers ignore the tour time information and just focus on what they will get out of the tour, mostly in regard to what they will see. Longer tours aren’t always the best idea for those who don’t like being on a fixed schedule. Also if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in a destination, you might not want to sign up for a tour that takes up the entire weekend, leaving no free time to explore on your own.

Will I See Too Much? Many tour companies cram far too much into one tour. They want to win you over with all of their features so much so that the tour-goer often forgets to factor in whether this is feasible or not. I took a tour in New York of movie locations. While the tour was several hours long, most of what I saw was just a point here or there. I didn’t have much time to intensively get to know the places that I was seeing. If you are just looking for a general overview of an area or a place, these tours can be good options. However if you want something a bit more focused, you will want to seek out a tour that doesn’t spend its time everywhere but more concentrated to your interests.

How Is The Tour Guide? If your tour has reviews from a former tour, watch out for what people say about the tour guide. An otherwise good tour with a bad guide will end up being a bad tour. On a recent tour, my guide merely talked about his wife the whole time. Rather than presenting interesting facts about the city, he focused on compelling facts to him about his wife. This is probably not the guide you want. If you are considering a tour, seek out the comments about the guide. If one in particular receives high marks, try to book your tour with that guide. It can make all the difference in your experience.

Is The Price Worth It? I have walked away from many tours bemoaning the price that I paid. The tour didn’t live up to my expectations and neither did the price. The price of the tour can be a bit trickier to gauge. Low cost tours can seem like great deals, but they are often disappointing. Sometimes spending a bit more for a tour is worth breaking the budget. The cheapest tours often lend the cheapest levels of customer service and quality. There is the chance you could walk away from an expensive tour feeling disappointed. However more often we feel jilted by a tour we didn’t pay as much for in the end. If you have found a tour that you want to book, weigh its pros and cons. The more expensive tour could be more personal while the cheap deal could pack in the masses to a bus and feed you a taped recording as a guide.


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photo:  artethgray

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