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Educational Consumer Tips

Planning a Tour Vacation

Author: Rachel Gelb
Category: Service

The anticipation of a vacation is exciting, but all of the options can be overwhelming to think about. A tour operator is a great way to travel since they can often bring you to places you normally would be unable to visit on your own. Use these tips as a guide when searching for an experienced and reliable tour operator for your next adventure.

Tips for Choosing a Tour Operator:

Do Your Research.
 Start by asking friends and family members who have traveled with a tour for recommendations. Collect brochures, travel magazines and other materials. Research different businesses online. Check out businesses through to read reviews and complaints. Look for tour operators that are licenced in the area you wish to visit.

Contact the Tour Operators.  Once you have created a narrow list of tour operators start contacting them. Avoid businesses that do not respond in a timely manner or fail to clearly and thoroughly answer your questions. Make sure to record the interactions with each business to later evaluate which ones are cooperative and helpful. It is best to have a tour operator that can quickly address any questions or concerns, this is especially important if something comes up down the road that needs attention.

Compare Prices.  Do not base your decision solely on price; it is important to compare costs and ask how your money is being spent. Ask what attractions and meals are included in the price. Ask if there are certain attractions that require an additional fee upon arrival. Ask if they have a secure payment system.

Ask Questions.  Interview the business to get more information about the tour and their company. Be sure to ask how long they have been in business and how long they have been running the tour that interests you. Ask what demographic usually takes the trip. If you are planning a family vacation with young children make sure the tour suits this demographic. Inquire about the average size of the tour group and the ratio of guests to tour guides.

Get All the Details About the Tour.  Ask who will be the tour guide and how long they have been guiding this trip. Look for guides that are locals or long-term residents of the area. Be sure to ask where the tour will start and end and how much traveling will be done on an average day. Fid out if there is an alternative option if you cannot participate in one of the attractions or excursions.  Ask to contact a few guests who have recently been on the same tour. Ask the previous guests about their experience and if they would use the tour operator again for a future trip.
Make Sure the Operator Follows Up.  After booking your trip with a tour operator make sure the business sends you confirmation of your booking and a receipt.

About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

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