Before going to a tourist destination have a look on the Internet to see what is on offer. This way travellers can get a feel for guided tour packages and prices without travel agencies or guides pressuring them into a decision. Guidebooks may give a good insight into the most popular travel agencies, or may give tips or warnings on possible scams in that particular area.
Ask a Tourist Office or Hotel Desk Clerk About Guided Tours
The tourist office may give impartial information on guided tours and give an idea of prices. Some tourist offices have complaint books, which may be a good source of information. The same goes for hotels, especially those focussed on tourism. Hostels are excellent places to meet other travellers and exchange travel experiences.
Time, Patience and a Smile When Visiting Travel Agencies
When arriving at a tourist destination after a long journey it is not a good time to make a decision on guided tour packages. Get a good night’s sleep before doing the rounds. Don’t accept just any offer from any friendly-looking guide that approaches travellers on the street – it often leads to disappointments. Take the time to visit several travel agencies and talk with different guides. Being well-rested and in a good mood improves the chances of making the right decision.
Best Questions to Ask at a Travel Agency About Guided Tour Packages
Among the basic questions to ask when searching for a guided tour are:
– Does the guided tour package include transportation or does the traveller have to arrange for his own transportation?
– Are lunch or snacks included and is drinking water available?
– In case of adventure sports, does the travel agency have an insurance policy – if so, what does it cover?
– Does the guide speak English / Spanish / other language [if applicable]?
– Is it possible to meet the guide beforehand?
– Are entrance fees included in the price?
– Is the rental of equipment [e.g. mountain bikes, scuba diving or snorkelling equipment] included in the price?
– How long does the trip take?
– What should be brought in terms of clothing and shoes [e.g. sturdy shoes or sandals, long or short-sleeved shirts, shorts or trousers]? Other possible bring- alongs may include swimming gear, sun lotion, sun hat, insect repellent, sweater for a cold evening, torch [when visiting caves] or binoculars [when wildlife spotting].
– Is it possible to have the agreement in writing?
– How is payment to be made? Cash – in local currency or US dollars – or is payment with Visa Card possible?
– How much is paid in advance and how much afterwards? (It is not customary to pay everything in advance)
What to Avoid When Choosing a Guided Tour?
There are a few basics to stick to avoid regretting the choice of a guided tour:
– Rushing into making a decision.
– Agreeing with something that doesn’t feel good.
– Trying to get the lowest price at all costs. Travel agencies must make money, it’s their business. In general, one gets what one pays for. Cutting corners to lower a price may lead to dangerous situations, for example having only one driver for a multiple-day tour instead of two.
How to Find the Best Guided Tour Package
Searching Internet, reading guidebooks and asking for information at Tourist Informations or at hotels give much insight into available guided tours. Be well-rested and prepare a list of questions before setting out, with a smile, for travel agencies and choosing the best guided tour package.