How do you find just the right travel company — and itinerary — for that trip of a lifetime?
Tips To Find the Best Tour Company
The team at Clark Deals loves to search for the best travel deals and share them with you.
Here are some of our top tips to find the best tour company:
We like to start by searching TourRadar.com and TravelStride.com. As soon as you enter the region you are interested in touring, you can get started. But you can customize further including by travel dates, budget and even your travel style. Then you can compare features and prices side-by-side. The results will suggest tour operator company names — including local companies and small mom-and-pop touring groups that might offer the greatest expertise.
Companies like Intrepid (a leader in sustainable and responsible travel) and G-Adventures tend to have a broader age range and an international clientele, while Contiki focuses on the 30 and under crowd.
Other top tour groups are:
- Road Scholar
- Adventures by Disney
- Thomson Family Adventures
Before you book, always verify that the tour company is an established and credible provider. To do that, start with a little sleuthing. We love the online review community Trustpilot (Review) as well as the Better Business Bureau (Review).
Also, ask your travel-loving friends about which travel companies they love — and which ones to avoid.
Tips To Find the Best Tour for Your Trip
Now that you have found a travel company that meets your needs, it is time to select your tour.
Interested in taking an African safari or nature trip? When it comes to wildlife and your safety, pay extra attention to reviews and don’t skimp on safety. Also consider the most inclusive tours that bundle the per-person price for all accommodations, meals, drinks, tours, transfers, etc.
But maybe an organized guided group tour isn’t your bag? There are ways to meet up with the best on-the-ground guides on an independent or self-guided trip at TourRadar.com and TravelStride.com.
Also, look at Viator.com and GetYourGuide.com. Both are online marketplaces that list all kinds of local tours from one-hour to full-day and multi-day excursions offered by various providers (private tours, too). And both are good places to check out for trip ideas and what not to miss during your visit.
Do your homework. Grab your travel mate and make a list of what your needs and wants are for your dream trip.
Travel Tour Discussion Checklist
- What is the per-person budget?
- Do you want to add a specific focus to the trip such as biking, walking, food, culture, history, sailing, or skiing?
- What’s your activity level? Go nonstop all day or easy-to-short walking distances?
- Consider an age group focus. Under 35? Older than 60?
- What size group? 12-24 on a mini-coach or 40-60 on a mega-motorcoach? (Check my note on this below.)
- What does the tour offer?
- Is airfare included?
- Are all transfers included? Airport to hotel and reverse? And what about the transportation to a day tour meeting point?
- Are any meals included?
- Are there additional costs for optional activities such as theme dinners, side trips to a village, night tours?
- Are your accommodations city center for easy independent sightseeing? Is the hotel quality 3-star? Or 5-star?
- What is the balance of driving or traveling each day vs sightseeing and activities?
- Do you get/want any free time for shopping, strolling or museum visits?
- Is there a single supplement fee to travel solo?
- Is my deposit nonrefundable if I must cancel or my travel mate can’t travel?
- What are the general cancellation policies?
Special Note on Group Size: I’d like to make an important note about the size of your group. The larger groups increase the odds of traveling with a perpetually late traveler or a complainer. A big group may also limit where you might share a meal or spend the night. Mega-coaches often can’t fit into small villages — which could mean tourist restaurants and hotel chains. If you want a more local experience, it often helps to go with a smaller group.
A final word: To protect yourself, always pay with a credit card! And, strongly consider buying third-party travel insurance. Then, research coverage plans at InsureMyTrip.com. We have a step-by-step guide on InsureMyTrip here.