How to Find the Right Tour Operator

By July 19, 2017February 11th, 2018Travel Tips
How to find the right tour operator

If you google “group tours”, the number of different results is endless. But finding the right tour operator that aligns with your preferences and needs doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. With a little bit of prep work and research, you can find the perfect match.

How to Find the Right Tour Operator

1. Make your “perfect vacation” list.

Everyone has a different idea in mind when they think of their perfect vacation. For some, it’s sitting and relaxing on a beach, for others it’s checking out the newest and trendiest attractions in a big city, or yet others are looking to get their heart rate up while getting up close and personal with nature.

To help you focus on what’s important to you, take a moment and make a list of what makes up your perfect vacation. If you’re a foodie, you might include “trying new and exotic cuisines” on your list. Or perhaps you’re a bit of a shutterbug, you may write down “photo-worthy landscapes”. Or you’ve had “tasting wine in the Tuscan countryside” on your bucket list for as long as you can remember.

It might not even be something that specific. Just including something like “unplugging from my daily life” can help give you some focus and direction.

2. Do your research!

You are now armed and ready with your perfect vacation list and can start your research. Before looking at individual tour companies, you’ll need to determine what type of tour you want to focus on. Different categories could be culinary, adventure, educational, volunteering, etc. – or even a combination of these.

Once you decide on the type of tour you’d like, you’ll want to consider the number of days you’d like to be gone as well as your budget. Everyone wants the best deal, but you should really look at your perfect vacation list and be realistic about what the cost might be. What’s more important to you – quality or quantity (i.e. cost)? If you are on a tight budget, it will help to prioritize your perfect vacation list, maybe paring it down to your top three “wants”.

Next, start researching individual tour companies using search queries that use terms from your vacation list and what type of tour you’ve decided to take. The more specific you are with your search terms, the better your search results will be. Another valuable resource is friends and family – ask around to see if there is a tour operator they’ve used in the past and would recommend. Write down the tour operators that are fitting your criteria the closest and take notes on the pros and cons of what they offer.

3. Contact a few tour operators and ask questions.

Start contacting the tour operators you’ve written down either via phone or email. If you are calling them, make sure to write your questions down ahead of time to make sure you are using your time wisely and getting as much information from them as possible at one time. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Who typically takes your tours?
  • What is the average tour size?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of that isn’t included in the cost? Airfare? Meals?
  • Are the activities optional?
  • Can you accommodate my dietary needs (if applicable)?
  • What is your deposit and cancellation policy?
  • Is there a past guest I could speak with that has done the same trip?
  • Does the tour visit {enter specific location you’re interested here}?

4. Analyze your results and make your choice.

Compile and review the answers each of the tour operators provided. There most likely will be a few that rise to the top. Make sure to take your time deciding. ┬áIf you are planning on taking this trip with friends, send them the top options you’re thinking of and get their opinions. Follow up with the tour operators with any remaining questions that may have come up.

5. Book it!

Now that you’ve made your choice, it’s time to book your trip! Go on to the tour operator’s website or call them up to reserve your spot on the tour. Time may be of the essence, depending on the time of year and size of the tour. And if you are traveling with friends, make sure they are ready to book as well.

 

Congratulations, you did it! One of the best things about booking a trip with a tour operator is that the hard work on your part is done. You can look forward to your vacation without worrying about planning every little detail because everything will be taken care of for you – you just have to show up!

Happy Travels!

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