How to choose the right travel tour for you

16 Oct 2013

Tours are a great way to travel if you want to see as much of a new destination as possible without the stress and hassle of organising everything alone.  Travel tours come in a wide variety, and choosing the wrong one could make your holiday miserable. So how do you choose the right tour for you? Travel blogger, Ali Garland, shares some things you need to look out for before booking your tour.

Group size and age of other travelers

Most tour companies are aimed at specific age groups. If you're 20 years old, you might not enjoy a tour designed for retirees, just as a 60 year old might not want to travel with a group of university students. Do some research to see what age groups typically sign up for the tours you're considering. If it isn't apparent from their website, a quick phone call or email to the company should help clear things up.

The size of the group can make a big difference in how much you enjoy the trip as well. Small groups allow you to get to know your fellow travelers a little better, but if you prefer to stick to yourself or just hang out with your travel partner, a bigger group might be fine. While walking around in a city, a bigger group tends to move slower. This might be exactly what you're looking for, but if constantly waiting on stragglers annoys you, go for a smaller group.

Rome Colosseum tour

Free time

Some tours pack in as much activity as possibility, whereas others give you a few hours of free time here and there. If you like to stay busy, built in free time might not interest you. But having time to relax at a cafe or wander around on your own will give you a completely different perspective of the place you're visiting.

Level of physical activity

Tours are designed for all different interests, so it's good for you to know the physical activity level. If you have any physical disabilities, you're not really fit, or you just don't enjoy strenuous activities, a tour that involves a lot of trekking or climbing might not be a good choice. You can usually tell from the tour description, but if you have any doubts, check with the tour company before you commit to the trip.

Milford Sound New Zealand kayaking

Number of days in each location

Most tours involve more than one city. Look at each destination on the tour and what there is to do there. Does it seem like enough time to see everything you want to? Or is the tour just hitting the highlights in one day without leaving you any free time? Decide whether you will be satisfied with the amount of time in each place or if just reading the list of activities exhausts you. Traveling too quickly can sap your enjoyment, but going to slowly might be boring to you.

Time in transit

Since you are likely to be changing locations, look at how long it will take to get from one place to the next. A couple of hours isn't a big deal, but if the tour regularly has you sitting on a bus for half a day or more, you will end up feeling like you saw more of the seat in front of you than the country you visited. Also look at when the tour starts and ends. Often a tour starts late on the first day and ends the morning of the last day. This means a 10 day tour is really eight days, minus all the time in transit. This could be fine, but it could mean you only have five days of actual sightseeing time.

Uluru Australia

When planning your next tour, don't just look for one that goes to the destination you want to see. Look at the details of the tour to determine if it's a good fit for you. Don't forget that we're here to help and answer your questions, so if you want more information about a tour we're offering then give us a call or send an email.

If you're thinking about taking a tour, take a look at our adventure tours and day tour deals for more inspiration and information.

Ali is an American expat living in Germany. She is a freelance writer and travel addict who visited all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She provides travel tips and advice and takes the fear out of travel on Travel Made Simple. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.