If you are looking to go travelling with a tour company but don’t know how to choose the best tour company for your trip, then look no further. In this article, we break it down and offer the best tips for choosing a tour operator, so you have the best possible trip.
Choosing the best tour company
Small group vs Large group
One of the first things you must consider before choosing a tour company is to recognise what type of travel group you will prefer. The two options are a small group and large group tour companies. Both are very different but they can both be very rewarding and enjoyable.
Small group tour companies
Small group tours usually consist of between 10 and 16 people. Tour guides are usually locals and you have more time to get to know them and have a more intimate experience. Multi day tours usually stay in smaller independent local hotels and allow you to travel around to more than just the touristy areas of the local city or town. Smaller groups give you the opportunity to create close, tight-knit friendships with a handful of people.
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Large group tour companies
Large groups can range anything from 20 to 60 people. The biggest advantage to larger groups is usually price, which is lower than smaller groups. larger groups usually travel in coaches and stay in chain hotels that can accompany bigger groups of people. They will usually be faster paced and take you around to the main tourist attractions. Travelling in a larger group will also allow you to meet a lot of other travellers.
Style of travel
When it comes to choosing a tour company you should think of the style of travel you prefer. If you are going on a honeymoon you probably want to pick a tour company that caters to luxury. If you are a student backpacking around Europe you are probably more likely to prefer, and be able to afford, a more basic, group styled tour company that uses cheaper accommodations and also public transportation.
A lot of tour companies also offer different styles of itineraries to different people. They usually have a basic, regular and luxury option. Intrepid, for example, has three styles. The Basix, Original and Comfort. With Basix you stay in budget hotels, local guesthouses, camping or home-stays, uses local transport and meals aren’t usually included and activities are optional. With an Original itinerary, you get standard tourist-class hotels, some meals are included, some activities are included and use a mix of public and private transport. A Comfort itinerary includes comfortable hotels with private itineraries, most activities are included, meals are included and also uses private transport.
While Intrepid has these three styles of travel, the Intrepid Travel company also includes the Geckos, Intrepid and Peregrine companies. Geckos cater to 18-29-year-olds, Intrepid to the average traveller and Peregrine is for a more comfortable, luxurious adventure.
Look for the company that can cater to your preferred style of travel. I used Intrepid as an example because they cater to everyone and we enjoyed using them so much when we travelled to Morocco, but there are hundreds of others out there.
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Who is the target audience?
When it comes to deciding on a tour operator do some research to find out who the ideal traveller is. Without enough research, you may end up picking a tour company that sounds great but isn’t right for you. You should know who the company is geared towards. Is it aimed at young people who love to party or to the retired or to families? If you are looking to do a relaxing, quiet tour you probably don’t want to be stuck on a Contiki tour. Tour companies usually detail their target audience on their website. You can usually get a pretty good idea of their target audience from photos they post on social media.
Are they Responsible?
Ecotourism is a huge business for good reason because it is all about responsible travel. Responsible travel isn’t just about the environmental impact but also towards the locals and the region in which they live. Choosing a tour operator who acts responsibly is very important. Responsible tour companies hire local guides, use local businesses, hotels and services and also minimise the impact of waste and carbon footprint on the local areas. It is very easy to find a responsible tour operator these days with hundreds to choose from. If you are unsure of which companies are responsible check the International Ecotourism Society website for a list of operators.
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Thank you for reading our tips on how to choose the best tour company for your trip. Tours are a great way to meet other travellers and are also a great way to learn about a place from knowledgable tour guides. If you use these tips above you are bound to have a great trip. What are your thoughts? Do you think we have missed anything? Let us know in the comment section below.