Important Questions To Ask When Booking An Escorted Tour
By: Stephanie Larkin
Escorted tours can be a great way to see the world. Escorted tours provide you with your own guide, as well as an all-inclusive trip. This frees you from worrying about the exchange rate, which restaurants are worthy of visiting, and how to travel from place to place. Escorted tours also prioritize the areas where you will visit, and prevent you from becoming so overwhelmed that you miss everything, in your quest to see everything.
Before signing up for an escorted tour, check with past clients. A bad tour can be a miserable experience, as well as a financial disaster. A good tour can show you parts of the world you never dreamed possible. An escorted tour is also meant to be both educational and fun. There are a variety of questions that you should ask the escorted tour company. The answers to these questions can provide you with some insight into the tours, as well as some idea on the amount of money you should plan to spend, and to budget for the trip.
What is included in the price?
This question is probably the number one question for participants in an escorted tour. The price of an escorted tour may seem high, but the price includes all meals and accommodations. Escorted tours make economical sense when you see everything included in the price. Most escorted trips include airfare from a major city, although you may be responsible for the airfare and travel costs to that city, as well as the cost of accommodations and at least one, and often all three meals each day. Because inclusiveness can vary greatly from tour company to tour company and even from trip to trip, it is important to ask exactly what is included in the cost.
What is the focus of the tour?
Some trips, even within the same region, have a greatly different focus. Some tours are luxury tours, while others are aimed at providing the participants with an adventuresome vacation. Before signing up for an escorted vacation, ask the reservation agent what the focus of the trip is.
What is the average age of the participants?
While many escorted trips do not have an official age range, it is a fact that some tours draw older people, while others appeal to a younger crowd. Even if you do not think that it matters to you, ask the reservation clerk what the average age of tour participants is.
What is the custom as far as tipping?
Even the most inclusive tours often do not include tipping. Tipping protocol in different countries can be different from the tipping protocol that we are accustomed to daily. Before heading out on your trip, ask the company what the tipping protocol is, do you tip? Who expects a tip? And How much?
Are there any discounts available?
A tour that has several vacancies or last minute cancellations may have a lower price. Likewise, a tour in an area that is losing popularity may be available at a better price. You may receive a discount if you are paying up front for the trip in one payment. It never hurts to ask if there is any way to save money on your trip.
What happens if I have to cancel?
It is impossible to predict the future, so it is important to know what to expect if you have to cancel your trip. Some operators offer trip insurance in the event that you have to cancel, while others will allow you to cancel at no cost if they can fill your spot. Before committing to the trip, ask what their policy is, and make sure that you can live with it.
Are children permitted on the trip?
Depending on whether you have children or not, allowing children can be both good and bad. If you want to take your children, find out the minimum age requirement, and if you do not want to be around children, ask if it is an adult only trip.
Is there anything else I need to know?
There are many questions that you will want answered before heading out on your trip. Ask the tour operator if there is anything else you should know, about clothing, customs, or taking day trips away from your escorted trip.
Once you have all of your questions answered, you will be ready to book your tour. For some people planning is part of the fun of one's vacation. If you feel this way, you can always make arrangements to take a break from your escorted tour group for a day or two and do some solo exploring. This will give you a chance to do your own thing, without making it necessary for you to manage the entire trip.
Stephanie Larkin is a freelance writer who writes about topics and tips involving the travel industry, discussing information similar to what is provided by tour operators.
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