Do you receive emails and brochures on a regular basis from travel companies enticing you to go on one of their tours? I get a lot of them, partly because I’ve taken a tour with them, or I’ve signed up to have information sent to me. They ALL look wonderful; so the question becomes — how do you decide which tour, if any, to select?
I wish there were a simple answer that would work for everyone, but there isn’t. I remember going into the Local Automobile Club office in late 2005 just to pick up some catalogs on Italy. Why? Well, I was going to plan a trip to Italy the next year, one that we would do on our own. The Travel Consultant asked if we’d ever thought about going on a tour? No, was my reply. I travel a lot internationally, so I know how to plan a trip.
She wasn’t going to give up that easily. She told us about a couple tours (notice, she didn’t bombard me with a dozen possibilities), and then she said something that made perfect sense to me. She said we could take the low-end tour but if we didn’t like it, was it the tour itself or that we didn’t like touring? Or we could take the high-end tour. If we didn’t like that tour, it certainly wouldn’t have been the tour; it would be that we didn’t like touring at all.
Would that apply to everyone? Probably not, but I liked the logic. We signed up for the high-end tour (the company is Tauck) and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then, we’ve taken a 21-day tour through Rick Steves’ Europe Through The Back Door, and I’ve taken two tours with The Traveling Professor. We’ve also been on many cruises where we’ve also taken one- and two-day tours.
So let’s get back to the initial question, “How do you decide which tour, if any, to select?”
- Where do you want to go? (and don’t say “anywhere”) Don’t even look at THE BEST tour to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam if you have no desire to go to Southeast Asia
- How long can you go, instead of how long would you like to go?
- What is your realistic budget? (you’ll probably go over budget, but try to focus at tours within “your price range”)
- Is airfare included? What extras do you have to pay for?
- Is the currency exchange rate favorable to you? (right now, the U.S. Dollar is very strong against most other currencies, meaning it’s a great opportunity to travel internationally)
Try answering those questions as you look at different tours and see if your answers help to narrow down your choices.
Remember, if you have a question about international travel, don’t hesitate to contact me, America’s International Travel Expert® by submitting the simple form on my CONTACT page.