When going on tour, it’s easy to get swept up at the moment and not pay attention to little details that can make or break your trip. It can be hard to think clearly when you’re in the middle of an amazing experience, so it’s important to have a checklist of things to make sure you do before you embark on your tour adventure. If you keep these 10 tips in mind, you can have a more seamless tour experience that will make all of your memories that much more memorable.
1. Trip Planning
The best tip for the tour is planning a trip abroad involves making sure all bases are covered, from health insurance and immunizations to finances and passports. First and foremost, make sure you have enough travel medical insurance coverage in place. A comprehensive plan will cover not only your hospital expenses but also allow you to receive professional care anywhere in the world at a reasonable cost (depending on your insurance policy). Depending on where you’re going, it is better to check the travel health kit—comprised of common items like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, bandages, antibiotic ointment, mosquito repellent wipes—to have with you just in case of emergencies.
2. Know Your Budget
A tour is, by definition, a fixed budget, which means you won’t have to make any decisions once you land at your destination. Although tours are generally less expensive than opting for individual flights and hotels, some still run into problems due to their budgets not being large enough. Before booking anything, look at your budget and see if it allows for a weeklong tour or if it would be better suited for a shorter vacation. Be sure to also factor in potential costs that aren’t included in a tour package such as airport transfers and day trips. Having an idea of how much money you want to spend will help ensure that you don’t end up running over budget.
3. Take Your Time
Another best tip for the tour is once you’ve got your plan in place and your trip planned, you’ll want to spend some time researching each destination before booking. No one wants a travel mishap like getting their destination wedding off of Airbnb, so it’s always better (and safer) if you do your homework before your arrival. Do as much research as possible from websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google reviews; all will help you know exactly what type of accommodations or activities you should choose for each location. It’s also important that you look into any additional costs that might not be included with standard travel packages (tipping, meals, transportation). You don’t want any surprises when it comes time for payment!
4. Do Research on Each Destination Before Booking
While your travel agent or airline might be able to recommend a good spot, it’s a good idea to investigate each destination before you visit. Consult online reviews, get recommendations from friends and family and check out photos on Yelp (YELP) and TripAdvisor (TRIP). Not only will research help you narrow down your destinations but reading up on them will also give you an idea of what to do when you get there. Do some people rave about whale watching? Then make sure that’s at the top of your list. Or is hiking a big deal in one location? Don’t let anyone tell you what activities are best—there’s no better way to decide than by researching ahead of time.
5. Use a Travel Agent
When booking a vacation overseas, don’t be afraid to use a travel agent. Many tourist destinations are difficult for an American tourist to navigate without speaking their language. Using a travel agent can help you feel confident that your plans are in place and that you’re booking accommodations and airfare at reasonable prices. It can also help ensure that everything is arranged smoothly. So you can focus on enjoying your vacation instead of worrying about details such as whether or not your hotel has free Wi-Fi. This is especially true if you have special requirements such as food allergies or mobility issues.
6. Book as Far in Advance as Possible
No one wants to attend a tour with someone miserable, crabby, and complaining about everything along the way. If you aren’t having fun, chances are no one else will either. So be sure to take a second and check your attitude at home. Remember, you can pick your friends but not your family.
7. Choose Hotels With Pools and Spas
When you’re traveling, if there’s a choice between hotels with pools and those without, go for the hotel with a pool. Chances are high that it’ll have some facilities geared toward relaxation—the perfect opportunity to relax in the water. And, since most hotels will give you towels for your pool-side use. You won’t have to bring any on your trip.
8. Purchase Travel Insurance
If you’re planning a trip, don’t leave home without travel insurance. Also known as trip insurance, it protects you against sickness, theft, lost luggage, and more. Think of it as an early-riser fee. If something bad happens while you’re on vacation, travel insurance will cover your hospital bills or replace valuables. Even better: Many plans won’t charge cancellation fees if your vacation is affected by acts of nature or terrorism.
9. Keep Your Valuables Secure
It’s never a good idea to flash your expensive camera, jewelry, or designer purse around on tour. Secure your valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch under your clothes. You should also make sure that any electronics have tracking systems that can be traced if stolen. There are many GPS trackers available for smartphones and tablets today, like Find My iPhone or Find My iPad, for example.
10. Stay Vigilant
Protect your safety. Traveling with kids means you’ll need to be extra vigilant when it comes to personal safety and security. Travelers with children should take particular care in any place that might seem dangerous or crowded areas. Areas include large cities, airports, bus stations, and area that is not well lit or monitored by surveillance cameras. If at all possible, refrain from walking through these places alone. If you must walk through one of these areas alone—take a taxi. If you feel unsafe for any reason on your trip, plan alternate routes and schedules.
A guided tour can help you appreciate a city like never before. Making use of professional guides and local experts is an essential part of seeing a destination in all its glory. The best tip you can get before traveling? Don’t try to do too much, and don’t be afraid to just sit back and enjoy.