The Traveler’s Guide on How to Choose the Best Tour Companies When Going Abroad

You’re ready to see the world, but there’s one thing holding you back: you can’t decide on a tour company. 

You’ve heard people rave about their experiences and you’ve longingly researched the geographics, but you know a tour company will take the stress out of traveling and let you immerse yourself in the experience. 

But how are you supposed to find the right one? 

With our seven tips, finding the best tour companies has never been easier. Get your traveling pack ready because it won’t be long before you find the one that is perfect for you. 

Finding the Best Tour Companies for Your Adventure

There are several factors to consider before deciding on a tour company. A tour company can make your vacation the time of your life or just another dull experience without anything remarkable.

Here’s how to find the perfect one. 

1. Reputation

It’s all about reputation. Comb through online reviews from various sites and see what travelers have to say. Consider beginning with a search for the area you’ll be traveling to rather than a specific business.  

Start making a list of the company names that pop up often. Then reconduct your search to look for reviews about those specific companies.

This process gives you a shorter list that’s dependable. 

Next, check that all organizations on your list are accredited by the government. You can do this by going to the Better Business Bureau’s website.

Finally, consider discussing your search with travel agents. These professionals know all the ins and outs of travel!   

2. Costs

The next step is to research costs. You’ll notice travel guides have costs varying from stupendously cheap to outrageously expensive. 

It’s not quite as simple as you “pay more to get more.” Many things factor into costs, such as the region being traveled, the group size, sleeping quarters, food and more. 

Carefully review each company on your list to look for ones that are the most transparent about costs. Read small print to look for any hidden or optional fees. 

Reliable companies provide breakdowns of costs, demonstrating what each penny goes towards. Doing so also lets you, the customer, see if the pricing is fair. 

After all, you don’t want to pay exorbitant amounts for overnight stays and end up in a hostel. 

3. Group Size

Group size matters. A lot. 

Most customers report having the best experiences with groups of 15 and under. If you’re the type of person who prefers quiet and smaller groups, 10 and below may be right for you. 

Although lots of fun can be had with larger parties, it becomes difficult for individuals to make the most of their vacation if they are constantly scrambling around 50 other travelers. 

Take your personality and expectations into account.

4. Itineraries 

At this point, you should have a better idea of which companies fit your budget and have stellar reputations. Now it’s time to get to the fun stuff. 

Take a look at the itineraries and ask yourself:

  • Is there a good balance of travel time and adventure?
  • Does the company include every place you’d like to visit? 
  • How much free time is there? 
  • Are multiple activities offered or are only single activities available during time slots? 

Make sure the itinerary reflects the vacation you desire and dream of. If it doesn’t, consider going to a different company. 

5. Flexibility

You might be tempted to find a tour business that packs as much as possible into a single day. Keep in mind that traveling is both exhilarating and exhausting. 

The best companies are usually the most flexible ones. Travelers in Rome, for instance, can wake up and visit the Sistine Chapel as a group then have a few hours of lunch for personal time. The time after that might be devoted to one of several excursions, giving travelers options about their time. 

You can discover more about the possibilities here, but know that flexibility is key. You can’t know what your vacation will bring until you’re experiencing it.

6. Research the Guides

Guides are the cornerstones of all group tours. They make or break the entire experience. 

Do some research on the guides. Find out who the guides are and if they actually know their stuff. 

Too many potentially amazing vacations have crumbled into boring escapades because the guide wasn’t knowledgeable, professional or friendly enough to make the trip worthwhile. 

Local guides are especially fantastic with group tours because they have cultural insights other guides might be missing. Furthermore, they know all the hidden gems in the area. 

In the tourism industry, customer service is everything and, to travelers, the guides become the face of the company. 

7. Consider the Company’s Local Presence 

Only the best tour companies consider the effects their presence have on locals. As a result, more companies are turning to social impact travel, which keeps the money the business makes within the community being toured. 

Others focus on sustainable travel, which encourages eco-friendly practices. 

The greatest businesses care about the area you are touring, and it shows in how they educate guests on cultural expectations and differences.

Companies that have this attitude reflect it in their itineraries and booking styles. Some may offer discounted rates for consumers that donate to the area or will explain that a portion of each ticket is provided to organizations within the region.

8. Make Sure It’s for You 

You should have only a handful of companies left on your list. That means it’s time to take one last thing into account: if the tour is right for you. 

To understand this, you must consider the demographics of the people you’ll travel with and the itinerary. Will you be surrounded by party-goers or professional researchers? 

Don’t forget to consider the experience level. No one wants to be left behind because they’ve never skied and the group is full of professional skiers. Likewise, your own comfort level in terms of daily travel amounts should be factored in, too.   

Know your comfort zone and who you would like to travel with, then check to see if the group’s personality and experience match your own. 

See the World

Become one of the 38 million Americans who travels overseas. Choose from only the best tour companies, and find them with our easy eight tips.

Are you a first-time international traveler? Then learn everything you need to have ready in our article for travelers going abroad for the first time. 

Bon voyage!