Travel Tips for Bus Tours
A bus tour can be a relaxing way to see major tourist sites. Or it can be a
nightmare, with you as the central character. Part of your enjoyment of the bus
tour will be dependent upon your personality. We'll try to give you enough
information to help you in making a decision to at least try a tour, or avoid
one at all costs.
Recommended for. . .
Sightseers who want to leave the driving and trip details to someone else.
People who don't want to drive for several hours between destinations.
Individuals who want to be part of a group (but who still want their "space").
Bus tours have been called "cruises on land" with good reason. The tour
operator takes care of all of the details of your trip, including unloading your
luggage and placing it in your room each evening.
Not recommended for. . .
Parents with children under the age of 20 (who won't enjoy most of what they
see), adults who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, "Type A" personalities who need to be
in control, and anyone who just has to stop at every roadside stand or gas
Tour buses are similar to Greyhound/Trailways buses on the exterior, with
upgraded seats and onboard restrooms. Some also have televisions mounted from
the underside of the overhead baggage racks. These buses tend to be very
comfortable, with soft, easy rides. However, don't expect airplane-quality
amenities -- bus restrooms are essentially portable toilets, with no flushing.
And there are no individual temperature controls. And, speaking of bus
restrooms, you can't always expect to use them, especially overseas. Many
European bus tours have the bus toilets locked, and you will only be allowed to
use them in an "emergency."
Don't Overlook This . . .
A bus "tour" is just what it says.
You'll have a trained, knowledgeable tour director who will explain the sights
you'll be seeing. You'll be chauffeured from place to place, and you can
concentrate on seeing new sights, and learning more about the world around you.
Benefits of Bus Tours
There are quite a few:
Someone else does the driving.
This can be nice in the U.S., but it can be huge overseas. On a
recent bus tour of Ireland, we were very glad that we were not driving
along the narrow country roads.
Tour guide -- a bus tour generally has a
very knowledgeable tour guide who gives a day-long running commentary of
what you are seeing.
A planned itinerary that is maximized
for both the time you are spending on the tour and the key sights that
you should be seeing. You will never be able to cover the same
amount of ground on your own.
The cost is generally lower than what
you would spend if you did the same tour yourself. The bus tour
company gets group discounts from hotels and restaurants. Plus
(especially overseas), the amount of your tour price that is allocated
for the bus is far less than what you would spend renting a car
You can lock in your costs up front.