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Six Tips for Choosing the Right Tour Operator for You

Written by  Catherine

Happy travellers in Torres del Paine, Chile Happy travellers in Torres del Paine, Chile

Travelling is, without a doubt, one of life’s great pleasures. Soaking up the scenery in an exotic locale, learning about foreign cultures and pushing the boundaries of your personal comfort zone are things that make the endeavour rewarding, but it can be pricey. It makes sense to do your research before handing over your cash to just any old tour operator, but with so many options out there, how do you begin to decide which company is going to deliver on your dream trip?

If you need some tips for choosing the right company for you, read on!

For most of us, price is a pretty important factor to consider; however, in the travel industry, comparing companies on price alone can sometimes mean shooting yourself in the foot. If it is a toss-up between two holidays to Peru for example and one is cheaper than the other, provided that both companies offering the holidays are above-board providers, there will be reasons for the price difference. You need to decide how important the price-influencing factors are to you.

In short, it all boils down to what you get for the price.

1. Length of Trip

BA jumbo flying 600x400

The simplest factor to ascertain is the length of the trip. A 7-day jaunt is usually going to be cheaper than a 15-day journey. Obviously how much time you have available to travel is a factor here, but so is how you like to travel. Generally, slower is better – it’s more relaxing, you have more time to get to know a place and its people, and less flying between local destinations leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

So if it is a shorter trip (and even if it’s a longer trip) consider whether it is a whistle-stop tour of an entire country or does the trip comprise two or three key locations, allowing you to get under the skin of a place a little.

2. Destinations Visited

MAchu Picchu Metropolitan Touring

Of the tours you are considering, which points of interest do their respective itineraries cover? There are certain standard attractions which should be present in all non-niche tours, for example most standard tours to Peru will include a visit to Machu Picchu and Cusco, but which other places do they go to – are they the places you want to see and if not, are you prepared to compromise for the sake of price.

3. Comfort Level

room Villa Maria Colombia

What is the comfort rating of the tour? What is the level of the accommodation you will be staying in? How much chaperoning will you have when you’re away, and how much do these things matter to you?

4. Authenticity

Interacting with kids on Lake Titicaca

Does the holiday give you the opportunity to interact with locals and really see the place you’re in? Does the tour operator use local companies or do they rely on UK-owned-and-run-operations even in far-flung spots?

5. Travel Support

Riviera Maya beaches Mahekal Resort

How involved in your holiday is the company? Do they book your tickets and accommodation and let you get on with it, or are they on hand to offer help and advice leading up to the trip and while you are away, ensuring your trip is a relaxed experience?

6. What’s Included

Tour at Rio Mutum Lodge Brazil

The famous all-inclusive phrase is pretty self-explanatory: flights, meals and accommodation are all covered in the stated cost. However, there are a range of options in between an all-inclusive break and a totally independent trip. Check what is actually included in the advertised price, such as meals, flights, accommodation and excursions, and if any of these things are excluded, how much are they likely to cost you…

And those, travellers, are the main points to consider. So next time you are doing a price comparison, make sure you take all of these things into account to ensure you don’t end up trying to compare apples and oranges.

And of course, weigh up which items are negotiable as far as you and your holiday are concerned, and which are not. And then confidently book the holiday of your dreams and mark the dates on your calendar.

Llama Travel offers tours to Latin America in which all flights, accommodation and transfer fees are included. View our holidays here to see if any tick your boxes.