THE BUS TOUR
The definition of a bus tour is: a predetermined long distance journey made by bus, usually for recreational purposes.
I often hear people criticising the conducted bus tour as being inferior to taking a road trip, accusing them of being too structured and inflexible. That may be true for some tourists, but for me, the bus tour has many advantages that outweigh the drawbacks. Generally speaking, the tours are good value for money; they include accommodation, transportation, entry fees to many attractions, and there is a running commentary outlining the historical, geographical, and social aspects of the destination. They are stress-free; no parking issues, no searching for accommodation, no waiting for public transport, and no worrying about driving through unfamiliar cities on the wrong side of the road. They are also perfect for visiting places that are difficult to travel within. Generally speaking, tours are very safe.
There are three main types of tours; the general tour bus with a capacity of around forty passengers, the small group tour with a maximum number of passengers of, for example, twenty, and the private tour for a couple or a family. All of the tours we've taken thus far have been very good to excellent. Once or twice we've come across situations that may have been far from ideal, but the key to success is to ignore the annoyances and make the best of a situation. No matter what circumstances that have been thrown at me, the end result has always been positive. The ability to be flexible and patient with fellow-travellers is necessary for a successful tour.
Travelling is all about the experience, and I will always look for the bus tour options, especially when travelling alone or when time is short, or when the tour provides the most comprehensive overview of a destination.
As much as I love taking a road trip, it is not always possible or convenient. I have never taken a Con-Tiki tour, and now I'm far too old to do so, but there are many tour experiences that are unique and worth sharing. For me, I feel a wonderful sense of excitement when I hop onto a bus for the first time and greet my fellow-passengers; the people I'm going to travel with for a defined number of days, and who will share the same sights, but not necessarily the same experiences.
Click on the images below to read about the bus tours I've taken.