Touring by coach is an excellent way to travel and first-timers have little to worry about when preparing for their first coach tour; however, there are a few things you need to understand about coach tours and choosing the right one.
This is also the case with packing and if you’ve travelled in the past you’d know that less is usually more, so don’t pack too much but don’t pack too little either.
Planning and preparing for a coach tour
There are coach tours and there are coach tours and you must understand that the larger your tour group the more you’re going to be treated not as an individual, but rather as a mass entity.
As a result, when planning your first coach tour, bear in mind the following.
The more people the less you’ll see
The more people on the tour the less you’ll see – don’t overlook this important fact. When there are forty-plus people on a coach tour you become a mass entity that requires a great deal of coordination and you’ll usually find that this limits the time you spend sightseeing and doing the things you want to do.
Furthermore, it can also limit your dining options as large groups require restaurants that can accommodate large numbers – don’t plan on too many romantic candlelight dinners – which usually means cosy cafes and restaurants are out of the question.
However, some tours allow you a certain amount of freedom (see below) to eat where you wish and sightsee at leisure and these are the tours that you want to arrange.
Do your research and know exactly what you want to see
When you’ve decided on a destination, do your research so that you know exactly what you want to see as this will aid you in selecting the best tour for your interests.
This is especially true of Europe as there’s so much to see and the sights you really want to see might not be included on some tours – or if it is there mightn’t be enough time for you to enjoy it – so once you’ve done your research and know exactly what you want to see, obtain some tour itineraries and start researching them.
Research itineraries and check out planned accommodations, etc.
By obtaining the itineraries of tours you’re considering joining and researching them you’ve a better chance of being able to experience and see what you want at the destinations you visit.
However, as you’re on a tour you’ll need to make certain sacrifices in this regard because there simply won’t be enough time to fit everything in, which is a reason why many people opt for independent travel rather than tours.
Understand that the best tours allow you a certain amount of freedom
The best coach tours are those that combine guided tours with free time so that you can sightsee at leisure, not to mention allowing you the freedom of eating out where you wish from time to time also.
When you’re in cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, Florence or Paris it suffices to say that you don’t want to be treated like cattle; counted and bustled on and off coaches, so look for tours that allow you the freedom to sightsee at your own pace from time to time.
Packing for a coach tour
Packing for a coach tour is straightforward and is similar in many regards to packing for a worldwide cruise aboard a luxury liner; however, you should make the effort to pack far less – less is more when packing for a coach tour, plus there should be plenty of opportunities to do your washing along the way.
When packing, bear in mind the following.
- Pack to dress in layers as this gives you more wardrobe options
- One suitcase or large bag and one backpack (for daytrips) is plenty
- In your backpack include: camera, notebook, pens, guidebook, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, tissues, medication, poncho, etc.
The less you bring the less you have to lug about and the more enjoyable your first coach tour will be; however, bear in mind that some things are essential and you can’t do without out them – especially your camera!
About: Matthew is a writer working on a freelance basis with Phil Hoffmann Travel, an agency that since its inception has provided a quality service to those looking for suitable holiday packages not only for a cruise worldwide.