Don’t get Swindled! 10 Questions to Ask Your Travel Company

Posted on October 7, 2011

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Student travel companies are notorious for swindling their student customers.

Some are deceptive in their advertising; others are disorganized and unprofessional in their operations. Not all travel companies are the same, however. Some are truly passionate about travel and offer high quality experience their guests remember for the rest of their lives. This article shows you exactly how to vet out a travel company to ensure you get what you expect.

By Peter Langlois

Before you book a tour with a travel company, its important to know exactly what to you’re getting. The following questions will help you do exactly that. If the answers aren’t posted clearly on the website, then don’t hesitate to make a call or send an email.

Most packaged weekend tours cost $200 to $300, so the extra research is definitely worth your time!

  1. What’s included? If the itinerary is unclear about what’s included, make a phone call or send an email to find out. Travel companies are infamous for making their trips appear to include more than they actually do.
  2. Group size? If you’re traveling with 50 tourists, forget a genuine cultural experience. you’ll most likely be staying in enormous hotels, eating in enormous restaurants and hanging around touristic sights. If you want a more personal cultural experience, travel with a company that offers small groups.
  3. Who is my guide? Having a local guide will help you connect with the local culture. Make sure your guide speaks the local language and is native to the destination.
  4. Extra costs? The company should state up front how much extra you can expect to spend on non-included meals and optional activities.
  5. Refunds/Cancellations? Their policy should be clearly stated in the terms and conditions section of the website.
  6. Accommodations? Accommodations can make or break your trip. The itinerary should clearly state where you are staying.
  7. Free time? Some itineraries are packed from dawn until dusk with activities and sightseeing. Others include lots of free time.
  8. Guest reviews? You can often find out a lot about a company by the reviews of past guests. Most companies list reviews online. You can also find reviews on forums such as Trip Advisor.
  9. What about safety? Check the company’s safety standards to make sure their guides are first aid trained and they follow industry best standards.
  10. How many years of experience? As a rule of thumb, make sure the company has been operating for at least 3 years, and with a long history of positive reviews. This information should be stated clearly on the company’s website.

If you find satisfactory answers to these questions you can rest assured your expectations will be met.

 

Do you have any other advice for booking weekend tours with travel companies? Share it with us in the comments section below!

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