If you’ve been dreaming of an adventure trip, you should consider contacting a travel tour operator. This travel expert will be ready to tailor-make a holiday trip to suit your geographical interests as well as your favourite adventure activities. Whether you imagine yourself snorkeling, hot air ballooning or horseback riding, a travel tour operator will know all the ins and outs of how to organize your dream vacation within the perimeters of your personal budget. The first thing you want to be sure of when hiring a travel tour operator is that they belong to a trustworthy travel association such as the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) which represents the private sector of the incoming tourism industry of South Africa. By going through a group such as SATSA, not only will you have a peace of mind that the operator can be trusted, but you will save yourself the time of comparing costs, booking transportation and accommodation as well as planning the itinerary.
Being part of a travel association is good but not enough for you to immediately put your vacation planning in the hands of an operator. Spend time researching different operators that a group such as SATSA recommends. Use search engines such as Google.com, and create folders on your computer to store information about the tour operators you’re most considering. Nearly one hundred percent of all travel research is now done on the internet, so you certainly won’t have any problems finding what you’re looking for. After your online research is finished, page through some magazines such as National Geographic Traveler which is a great source for tour operators all over the world. Spend an afternoon asking your local travel agent questions, and ask your friends if they recommend any operators for your adventure travel planning.
Before you choose a tour operator, it’s important for you to know the basics of your dream vacation. If you’ve ever made a “bucket list” of place s you want to go and things you want to do, see which ones match up with your intended time of travel. For instance, if your trip has to be in the winter, that won’t be a good time to climb Mount Everest; in fact, it would be fatal. If you’re not traveling alone, write down how many people will be going with you. Write down your budget and all of the details that are non-negotiable. If safety is your first priority, put it in your trip description. This is your chance to make some solid decisions on what your travel experience will be like before you allow the operator to influence your decisions.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of the kind of vacation you want to take, it’s time to approach some of your top travel tour operators to get some answers. Find out how long the operator has been in business, what credentials they have attained and the demographics of those who normally go on their trips. Ask them for an estimate of how much the trip may cost, and find out if they can handle travel insurance for you. If the trip will be physically demanding, does your ability line up with the physical activity on the trip? Also be sure to ask about the guides’ experience. The last thing you want is to spend your dream vacation with a new tour guide who might as well be experiencing it for the first time. Remember to try and uncover anything that could be hidden. Check the terms and conditions, find out about deposits and cancellations, and get clear feedback on what kinds of financial extras may be added to your trip costs such as drinks, tips and meals. Ask for a basic itinerary of each day of the trip to see if it suits your pace. Lastly ask the operator for some references of past clients, so you can contact and hear about their experiences.
After doing proper research on various operators, writing down the non-negotiables of your trip and asking your favourite operators for some specifics, you’re almost ready to make your decision. One of the most important aspects of a company to consider is their customer service. Remember that you could need to reach them quickly if an emergency arises when you’re overseas. How quickly can you get a representative on the phone? If you are going through an automated dialing system for twenty minutes only to leave a message after the beep, you know that tour operator should not be entrusted with your tour. It makes sense to be partial to companies who not only respond to your inquiries promptly but go the extra mile to make the trip exactly how you’ve imagined it. By examining various travel tour operators under these lenses, it will be easy to make your decision. Visit Echo 4×4 for more ideas on adventure holidays!