Utilize a Tour Operator for Your Next Trip by:Jennifer Bailey
While not everyone is familiar with what a tour operator does, this travel professional can make a huge difference in how well your next vacation or business trip goes. Providing a one stop shop of services for many aspects of the vacation experience, utilizing the services of a tour operator can save time, money, and make getting to and from your destination a much more efficient and enjoyable experience.
In terms of what a tour operator does, the focus is on combining elements of touring and travel into one simple package. For example, a tour operator may be called upon to arrange a charter flight to a given destination, then provide transportation from the airport or airstrip to the hotel, hostel, or whatever other accommodations have been made for the traveler. While in the area, the tour operator either functions as the local resource for everyone traveling within the tour group, or has arranged for a local representative to assist members of the group with anything they may need.
All services provided by the tour operator are contracted up front and are included in the fee charged. The tourist does not have to be concerned about separate charges for transportation, lodgings, or any other component that is covered under the contract with the tour operator. This can help simplify the process of traveling a great deal, since the operator is responsible for making the basic arrangements as well as any other service that is specifically covered by the terms and conditions of the contract.
Along with handling transportation and lodging issues, the tour operator is also likely to arrange escorted tours of selected local sites, providing the tour with some degree of structure. It is also not unusual for the tour operator to arrange at least one meal each day for the tour group, usually the morning or evening meal. At other times, the members of the group are responsible for planning and paying for their own meals.
Engaging the services of a tour operator is often a good idea when planning a trip that involves a large number of people. For example, a tour operator would be an ideal means of making plans for a faith-based tour to locations that are of significance to the members of the tour party, or when making arrangements for business conventions where several hundred people are expected to attend. In many ways, a tour operator may work hand in hand with event planners to reserve blocks of hotel rooms, arrange transportation to and from an airport, and also schedule tours to local points of interest in the evenings, when convention activities for the day are completed.
While the Internet has made it much easier for many people to make their own travel plans online, there is still a great demand for the services of tour operators. Generally, the operators have solid working arrangements with transportation companies, hotel chains, and other services that are normally employed during a vacation or tour. This professional rapport often makes it possible for the operator to obtain price breaks that individuals would never be able to manage on their own. From this perspective, going through a tour operator can mean saving a great deal of money on both the travel arrangements and the activities that take place during the course of the tour.
Utilizing a tour operator is an excellent idea if you plan on traveling to countries where you know very little in regard to the local culture. The operator can help you understand local currency, develop a fair idea of what is considered appropriate behavior in the area, and in general supply you with information that will prevent any type of awkward incidents. At the same time, the operator can also help you understand what you will need in the way of identification papers, including picture IDs and passports.
Finding a tour operator is a relatively simple task. Many operators advertise in local periodicals as well as national travel magazines. It is not unusual for tour operators to operate web sites, providing details of the types of tours they offer and the range of services they provide. In many countries there is at least one national association composed of active tour operators. Many of these associations can provide contact information for tour operators in your local area.
For your next trip, consider engaging the services of a tour operator. You may be surprised at how easy the process works and how many of the small details the operator is able to handle on your behalf. Between making the necessary arrangements and assisting you with the day to day arrangements of taking tours and soaking up local culture, you may wonder how you ever managed without a tour operator.
About the author
Jennifer Bailey is a freelance writer who writes about vacation tips and world travel, often discussing a specific company such as Globus Tours.