Motor Coach Tours: Pros and Cons
PROS: Your fellow passengers will number about 25 to 40 and your coach will be comfortable, air-conditioned and heated. Motor coach tours stop at least every two hours and there is an “emergency” rest room onboard.
Escorted tours include a knowledgeable director/guide, entertaining and fun to be around. Your tour guide takes care of virtually all details so all you need to worry about is enjoying yourself. Baggage handling from the bus to hotels is usually included. The courtesy rule is to always be at the bus at the appointed time.
Admissions to attractions are generally included and you seldom will wait in the public lines. Hotels range from 3-5 stars (all in one tour) and are generally in convenient locations. A number of meals are included (usually all or most breakfasts, a few lunches and several dinners). On nights when dinner is not offered, you will find a variety of dining options and budget ranges within walking distance or at your hotel.
There’s no need to rush to get the “best seat” on the coach as tour directors rotate guests each day so everyone gets to ride up front or have the “best” view along the way.
The small number of guests on a motor coach (about 40 max) allows you to make new friends easily and on YMCA Alumni tours, we blend in well with all fellow passengers.
CONS: You will become very adept at packing and unpacking your suitcase with one or – at most – three nights in the same hotel. That takes some planning so you don’t have to totally unpack or repack each stop. Sometimes, particularly when there is a long hop between cites or sites, it can be a full day of sitting on the coach (though there will be plenty of comfort, lunch and tour stops.
Understand you will be getting on and off the coach a number of times each day. Most tour stops involve varying degrees of walking and listening to your guide over earbuds. These excursions carry differing degrees of fitness levels, and are often on uneven surfaces, such as cobblestone streets or climbing moderate slopes.
You can find a comfortable bench or cafe and wait for your tour group to return if it gets too strenuous. Most tour guides are sensitive to the fitness levels and ages of their group.
Tipping is generally handled for your tour guide and driver on the last full day of your trip. You may also want to tip daily tour guides if they are local.