Originally Posted by BillNOVA
Thinking of taking a bus tour with the wife, in the US. Maybe 7 to 14 days. Anybody had any good or bad experience with bus tours and any suggestions on that type of vacations?
I do 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year on bus tours! I travel almost exclusively with a local, family-owned bus/tour company
located here in north-central IL. This company is fantastic about planning the trips, going to interesting & fun destinations, getting very nice accommodations, and especially taking care of each individual in the group. They stop about every 2 hours for rest/stretch breaks, as well as for lunch. They also have snacks, water and juice onboard that everyone has free access to. You can just stare out the windows, chat & visit with others on the trip, read, or take naps....whatever you want to do. And on many of the trips that we go on, they have seats that they can spin around to face the rear and have a table that they install (in similar fashion as a restaurant booth) so folks can play cards or do a jigsaw puzzle. And usually after lunch, they'll throw in a tape or DVD and show a movie.
We've traveled with them for over 10 years, and have been from the Key West, Florida to the Canadian Rockies, from the East Coast to Las Vegas, and almost everywhere in between. We absolutely love it! They take care of ALL of the arrangements, reservations, luggage handling, DRIVING
, etc. And the best part is that through all these years and miles that we traveled with them, they have become some of our very best friends......the owners, the drivers, the tour escorts....even the guys & gals that work in the office and the shop. We've also met some really nice folks over the years (fellow travelers) whose friendship and camaraderie we enjoy, not only on trips, but also in day-to-day life as well.
We've traveled with a couple of other local or nearby tour companies, and they were OK.....but they weren't (or at least to us, didn't seem to be) as congenial and friendly as the company we normally use. And we've done some trips with other tour companies/groups that don't own their own buses, but hire our favorite one to supply the bus and the driver, and they just do the planning and escorting. We've also taken Mayflower
bus tours, and they were nice trips, although 1 or 2 of their escorts left a lot
to be desired.....like personality. Their 'people skills' were greatly lacking. But, fortunately, we've found that those type escorts are certainly in the minority, and not common place.
The best way to find out if going this route is for you, is to just give it a shot and see for yourself. Some people (like us) absolutely love it......while some people absolutely hate it. This year we enjoyed 3 weeks with them in Florida in February, and a week with them in Savannah, GA & Nashville TN in May. In October we're going with them on a 9 day trip to the Northeast, and then a week long trip to San Antonio in December. Plus we do a LOT
of day trips with them......a couple dozen a year (at least). Next year we're booked for Florida, Atlanta & Chattanooga, Albuquerque, Michigan, Las Vegas, and Nashville. And yesterday I booked a trip to Alaska (including a cruise) with them for 2010!
It's a great way to see the America. It's relaxing, and you don't have to deal with traffic or reservations or any of the rest of that stuff. I'd suggest trying a week long trip to try it out. That way if you don't like it, it's only a week. And if you find that you do like it, then you can give longer duration trips a shot.