There is a saying, get your value of your dollar. Many business in the US and outside do try to implement that, but in Israel that expression is unknown. When you take a look at the guided tours in Israel, you will find several of them in the Internet with the help of Google. Click here for an example. You will have a million hits or results in your query, but the problem is now to find the right guided tour for you. There are some factors of course involved and the price is one of them. But honestly, the most important factor is not the price, but the quality.
When you take a look at the many sites, which offers guided tours, it doesn’t show you who is better then the other. All of most of them offer similar tours and all of them claiming that they are the best, photos of laughing operators and happy people are everywhere, but you still don’t know exactly who is better then the other. The only thing you can do is look for trip adviser and see what they can come up with.
TripAdvisor, Inc. is an American travel website company providing reviews of travel-related content. It also includes interactive travel forums. TripAdvisor was an early adopter of user-generated content.
But the problem here is that the reviews are contradicting each other and many providers of guided tours are not mentioned there. What can you do now?
How can you recognize a good or bad guided tour provider in the Internet?
There are ways to determine beforehand if the guided tour is good or not and there are ways to determine if the website and provider of the guided tour is cheating on you. Here are some points and tips you can look for, which indicates that the guided tour provided is good or not or that you are cheated.
But before we go into the details, you need to know what a guided tour actual is.
A guided tour is an organized group trip with a certain itinerary (plan or schedule) and a touring guide.
- When the provider of the guided tour publishes an itinerary, which contains “free days”, you will be cheated.
- When the provider of the guided tour pays for the breakfast, lunch and dinner, except for certain days, you will be cheated.
- When the provider is giving itself a free day during Shabat (the Saturday in Israel) (no guide, no food), you will be cheated.
- If your group contains more then 30-50 people, and there is only one guide, you will be cheated.
- If you take a look at the different itineraries offered in the sites of the provider, and many of them look like each other, you will be cheated.
- If you take a look further into the different itineraries offered in the sites of the provider, and you notice the words ‘around’ or ‘near by’ sights, you will be cheated.
- If there is no detail in the different itineraries offered then only the standard story what a sight is, you will be cheated.
- If the guided tour is offered by a fixed date, the chance that you are cheated is high. Why? How less people joining the guided tour, how more expensive it becomes (for the provider), how more money needs to be saved by the provider and that means less quality hotels, less quality food, less quality bus, cheaper guide, etc.
- Look to the Cancellation policy of the guided tour provider. If it doesn’t contain any Cancellation policy on the Internet, then be very weary of ordering a guided tour by that provider. If the provider doesn’t publish its Cancellation policy, then that means it will not be in your interest when a cancellation occurs. An example of such Cancellation policy is here with us.
- When there is no way to ask questions on the site about certain tours, that is suspicious behavior of the provider.
- Many providers are offering guided tours based on certain flights and/or certain hotels. That’s not a guided tour and the change that you will be cheated is high.
- If the provider doesn’t say anything about their guides, that means that they hire some freelancers, who play the guide. Many times those are students.
What is a good quality guided tour?
There are good quality guided tours in Israel, but you need to find them.
- There will be no “free days” offered in the itinerary. Each day the provider offers breakfast, lunch and dinner (unless it’s specifically requested by the group), Shabat is a normal day for the tour.
- If your group contains more then 30-50 people, there must be multiple guides. Any other size of group will contain one guide and at least one assistant guide. Don’t accept anything less.
- In the website, the provider will not apply “Copy and Paste” in the different itineraries of the tours. Each different tour is really unique and not copies of others.
- In the itineraries, you will see exactly what you are going to see and visit. There will not be sights mentioned, which will not be visited. So words like “nearby” and “around” will not be mentioned.
- The itineraries must be detailed and with images to give an indication of what you are going to expect to see.
- It’s very hard to define a fixed date for a guided tour. The reason is costs. Let the travel agency handle the correct guided tour instead of trying to order a guided tour by yourself.
- The cancellation policy must be published in the internet by the provider.
- The provider must be able to receive and answer requests, questions and accept minor customizations in their tours.
- A guided tour must be based on it’s content, not on the hotels and/or flights.
- Guides must be professionals (and that means not necessary licensed guides in Israel!). A guide must be a showman first and must have deep knowledge about the subjects and sights of the tour, speaking multiple languages. A young guide is mostly the sign of low quality (sorry about that, but that’s experience).
- The website must contain enough information to build your tour with default customizations (like different quality of hotels).
- For each provider, you must ask for a catalog of the guided tour, which details exactly what the tour looks like. Ask the provider for the catalog! The price for a guided tour is not cheap ($1,400 and more expensive), so the catalog is really basic. If the provider has no catalog, then don’t book your tour with that provider.
- When a provider is offering Christian guided tours and the provider is not Christian, you will be cheated for sure. Take care that at least the guide is an Christian. There are too many examples of Christian guided tours with Jewish guides.
- Christian guided tours are in the first place spiritual journeys and must be presented like that.