Questions to Ask Tour Operators

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Oct 1st, 2004, 07:33 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Questions to Ask Tour Operators

So, after getting great advice on my itinerary on this board and elsewhere, I have been in communication with two different tour operators (both in country) that have come up with very similar pricing on the itinerary and both have been very helpful. For the most part, given the lodging we have selected the tour operator will simply be getting us from place to place and then we will be using the game vehicles and drives at the various lodging. Has anyone put together a list of tour operator "interview" questions that might help me (and others) to break the tie so to speak?
Some that I have though of include the obvious-
What kind of land vehicles do you use and how many guest per vehicle?
How did I get in touch with someone/what is company policy with respect to problems that arise during our trip?
What kind of training to your guides/staff get?

Others?
AmyH is offline  
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Oct 1st, 2004, 02:15 PM
  #2
sandi
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Hi Amy -

I know you were considering both East Africa and Southern Africa, so can I assume you've decided on East Africa?

As far as your questions:
>>1. What kind of land vehicles do you use and how many guest per vehicle?
2. How did I get in touch with someone/what is company policy with respect to problems that arise during our trip?
3. What kind of training to your guides/staff get?<<

Land vehicles - for those that you will be using direct from your tour operator (assume Roy Safaris) they have all such information on their website, but if you wish anything more specific, inquire of them directly. In those cases where you will be using vehicles from specific lodges/camps, these will vary, though I'm sure the tour operator will know if a particular lodge uses open Land Rovers or closed pop-tops. As to the number of individuals per vehicle, for those from (again assuming Roys), since you are going on a custom intinerary I'm sure your price quote indicates "exclusive use of vehicle." When it comes to the individual camps, you might have other guests with you, but rarely will there be more than a total of 6 passengers - yourselves (4) and another 2. But then you might not have any other guests. You can, of course, request exclusive use of vehicles at individual lodges/camps, but there is a surcharge attached to that request. Again inquire of your tour operator for specifics.

Whom to contact if need arises - you will receive a list of names, addresses and phone/fax numbers, and, no doubt, email addresses, of all lodges/camps, a copy of which you can leave with someone at home if they need to contact you; for your use while on holiday. Should you need to contact the tour operator for any reason, you will be able to do so.

As to the guides and their training - again your tour operator will be able to provide specifics, but we have learned that the guides in both countries, are resident to the country, have attended tourism, animal, birds, foliage training, language classes, hospitality training, vehicle maintenance, and receive licenses to be able to practice their trade (guides).

And if you have any special requests, be it dietary (vegetarian, no fish, etc.), physical disabilities, or others - be sure to discuss with your tour operator who will work to accommodate you in any way. Whatever questions or concerns, just ask the tour operator.

 
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