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Don’t Let Your Vacation Be Ruined By Cheap Tour

June 26, 2008
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People can learn from others’ mistake to be able to make wise choice when they have to face the same situation. That is the purpose of sharing my story from a recent vacation.

Beautiful Dream

Living in New York, I dreamed to spend my vacation with my spouse to different atmosphere of the west cost. When the time came, we decided to go to the happiest place in the world the Disneyland, the sin city Las Vegas, and one of the wonders of the world Grand Canyon. We signed up at a travel agent, Harmony Int’l Travel, to join a six-day west cost tour operated by American Business Connection (A.B.C. Inc), located in San Gabriel, CA. The agent convinced us it would be a bilingual Chinese-English tour. We were really happy to be able to materialize the dream soon; and I was also satisfied to be able to buy a bargain tour package for the price of $368 a person, excluding airfare.

Untruthful and Rip-off

On May 19th, 2008, we left for Los Angeles airport for the long awaited vacation. When we arrived in the LAX airport after six-hour flight, we had to make several telephone calls to the tour operator, the A.B.C Inc., and wait for 45 minutes, before a man, called Mr. Chen, from the tour operator came to pick us. Next, we were dropped at a fast-food restaurant and Mr. Chen left us there to pick other people from the same airport. One hour passed, he didn’t show up; two hours passed he still didn’t show up. Again, we had to make several calls to, both the travel agent and the A.B.C. tour office before Mr. Chen showed up to bring us to the hotel. It’s unpleasant welcome gesture by the tour operator on the first day, because we had to wait for three hours since arriving in the airport before getting to a hotel.

On the third day of the tour we got a new tour leader, called Andy who would lead the group going to Las Vegas and then visiting Grand Canyon for the next three days. In the morning of May 21st, we were picked by a big tour couch, # 2009, license plate #CP83117. I had to remind the tour leader that we don’t speak Chinese because since leaving the hotel, the tour leader had spoken only in Chinese. What happened next was out of our expectation; the tour leader kept speaking Chinese regardless our request and the fact there were at least five people didn’t speak Chinese. Andy spoke English only for limited purposes, such as collecting money for optional tour, informing us where the bus would stop, and time to come back to the couch. The rest of trip to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon was the same; the guiding was only delivered in Chinese. When we asked Andy about the language problem, he took it easy and said he forgot that we didn’t understand Chinese. Complaints were also voiced by another couple who also kept asking the tour leader for guiding in English.

Arriving in Las Vegas on the May 21st the afternoon, the couch directly dropped us at Las Vega Club hotel located in old town Las Vegas. It was just 4 pm when the guided tour of the day was ended. I expected the bus would at least take us around the city because it was still too early to go to the hotel; and after all it is a Las Vegas tour. Instead, the tour leader arranged an optional tour to explore the city for extra cost $25 a person. When selling the optional tour, the tour leader convinced us that exploring the city by oneself would be more expensive because it would cost $30 a person only to reach the new city. What tuned out later, the optional tour was merely dropping the participants at one point on the Las Vegas Boulevard South and let the participant to take picture; no guiding at all, nothing. Add to the insult, it was turned out that it was easy to reach the place with only $5 bus fare valid for all day. Some participants grumbled for paying the optional tour; some of them felt that the tour leader and the tour company had cheated them. The rest of the group that didn’t join the optional tour also complained; that it was not the kind of tour they intended to join because what they got was only transportation to and accommodation service in Las Vegas, nothing to do with going around Las Vegas city.

It was still early morning on the way back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas when Andy collected $18 a person for his and the driver’s salary for the three days. He didn’t mention it as a “tip”, instead he used the term “salary”, which implicitly indicated everybody had to pay him regardless of his poor, unprofessional service. Still, some participants didn’t give him the full amount he requested. Tour members revealed disappointment with the tour because the tour leader, Andy, didn’t do his job and didn’t care what tour members concerned about, while handling complaints with unprofessional, rude manner. Some refer the tour leader as nasty rude person, while others called him as a greedy and no manner person.

Lesson to Learn

Don’t be fooled and lured by a cheap tour package for your vacation. The price is not the only issue you have to concern about. Buying an inexpensive tour, you may end up paying even more costly and having unpleasant vacation because of many hidden extra costs, unprofessional service, and rude treatment from the tour leader.

Read the brochure carefully and ask questions, especially about the tour details, potential extra costs, optional tours, and admission tickets for attractions. You have to make sure the tour operator provides guided tour when visiting the tour destination mentioned on the brochure instead only arranging transportation and accommodation.

When joining a bilingual tour, get a guarantee from the agent about it. This is crucial if you want to have fun and enjoy your vacation. There is no point to purchase a guided tour conducted in foreign language that you don’t understand and only to become a stranger among the crowd.

Finally, get recommendation from friends, relatives, or others who are satisfied with the tour that your will join to.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 12, 2008 10:35 am

    Check reputation and get recommendation from friends before going with a tour. For ABC tour, shame on you. People with not use you, ABC tour.

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