Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Chicago

Travel, Dining and Culture:
Selecting a Tour

Travel can be a lot like taking a test. Just arrived in Paris and feeling the effects of jet lag? No matter. It's up to you to find your lost luggage, get a cab from the airport, find out why there's no heat in your hotel room, and memorize the dates and times that the city's major museums are open—and that's just day one. It's no wonder that people come back from a trip feeling exhausted.

If you're like many seniors who are tired of do-it-yourself travel but have a long list of destinations they would still like to visit, you've probably given tours some thought. With a tour, you trade some of your independence for convenience, letting the company handle the logistics, set the schedule, and provide the introduction to new places.

Finding tour companies that cover the destinations you want to visit is relatively easy. A quick trip to the Internet should produce a list of names. The more difficult question is finding a company whose approach to travel best matches your own. So before you put down a deposit, pinpoint what you want out of your trip.

Knowing what you want out of the tour will help you make your first cut of possible companies. The next step is to gather information about how each tour organization operates. Here are some questions to consider:

Once you've found a compatible tour company, make sure you understand the agreement before you sign on the dotted line.

Most of all, make sure the tour company you choose is reputable. Verify that the company is a member of a professional association such as the National Tour Association, the United States Tour Operators Association, or the American Society of Travel Agents. And don't be bashful about asking for references.

Do your homework and your trip won't feel like a test of your willpower and ingenuity. You'll be able to sit back, absorb the sights, and come home refreshed. Wouldn't that be a nice change?

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