Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hop On Hop Off - The benefits of city HOHO Tour Buses

I've been talking about doing this for a year, so now I guess it's time to get started.
We've taken several trips this year and one of the things we've done regularly is take "Hop On, Hop Off" Tour buses. These are the best entertainment dollars you'll spend when you travel with your kids or even alone.
On the surface these buses may seem a bit expensive. Here's the way to do it. Find a "Hop On, Hop Off" tour bus for the city you are visiting. Verify that the passes are good for a 24 hour period rather than for just a calendar day. I've yet to find one that isn't 24 hours, but just in case, be sure you verify. If you're spending several days in a city you may want to opt for Multi-Day passes if they are available.
Take your first "Hop On" tour late in the day on the day you buy the tickets. Plan to ride the tour the entire route without "Hopping Off." I would recommend that based on the length of the entire tour, you plan to be getting off the bus at the end of the tour right about dinner time. One of the benefits of the tour is that you can ask the guide about local restaurants and they should be able to give you great recommendations that are along the tour route. Collect recommendations for breakfast the next day too. That way you'll be able to have breakfast somewhere along the route and then "Hop On" the bus and be carried to your next destination.
Each time you get on the bus you'll have a different tour guide. This keeps it interesting as each guide has their own favorite stories and interests. We've had hardcore history buffs, cool and crazy trivia guides, and even guides that play Q and A with the customers and then hand out little treats to people who get the answers right. Finally, we try to wrap up your stay in the city with one final full tour. Again, you'll get different information from the tour guide, you'll have a different perspective on the pictures you want to take from the bus, and you're kids will have their knowledge of the city reinforced one last time.
Here are the benefits to the HOHO Tour Buses:
  • Your first afternoon you can take the full tour in one fell swoop, that way you'll get a good idea of where everything is, discover new things, and figure out what you want to do the next day(s).
  • The tour guide will be able to answer lots of questions for you and provide good "local" information about attractions, restaurants, etc.
  • The HOHO bus makes it simple to get around town and allows you to take a bit of a rest. Most of them are double decker so the kids love to ride up top.
  • The tour guides on the bus will give you other fun and interesting pieces of information about the area.
  • If you love the tour guide's style you can stay on the bus, if you don't care for it, you can jump off and wait or the next bus.