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Bus-tling Around Town: A Brief Guide to Bus Tours

amandad December 23, 2019

Planning your itinerary when traveling to a new city can be tricky, and narrowing down the seemingly endless list of must-see attractions is sometimes a nearly impossible task. Rather than selecting subpar sites and leaving unsatisfied after their vacation, many people choose to embark on a guided bus tour instead. This guide to bus tours will give you all the necessary information you need to plan a spectacular vacation and ensure that you check off every attraction on your travel to-do list.

Why you should take a bus tour

The answer is simple: bus tours offer a convenient, informative, and fun way to see a city. While you could just as easily drive yourself around town or embark on a self-guided walking tour, navigating maps and unfamiliar road signs will quickly leave you frustrated and exhausted. Unlike a self-guided tour in which you must play the role of navigator, pilot, and tour guide, on a bus tour, your sole job is to simply sit back, relax, and take in the sights. You won’t need to worry about traffic or construction and can instead focus on taking in the city’s spectacular sights and sounds.

Bus tours also offer a much more efficient means of traveling than a bike, Segway, or walking tour might. In San Francisco, for instance, a walking tour will likely last all day and may even leave you with shin splints and shortness of breath. San Francisco is known for its steep hills and winding roads and navigating these as a tourist can be treacherous. The Red Bus Tour in San Francisco, however, traverses these hills and valleys with ease, allowing visitors to visit all the best attractions in the city without becoming exhausted.

What to pack

The most important thing to pack on your bus tour is a camera. As you travel around the city, you’ll be treated to some of the best views in town, featuring some of the most iconic landmarks the city has to offer. Additionally, you’ll be able to hop off the bus and explore these locations even further—you’ll certainly want a camera in hand to document the experience. When preparing for your bus tour, you may also want to pack a few snacks and some sunscreen. Some bus tours utilize double-decker buses to provide you with a better city view. If you’re planning to sit on the top level of these buses, you’ll definitely want to have some sunscreen or protective headwear on hand to avoid a potential sunburn.

What to expect

Prepare to have all your travel expectations exceeded. Most bus tours are helmed by a knowledgeable tour guide who acts as your human encyclopedia as you travel around the city. They can provide you with expert information regarding all the sights you see and locations you stop at. They may even be able to help you find some of the city’s more hidden gems and local hotspots.