I thought I’d take some time to write up a review of the bus tour I took a few weeks ago.
This trip is the first big one I’ve taken by myself and so I thought it would be a good idea to start off with a tour. After, quite a lot of research, I decided on the Busabout tour that started in Prague and ended in Split, Croatia.
The tour lasted a total of nine days and we had the chance to visit Prague, Kutna Hora, Olomouc, Auschwitz, Krakow, Zakopane, Budapest, Plitvice Lakes and Split. All for a total of £565 (about $700).
Overall I think the tour was well-worth the money and I’m really happy I did it. This is mainly because I got the chance to do things that I would have been able to do on my own: drink in Stalin’s plane in the Czech Republic or ride in a Soviet tank in Slovakia.
Before I started the tour, I was really worried that I would go stir-crazy on a bus for nine days, but the bus was actually really nice. The front section had groups of four seats placed around a table, so we could play cards to pass the time. We took turns playing our iPods over the bus’ sound-system and it was kept nice and cold. The best part was that we never drove longer than two hours without stopping to stretch our legs or go for a pee break.
Our Australian tour guide also tried hard to take us to the restaurants and bars that the locals would visit so that we had a really good feel for the local cuisine.
The people on my tour were also really nice, most of them were Australian as well and many hand been travelling for a while already. Being able to hang out with the same people for a week is a real luxury while you’re travelling, I’ve come to discover.
Of course, there are always some downsides to joining a big tour: the main one is that you don’t really get enough time in any one place. This became really clear for me in Krakow, when I got food poisoning the first night and I missed out on the bike tour of the city, tour of a nearby salt mine and dinner in the old Jewish district the next day. Pretty much all I saw was the castle that was a few blocks away from my hostel. This means that I will definitely have to go back to Krakow.
If you are thinking of doing a bus tour, I would recommend you research the tour that is right for you. I chose Busabout because it was the cheapest I could find and also catered to the 18-29 age group. (There was one older couple who were nearing retirement age, but they worked hard to be sociable so it was fine.) I also liked that Busabout had a good selection of tours that catered only to Eastern Europe as I had already been to most of Western Europe on my own. After the tour, I think I got good value for my money, with breakfast and accommodation as well as several tours included in the price.