Today on Tuesday’s Travel Problems we’re looking at cancelled tours. When you head off on your travel journeys, be prepared for this. I have had a load of cancelled tours in the past, often through no fault of the tour agent and have just got on with things. Be ready for them and don’t worry too much. Here are my top tips on what to do when you have a cancelled tour.
1. Double check the tour is cancelled and not just postponed to later that day/another day.
2. If it really is cancelled, ask the company if there is another time that you can do the tour.
3. If they say there are no other tours available, check with another company.
4. Get your money back. This is essential.
5. If you don’t get your money back, beg for it back, beg for a change of tour date or some type of compensation. I don’t recall ever being on a tour that didn’t offer something back. Tour agents and travel companies – know the score. They don’t want bad publicity.
6. Change your travel plans for that day immediately, save yourself time and don’t waste a day.
7. Look at ways that you can do the tour yourself (hire a car, book a private guide etc.)
8. Look at an equivalent type of activity to that tour if they are all cancelled
9. Come back and do it again sometime. The world can wait.
10. Don’t worry. These things happen!
Here are some tours I’ve had cancelled down the years
1. Dolphin watching in Bali, Indonesia (bad weather for dolphins)
2. Tongariro Hike (twice!) in North Island, New Zealand (bad weather for hiking)
3. Sugar Cane tour in Paramarbo, Suriname (not enough people to do the tour)
4. Tour of Nablus and North Palestine (guide didn’t turn up – security alert)
5. Train ride in Katoomba, Australia (train being fixed)
Most common reasons for tours being cancelled are:
1. Bad weather (this makes sense, accept it and move on)
2. Not enough people to join the tour (it happens, especially in untouristy spots and off-season)
3. Staff illness
4. Not enough staff to do the tour
5. Certain parts of the tour cannot be done that day (possibly for political reasons, time of year, clash with other event etc.)
6. Security reasons
7. Safety reasons
So a few tips on booking and arranging tours are:
1. Only pay up front if you have to (some require only a deposit)
2. Check the weather in advance for tours (if you’ve read my “Weather Freaks” post you’ll know I’,m a hypocrite)
3. Book early
4. Be in places during the time of year with less cancellations
5. Get others to join you on the tour (the more people you have, the more authority to complain when a tour gets cancelled)
6. Know the alternatives in case something goes wrong
7. Turn up early for the tour
8. Bargain the prices
9. Ask fellow travellers if they did the tour, and if it was worth it
10. Look at photos from the tour from fellow travellers and online sources
The bottom line is don’t worry about it – these things happen. Get on with your journey and safe travels!