We know, you’re planning to visit Romania and all your friends are asking why. Congrats on the choice, you’ll have a great surprise, a memorable vacation, and many photos to share with your curious friends.
Our planning content will help if you’re planning to travel independently. We also know that many of you are looking for guided tours, either short city tours or multi-day options. To help you select from the many offers Google will return on your search, we invite you to read our list of tips for choosing the best Romania tours.
We base all the advice on our direct experience as tour guides and tourism managers, but also on the feedback we get from many people visiting Romania.
First is first, check that the travel agency has a valid tourism license and insurance policy. Both are legally mandatory documents and must be uploaded on the company’s website. If they’re missing or if the agency refuses to give you any proof of their existence – a scanned PDF or image – don’t waste your time and money.
Look for a travel agency that operates legally. This means having a business registration number, a tourism license, and an insurance policy. Tour guides, even if licensed, cannot sell tours and any travel services.
You can check on our travel agency’s contact page how these official documents look like.
Be sure the travel agency you chose works only with certified tour guides. Not only is this the legal requirement, but at least you have the guarantee of a qualified guide. Too many times, people who are not licensed for tour guiding do a poor job, ruining your mood and experience.
Travel agencies need to conclude a contract for each travel service they sell. At least this is what the law states in Romania. A contract is the guarantee of your booking and it must include details on refunds and cancellations. Based on this contract, you’ll be invoiced for your deposit and final payment. Together with the contract, the invoice and the receipt are the basic guarantees that you’re dealing with a travel agency that respects their clients.
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We guess you wouldn’t book your hotel after your plane lands. The same goes for booking your tours, whether you’re planning for a short city tour or for a multi-day trip. You wouldn’t believe how many people email or call asking to book a tour just hours before it starts. In most cases, it’s not possible.
Booking in advance gives you enough time to research your option and choose the best Romania tours.
The huge changes brought by the wide use of the Internet have altered significantly the booking patterns of the tourism industry. You can buy vacations online, without paying a visit to the classical brick and mortar travel agencies. Online third-party sellers have replaced them successfully, offering you easy ways to book a tour anywhere in the world.
Of course, everything comes with a cost, and you’ll usually pay at least a 20% fee above the price the local suppliers charge if you book the service directly with them. In many cases, it’s simply easier to use a booking platform, and for a lot of people, this is an extra guarantee of how professional the local providers are. In an ideal world, this would be the norm but double-check the local company’s profile before booking your tours to Romania or anywhere else.
In many cases, the local providers who advertise their products this way are not a licensed travel agency.
Trip Advisor reviews make a first great impression when you’re looking for travel agencies. Take one thing into account though, not everyone has a Trip Advisor profile, and few people are willing to create one just for leaving reviews now and then. A lot of travelers prefer to write their thoughts on a tour experience and send it via email. A travel agency doesn’t have five reviews because it’s out of work, it may simply be that their clients are not the type who review on Trip Advisor all the places they’ve been to and all the things they did.
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Trip Advisor’s algorithm for listing businesses is also based on quantity which in the end favors those agencies who are more specialized in mass tourism activities. Bigger groups mean more reviews. But, if you’re looking for a specialized or private Romania tour, take your time and go through all the listed agencies.
Would you trust buying your food from a shop that’s not clean and well-organized? Why would you spend your money on a vacation – that obviously costs more than what you pay for groceries – from a travel agency whose website is unprofessional and is impossible to use on your tablet or mobile. A company that respects its business and clients will always have a user-friendly and up to date website. There’s no excuse for it in the 21st century.
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Dracula is fake, boring, and irritating for most Romanians out there. But unfortunately, it’s one of the best-known travel-related images of Romania. Still, how many Dracula tours can there be? If a travel agency advertises Bran Castle as Dracula’s castle, promising a horrifying experience, we would suggest searching for a tour elsewhere. First, because you will be disappointed that it’s not actually Dracula’s Castle. Second, because it’s clear that the company doesn’t care about your disappointment.
There are many free city tours out there, but unless you’re a student traveling on a budget, we warmly recommend you upgrade your options. The ideal option is a private tour because this implies a specialized tour guide whose attention and time are all for you. It’s a great experience, and it’s not as expensive as you imagine. There are also various small-group tours that offer a great experience in the end. The same applies to multi-day tours or day trips. Quality is never cheap for tours to Romania or anywhere else.
When it comes to tourism, if something it’s too good to be true, it almost always is. We know that you want to see as much as possible in a short time, but, at least in Romania, it’s not possible. Not if you want to have a good and safe driving experience. However, many travel agencies take advantage of visitors who wish to visit everything even if they know their clients will spend more time on the bus than discovering new attractions.
We have one clear example. Are you planning to buy a day trip to Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and Brasov because it looks like the best option if you’re based in Bucharest? Not if you want to go back to the hotel without a headache and a feeling you were rushed all day. The two castles are the most visited attractions in Romania which means a longer waiting time.
Plus, despite the short distance it will take more than one hour to get from one to another. Not to mention, the drive from and back to Bucharest. In the end, you’ll have one hour in Brasov at best which means you’ll only see the main square before hurrying back to the capital. Why not choose just one castle, take the time to understand its history, and enjoy 3-4 hours of walking in Brasov? In the end, you pay to discover, not to spend time in a car.
This last point concludes our tips for choosing the best Romania tours, a list which we help will ease your search for a reliable travel company. If you enjoyed reading this article or if you have extra tips, drop us a line in the comments section below.
Planning to visit Romania? Don’t forget to check our tours on www.uncover-romania-tours.com.