Tips on Choosing Your China Tour Operator

A simple search on the internet for "China Tours" will give you literally thousands of options. So, which one do you select? How do you know which ones will deliver what they promise?

They all seem to offer pretty much the same programs. Here's help on choosing a China Tour Operator:

1) Compare what they offer, there are always differences:

  • Tour Director/Tour Guides: will your guide accompany you throughout the entire trip in China or will you have a different guide at each place you visit? Your guide plays an important role in your trip. In many cases, the local guides/drivers are "outsourced" from the local state-owned agencies in China and quality may vary as you go from place to place.

  • Domestic Transport: Will you be flying or taking trains? Is the domestic airfare included in the price of the tour? If it isn't the add-on might be substantial.

  • Meals: see how many are included. Some tours offer a few meals where you can order "a la carte". Are drinks with your meals included?

2) Where is the Tour Operator registered? If you are searching online, they could be anywhere in the world. Remember you will be asked to send a deposit to secure your booking. Do they offer some sort of guarantee to make sure the funds you are sending are safe? What are their accepted payment methods? PayPal? Credit Card?

3) Referrals and Testimonials: even though you are not likely to read anything negative in the Tour Operator's Testimonial pages, the fact that they do have "happy" customers is a point in their favor.

The most effective way I have found to check out a particular operator, is by perusing through independent traveler reviews. It is not an exact science specially since experiences and expectations will differ from traveler to traveler, but I have many times used that as a starting point, not only when selecting a tour operator, but also for selecting hotels where we plan to travel.

Tours at the Forbidden City, Beijing

One source I have found useful is which has an active community and has always helped me sort out my options.

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