We have all seen them when visiting large cities – the big double-deck Hop On Hop Off buses with people keenly peaking over the edge as they attentively listen to the audio guide’s tips and highlights as the bus passes by a tourist attraction.
The hop on hop off bus has become a phenomenon unto itself as it made its mark on the tourism industry. For most people, it’s just the ticket to seeing the highlights of most major cities like Barcelona, Paris, London, Rome, New York City and Miami. By purchasing a ticket it gives you a window of unlimited travel in windows of 24, 48 or 72 hours.
Most of the benefits seem clear and you can choose your route according to the attractions you wish to see! Most Cities offer 3 or 4 distinct routes. So you have plenty of choices! It offers an easy way to get from place to place without too much planning, thinking or rethinking. It’s all done for you!
For those who want to know more about this service are wondering if a touristic bus would be a good option for your next holiday, here are our tips. Enjoy!
SEE THE CITY’S HIGHLIGHTS
Hop-on-hop-off bus tours have been designed so that you can make the absolute most out of a short stay in a major city. This means you can just sit back and enjoy the ride as you go from stop to stop of the city’s most famed attractions. You decide in advance or in the moment whether you want to explore them. If not, you can simply sit back and enjoy the scenery as you pass by onto the next spot.
DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE IN A FOREIGN PLACE
While it can seem pretty easy peasy if you are visiting a place where the steering wheel is on the same side of the car as at home, there’s still all the road rules that should be known before visitng a foreign place. It may be tempting to rent a car and do your own route, but the time it takes to plan the route and the cost of insurance and fuel, you are well above the price tag of the bus. For the sake of saving time and money, the hop-on-hop-off bus can be a real saviour.
FUN FACTS & HIGHLIGHTS IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE
If you appreciate learning the historical backgrounds of the cities that you’re visiting, taking a trip on the old hop-on-hop-off tour bus can be a lot more fun than gluing your nose to Wikipedia on your phone.
Hearing legends and lore from most important buildings and attractions can be really engaging, especially if you can hear them in your own language. Multilanguage audio guides are perfect for this! You can share your tour with friends from all over the world and return home sharing all the fun facts that you’ve learned on your holiday with your nearest and dearest!
DISCOUNTS TO ATTRACTIONS
Many of the tour groups will offer you a booklet of coupons or at least a few deals with your hop-on-hop-off ticket. This can more than make up for the cost of the ticket when you factor in the savings on some of the pricer attractions. Some tickets will even lump in a walking tour or a night cruise with the price of the ticket!
If you are wanting to get the most out of your city tour experience, research in advance which tour operators are offering the deals to the attractions that you wish to see and do a quick cost comparison.
ON YOUR TERMS
Since most hop-on-hop-off operators offer more than one route for you to choose from, you aren’t locked into a one size fits all scenario. Not only can you select from the routes the one that features attractions you are interested in, you can also ‘hop off’ whenever you please. If you prefer to just use the bus as a mode of transportation while you’re in the city you can also pick a route that hits a part of town you would like to explore on your own – attractions aside.
The hop on hop off has been designed to appeal to those who want an easy, informal and flexible way to get around so you decide at a moments notice what tickles your fancy.
If you aren’t particularly keen on the hop off part and are just looking for a scenic backdrop, you can stick on the bus and treat it as your personal moving terrace. Enjoy the sights at a leisurely pace with a coffee or a sandwich. Tune in to the bits of info as you please, snap some pics and soak up the rays!
Just be sure to slap on some SPF 35 or more because even on a cloudy day it can be quite intense on the roof of a metal-engulfed double-decker bus.
The double-decker tour isn’t dead cheap but if you factor in all the discounts and the fact that you aren’t having to rent a car and pay for gas, it is pretty darn affordable! It’s definitely a midway option between renting a car and taking the metro that offers you a modicum of flexibility of having your own vehicle without the added fuss. If you’re a solo traveler or even in a pair, this is likely the cheapest way to get around a city with the level of flexibility, and peace of mind that is offered.
MEET OTHER TRAVELLERS
If you are a solo traveller, it can sometimes feel a bit daunting to be caught up in the whirlwind of a big city. The great thing about the hop-on-hop-off tour is that you will be surrounded by, well, tourists!
This can be a great way to meet other solo travellers or connect with people you meet from home. This can take a solo double-decker tour to a more social level and you may even end up seeing the sights with some new pals. At the very least it can be comforting to be surrounded with people who are experiencing the city the same way as you, even if only until the next stop.
AVOID GETTING LOST & WASTING TIME
Sure getting lost can be part of the fun if you have time to kill, but when you only have so long to see a city it can be a real drain if you take a wrong turn and end up losing time flailing about until your next destination.
New city, new street names and streetcar stops, it can all be a bit much to learn in a short time. With the hop-on-hop-off tour bus, you won’t have to worry because your itinerary is pretty well planned out and everything flows according to the schedule you have in your lap.