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Day Trips Tours ~ Trip Planning Tips

What to do at your destination ~ Take a day trip! Highway traffic in Spain near Gibraltar border.

Day trip tour options can be a major factor when you are planning your trip. What's there to do once you get there?

Even if you plan a week long holiday of swimmng and reading books on the beach, you may want to have options if it rains or (horrors!) you get sunburned.

Most destinations offer a host of day tours, and many can be booked once you arrive at your resort / hotel. Some places are easier than others to get around on a tour bus or with a guide/driver.

How Long is a Day Trip? Full day trips usually mean from early morning to mid afternoon -- about 6-8 hours and half-day trips are roughly 3-5 hours long.

The most I am happy to pay for a full day trip is about $100, and it should include lunch. Half day trips cost roughly $50-$60 with perhaps a snack or snack stop (buy your own). Bear in mind as gas prices rise, so do tour prices.

Drive Yourself Rent a Car: Some places, you can easily rent a car or take a cab and tour around on your own. It all depends on whether or not you speak the local language, how comfortable you are driving in unfamiliar countries/ cities and what side of the road they drive on.

Here are just a few of my day trip destinations:

Tricky destinations for booking day trips:

  • In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I couldn't find any day trips on offer. Luckily I had friends there who showed me around, and we jointly hired a guide and driver for the Highlands.
  • In Haikou, Hainan, my hotel put me in touch with a private guide driver, whose English was about as good as my Cantonese :-) A tough afternoon but overall enjoyable.
  • China: Depends on where you are and what's included in your tour. If you are traveling independently (not with a tour group) then your hotels in major cities like Beijing and Hong Kong can help find tours. Since language is an issue for most westerners, an organized tour is usually the preferred way to travel. I've had both private guides and drivers, and taken tour bus day trips. Both were good.
  • Haiti is always a challenge; Day tours from the Dominican Republic come and go (no pun) according to what's going on in Haiti at the time. If conditions in Haiti are not safe, then tours from DR do not operate.

Day Trips R Us locations: Lots of tours on offer

  • In the Dominican Republic, I had a lot of ¬†options, and managed to see a lot of the island, from cigar and rum factories to potteries and horseback rides to waterfalls. Whale watching in season, and trips to other Dominican cities.
  • Sydney Australia and other cities, and the Blue Mountains have lots of tours available, it's easy to take trains or buses to attractions, and, if you can comfortably drive on the left, you can get around fairly easily. Spend a day hopping on and off city tour buses or find your way on the ferries to Manly beaches, trails and shops.
  • San Jose Costa Rica: I found more day tours on offer than I could fit into the week! A friend who stayed north, near Liberia airport, also found it easy to book a range of day trips. See Costa Rica pages as almost all those pictures were taken on day trips. Volcanoes, beaches, waterfalls, botanic gardens, and wildlife.
  • Portugal Algarve days trips to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Spain and more - easy! Ask at your hotel or condo for a day into Seville Spain to see the ceramics, eat some tapas, take in a few old churches and new malls.
  • Bangkok Thailand: lots of tours on offer, both as part of a larger tour, or booked from your hotel on arrival. Floating markets, river and train trips, city temple tours, cultural events.

Before you go or when you get there :  When to book your day trip?

Holiday Tour Package With so many variables, there's no easy answer. Generally, if you are taking a package tour, as I was in Borneo, every day is (or includes) a day trip as part of the total cost. Optional tours will be noted. Before booking the full tour, have a close look at what is included, and if the itinerary seems to be one that you'd enjoy.

City Tours In most major cities anywhere, you can take a city tour. I usually do this the first day after I arrive to orient myself and get an overview of the city to see what stops/ places I want to come back to on my own. City tours are also good if you don't have a lot of time to figure out what to see and how to get around on your own.