Mode of transportation
The next peace of the puzzle is figuring out what you want the transportation to be. Do you want to be on a bus, a boat, riding bikes, in a private car, or even taking a Segway? This is a very important consideration on hilly islands in the Caribbean. If you get carsick, you'll want to consider taking a private transfer so you can ask the driver to stop if you start to feel sick.
Group size is a big deal on excursions. Do you want to be on a bus with 40 other people? Would you prefer a private tour with just your family? Does it not matter because where you are going will be this crowded:
|Cruise Excursion to the Vatican|
Are the meals included? Are the tickets into the Historic Site included? Does the excursion pick up from your hotel or do you need to meet at a central meeting point? These will all help you determined the best excursion for you. When traveling abroad, it's important to know if a tour guide of the sites is included. Tour guides usually have to have a special license so some tours include a "host" and a driver. You are on your own to explore the sites.
Is there a way you can customize the excursion? For example, we took a group bus tour to Muir Woods from San Francisco. We purposely picked a tour that stopped in Sausalito on the way back because we wanted to get off the bus and take the ferry back.
|View from Sausalito ferry|
That was our way of taking a generic group tour and customizing it to make it more of what we wanted.
It's critical to under the cancellation and payment policies. Are you making a deposit and the rest is due upon arrival? If you are on a cruise, what happens if you have to miss the port or the time in port gets changed?
Bonus Tip: When booking excursions for a cruise, be sure you understand the time zones. Some ships stay on "ship time" which may be different than local time. If you are booking a local excursion in local time, you need to make sure it lines up with the times you will be in port.