A hop on hop off tour can be a great way to get a quick feel for a city.
You know what they are—they’re those big, red double-decker buses you see in every quintessential London travel brochure. But they’re not only in London. In fact, just about anywhere you go you can find double-decker buses offering tours around town, from Rome to Paris and Montevideo to Massachusetts. But these days hop on hop off—or hoho—tours don’t only come in the form of buses. In some places, they may be trolley cars or small tourist trains. Regardless of what form of transportation come in, hoho tours can be a great way to see a city, especially if you’re short on time.
So what exactly are hoho tours you ask? Well, they’re exactly what they sound like—tours that let you get on and off at various stops around a city. You can get on and off as often as you want within a certain period of time—usually one or two days. Or, you can choose to ride the entire route without ever getting off.
Here are three reasons why you should consider taking a hop on hop off tour on your next vacation.
One of the best things about hop on hop off tours is that they’re often a very affordable way to get around. If you were to take a taxi to the same sites, you’d likely pay through the nose. And private tours can quickly add up, too. If you’re in town for just a day, a 24-hour ticket is all you need. But if you’ve got a few days to spare, consider purchasing the 48-hour ticket, which usually comes at a discounted rate for the second day.
Pro Tip: Consider buying your ticket online in advance from a tour operator. You’ll often find them at a bit of a lower rate.
Hop on hop off tours are specifically designed to help you see all of the best sights a city has to offer. The tour operators know the exact places people want to see and make sure their guests get to see them. This is particularly useful if you find yourself in a place where you’re simply not sure what sights you need to see. If you’ve got limited time, at least you know you’ll have covered the main attractions, and if you’ve got a bit more time, you can get a feel for the best places to return to later in your stay. And most hoho tours provide headphones so you can listen to an audio tour in the language or your choice explaining the sights as you pass by.
Most hop on hop off tours offer a few different routes to help you make the most of your schedule. If you play your cards right, you may even have enough time to check out all of them. On a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I purchase a 24-hour ticket at 10 a.m. I was able to do two routes the first day and catch the 9:30 a.m. bus the next day for the third route. Sure, had I opted to hop off I would’ve had to pay a taxi to get me back the rest of the way because my ticket had expired by then, but it was still a great deal.
Pro Tip: Visit the website for the hoho in the city you’ll be visiting and download a route map. You can plan your stops in advance to make the most of your time. If you’ve got the time, ride around once to everything in, and on your second loop around, hop off at your favorites stops.
Whether you’re staying in the heart of downtown or near a major attraction, you can usually find a hop on hop off tour stop nearby. In many cases, you an even find stops very near to cruise ports. This makes them an ideal alternative to shore excursions. In some places, like Boston, hoho tours are even tailored to cruise guests, offering an abbreviated version of the usual route so you can see all of the top sights during your short stay in port.