smarTours makes it possible to experience more once-in-a-lifetime trips. Since 1996, more than 200,000 travelers have taken a smarTours trip to 40+ exotic destinations around the globe. Our tours are priced "all in" (with airfare from U.S. origination airport) and require only a modest deposit to reserve. Some smarTravelers have taken five, 10 or even 20+ trips with us. smarTours is the smarter way to see the world.
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BEWARE of Smartours. On August 4 of 2022, Smartours ruined our Tanzania Safari experience by downgrading and changing our accommodations without any notification to a camp site where we felt unsafe, vulnerable and restless. After not sleeping much that night we moved to a lodge related to the same company they used and on top of that we ended up paying an extra $600 USD to get what we paid for in the first place. Seems like a bait and switch to add additional profit as turns out there were lodges in the area just not as cheap as the camp surely. We told the guide we would sleep in the jeep before returning to the camp.
At least that way we had safety.
When we purchased this safari package Kenya with a Tanzania extension, we paid for hotels not camps, which is what their website shows and even the final itinerary package they provided showed hotels/lodges, not camp sites. We ended spending the whole day on August 5 searching for a room on our vacation already booked, this put much stress on our vacation and our guide trying to satisfy his customers. We would have cancelled the Tanzania extension if informed we were staying at a camp, but this was conveniently not communicated to us until we arrived in this Country
Smartours was very deceptive in their approach and negligent in how this was handled. The biggest issue was no notice. This Safari trip was quite expensive and for the price we paid we never expected to be downgraded in this way. We have used Smartours for several trips in the past but, this blatant omission is fraudulent and concerning to say the least.
We have emailed Smartours customer service many times. No response as of this date. We have called them numerous times since our return on August 10, 2022, spoken to several people and no action has been taken on their part. We plan to sue in small claims for a partial refund and return of our additional cost. When things got tough they disappeared leaving us to fend for ourselves in a foreign land. There are many other tour company choices do not bother using a company who does not take care of customers and ignores you when issues arise. This is a desperate company refusing to attempt to resolve our issues as they have our cash and now make us chase them for resolution. On to the next sucker is the way they look at it appears. The pandemic was tough but, did not think they would turn to stealing from customers and laughing all the way to the bank.Dissatisfied Customers
Stephen ** and Monika **
We’d like to acknowledge that you had a frustrating experience, and we could have done better. The original lodge was shuttered due to the pandemic, and we upgraded guests on the extension to luxury tented accommodations. Your final travel documents were updated with this information and sent via email in July indicating the change. We will follow up with you separately to address the specific concerns you have raised in this review. We truly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts
Customer Service is horrible. Call six times and you will either get no answer or all different answers. They cheated me out of $349 and gave me the run around. DO Not use them, Spoke with many people on the tour and most said they are done with SmarTours.
Hi Rob. I see that you were on our recent Ireland departure. We have opened an investigation into what went wrong on this particular tour. We deeply regret that this trip did not live up to your standards, and absolutely does not live up to ours. You should have received a communication from our management team following up with information on how they plan to rectify these issues. Thank you.
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We booked the Magical Ireland Tour. It had to be cancelled and rebooked twice, due to covid. I received an email from Smartours saying I have a $150 credit. When I called to use it for the payment due on the trip we are finally taking, I was told I can't use it, even though it's a COVID credit, because I have another small credit I'm using from the original deposit I paid. I can only use it by booking a 2nd trip to a different destination. I consider this misleading advertising and don't understand why, if the credit is mine, I can't use it for the trip I've been trying to take for over 2 years. I was told to "read the fine print" at the bottom of the page.
Annette, we are so sorry for the confusion regarding this credit. We issued credits to all passengers for payments made against trips suspended due to COVID-19 during 2020. Once passengers used their credit to book a new trip, and paid for that trip in full, we issued an additional $150 credit as a thank you for coming back to us. Our intent was indeed that you would be able to use this on your next trip, but we are so sorry that it was handled in such a way. We do hope you enjoy Ireland!
Here's my experience with the Smart Tour agency: 1) I had one reservation for 2021 (i.e., Germany Christmas Market), This trip was cancelled due to the rise of COVID by the trade agency. And this Tavel agency provided options to either receive credit for future travels or getting refund. I requested refund and I did receive two different emails from their payroll management (Mr Chis ** & Tyrell **) that I will be receiving my refund by 1/19/2022, not only I did not receive my refund they are not responding to my emails anymore. I would suggest to anyone be really careful if you are planning to book a travel with this agency because they are not reliable plus they have lots a bad reviews with YELP.
2) I had another reservation for 2022 (i.e., Jewels of Adriatic), This trip also was suspended/cancelled by the travel agency. I paid $600 as non-refundable deposit and I was hoping to receive a credit for the $600 but they are not responding. By the way, I am discussing my matters with my lawyer for further actions.
Dear Masoud, thank you for your feedback, and we are so sorry this turned out to be such a frustrating experience, and needed to be escalated so many times. We were able to resolve the refund issue in January and the additional credits have been restored to your account for future travel. There have definitely been many bumps in the road to recovery from the pandemic, and we know we need to do better. Thank you for patience, and we do hope to see you on a future trip!
We were sold a "land only" South Africa tour in June, 2020. Smartours reversed the schedule on us shortly before we were to leave Aug, 2021. They informed us they would reimburse us the cost of fees incurred to rearrange hotels, flights that we had to change in order to accommodate their change in schedule. This amount was $796.64. We have not received anything in spite of their manager telling us that we would be reimbursed.
Pamela, we are so sorry that this turned into such a frustrating experience for you. Navigating travel in these COVID times has certainly been challenging for us and for our customers. We’re sorry that the last minute changes by the airline resulted in such a headache for you, both in terms of rescheduling your flight, and in getting your reimbursement from smarTours. According to our records, the amount was reimbursed in November. We apologize for the delay, and hope you will consider us again.
I was never refunded for my trip to Vietnam and lost $2552.00 I cancelled my February 4th trip on January 27th due to my Covid concerns. Our trip was on Air China with a very long layover in Shanghai. I had insurance but of course they said it did not cover a Pandemic. I had travel solely with Smartours for years and had brought many other travelers with me. To me it was disgraceful as this was a huge decision to make. I was not unaware enough to think I could travel through China and not be exposed to the Corona Virus. I was truly disappointed with them and realized that I did not count as a human trying not to bring this awful thing back to the USA. Obviously my life and the life of others was less important then the money they kept.
Booked a tour to Ireland along with 4 other people in my party. The tour scheduled for May 2020 was cancelled. Operator refused to refund our money ($4900 for myself and my husband) and gave us a credit for a future tour in May 2021. Now they have filed for bankruptcy so it is unlikely that we'll ever see the money. Fortunately, we had booked our airfare separately with Delta and they did refund our money as they are trustworthy. We had a positive experience with SmarTours on 2019, which is why we had booked again. I agree that a class action suit is in order and if anyone knows how to proceed, please post. There are thousands of us in this situation and as retirees on a fixed income we cannot afford to write off nearly $5000.
We're sorry for the frustration you experienced and for this late reply. Like many businesses impacted by the pandemic, we lost much of our staff and struggled to keep up with our customers' needs. We were also forced to make difficult decisions like updating our cancellation policy to offer affected customers a future tour credit in place of a monetary refund. We hope you'll continue to share feedback with us as we work to rebuild our business and restore the levels of service you expect.
SmarTours filed for Chapter 11 on 10/19/20. Chances of getting a refund is slim to none. We had nothing but good experiences under prior management, having gone on a dozen or so trips over the years. However, our efforts to obtain a refund upon our cancellation PRIOR to their Covid cancellation was unsuccessful. Perhaps a class action is in order.
I am another customer who paid in full for a tour that was canceled due to Covid-19--the total is nearly $3,000. SmarTours is refusing to refund any money--and they have not responded to my many emails, letters, or phone calls about this matter. I, too, was given the run-around by supervisor Tyrell: they were reviewing my request, they were not issuing any more refunds for 6 - 8 weeks, I would get a call/email back with an answer, etc. Nothing ever happened; they never responded.
In August, I filed a complaint against SmarTours with the Better Business Bureau in NYC where their main offices are located. They did not respond to my complaint the first time, nor the second time. I agree that their plan is to stall, stonewall, and delay--and then likely go out of business. We need to act before that happens. To that end, I have contacted the law firm in California who filed the class action suit against EF Tours who was also refusing to issue refunds. This amount is far too much for me to simply write off or let go. Also, SmarTours doing this is just wrong, plain and simple.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us and we're sorry for the frustration. We lost much of our staff in the early and toughest days of the pandemic and struggled to keep up with our customers' needs. We were also forced to make difficult decisions like updating our cancelation policy and offering affected customers a future tour credit in place of a monetary refund. We understand the frustrations caused by this outcome and are working to restore the levels of service you expect.
My tour to Morocco was cancelled, due to Coronavirus. The country of Morocco closed its doors to travellers. Smartours has not refunded any of my payment (almost $4000). They cannot be reached. Phone calls and emails are not.
smarTours author review by ConsumerAffairs Research Team
The smarTours company has been in business since 1996, offering low-cost group vacation tours to exotic worldwide locales. To date, more than 150,000 satisfied travelers have used smarTours to book their holiday.
Expert guides: Local, English-speaking guides enhance the tourist experience by providing local knowledge of destination sites to smarTours guests in the language guests are most comfortable with. This allows travelers to enjoy traveling without the frustrations of a language barrier.
Deluxe accommodations: smarTours offer group booking options, which make it possible to enjoy bigger savings at both deluxe and first-class hotels.
Roommate services: Since traveling alone often comes with increased costs with many prices based on double occupancy, smarTours offers 'Find a Roommate' services to help keep travel costs low.
Airfare is included: Rather than incur additional expenses, international airfare is included with discounted packages through smarTours.
Industry certification: The smarTours company is a member of United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), which allows travelers peace of mind since certified operators carry at least $1 million of professional liability insurance to cover issues and problems that may arise.
smarTours Company Information
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- 545 8th Ave. Suite 2250
- New York
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- United States
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