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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We just finished (5/2017) a Smart Tour which was excellent. The tour included Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro. The areas visited were well chosen. The hotels selected were excellent. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and personable. Buses were modern with emergency toilets but potty breaks were appropriately timed. All facets of the trip were very well coordinated, even the hotel check-ins. As an added bonus, there was a good mix of those people sharing this journey (14-day tour of the Croatian area) with us.
I called smarTours to address a concern regarding the Dubai trip that I had booked with a friend, and spoke with a supervisor named Marian who verbally berated me for calling. I hardly got a word in during the conversation. Most of the time on the phone was her demeaning me for thinking there would be a problem on the trip. I can only guess that customers are not allowed to express concerns or ask questions about their safety when they book a trip with smarTours. I was extremely insulted by her behavior on the phone. She did most of the talking, and then she hung up the phone on me when I tried to speak. UNPROFESSIONAL.
We have used smarTours about a dozen times over the past 10 years. Their tours are not for the uninitiated traveler. We like them because of the freedom their tours afford, in terms of free time to explore and the ability to choose your own restaurants for most dinners. If you want to be completely coddled and shepherded around for 12 hours every day, this is not for you.
The guides are usually above par, and most of them are contracted, so they might be the same guide Tauk used the week before. Your colleagues are generally experienced repeaters of smarTours, and are usually well behaved and knowledgeable. Don't crab about paying 3% for foreign credit card charges (use the RIGHT card), or their travel insurance company (We had one trip cancellation claim, and they were great.).
Just returned from SmarTour's trip to Spain: Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona. It was simply majestic. Buses were modern (albeit with no facilities but provided stops every few hours at excellent rest stops). Our guide was respectful, funny and very informative, as were the specific guides to various specific sites we visited. He coordinated each facet of the trip and everything was done on time. Hotels were top notch with memorable meals, often located in the city center. I'm already planning another trip with this company and am totally impressed with the way we were treated and all the accommodations afforded to us.
We recently took your Thailand /Cambodia trip on Nov. 15-Dec. 1, 2016, utterly disappointed by your airline arrangement with Air China. They were rude, crude and did not treat us with respect. Food was atrocious. As you know we paid full fare in Business class ($12000/) and still got lousy treatment. Had we known, we could make our own flight arrangement with other airlines like Singapore, Etihad, Thai, etc. we would have done it and joined the group in Bangkok. You never gave us that option?? There are so many other issues I will have to send you several emails to vent our frustration. Hope you will respond to us.
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In response to the many reviews of smarTours I'd like to comment that this is not a truck tour outfit. It's geared to the active traveler who wants bang for the buck, knowledgeable tour guides who help navigate your explorations, very good to tolerable and usually well located hotels. The groups are large - up to 40 but generally peopled by experienced travelers, often well heeled who know how to cope and behave in a group. (Usually.) No fancy extras. The company is above budget level, supposedly a bit better than Gate 1. The number of meals and accommodations depend upon the country visited.
I've visited Turkey, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and South Africa with smarTours. No complaints at all. Didn't love every hotel. I'm a female traveling alone so admittedly, a bit fussy. I was treated well as an older single, love the itineraries. Service is improving by leaps in spite of some of the nonsense noted correctly by reviewers. smarTours goes for the cheapest airfares and routes which can cause ridiculous layovers. Agreed - can be tough. But then, staff killed themselves to help me with a visa problem and made sure I didn't feel abandoned in Shanghai where I got stuck while trying to work on it. We succeeded. Give them a shot but raise your issues.
My previous complaint against SMARTOURS has been satisfactorily resolved and this complaint can be removed and retracted.
On April 16, 2016 we paid (by personal check) a deposit of $600 to hold a place on a SMARTOURS trip to China scheduled for Sept. 15-Oct.1, 2016. On May 24, 2016 we sent a $298 check also to SMARTOURS for travel insurance. Unfortunately, my wife, Diane, who has a history of asthma and significant hypertension, developed a worsening of these conditions raising concerns for her safety on this trip. Because of this she saw her physician on June 16, 2016 who advised that Diane should not undertake this trip. We did not take the trip.
When this documentation was submitted to TRIPMATE, the insuring company, they denied our claim in writing, as well as on my phone call to a supervisor. We would like to recover the $600 deposit. Recently I have learned that the TRIPMATE company has had hundreds of similar complaints against them, and I would strongly recommend that anyone planning travel anywhere not use them for insurance protecting the need to cancel due to illness. Had I known of their reputation I would have purchased insurance elsewhere.
I also blame SMARTOURS for using this unreliable company for travel insurance. When I spoke with a SMARTOURS representative they said they were not responsible, though I pointed out that the $298 check for insurance was made out to SMARTOURS, not TRIPMATE. I find this very troublesome and can only hope SMARTOURS ceases to use TRIPMATE in any capacity.
This letter will be sent to the BBB, the CEO of each of the above companies, as well as Consumer Affairs. I would be surprised to receive any reply from these CEOs. The reason this complaint was delayed is because I wanted my anger to abate and we have had additional personal medical problems to deal with in the interval.
I, along with several friends (3 of us being tour directors) went on highly recommended SmarTours. Many aspects of the tour were wonderful--Japan Air, 4 hotels, buses, trains, venues, 2 optional so, and cherry blossoms which reigned supreme. However, our tour guide was deplorably awful. He was a last minute fill in for the original whose father became ill. On day one we complained to the company in Tokyo who had hired him. They promised to replace him and keep us informed which they never did. Our guide had very limited English and worse knowledge! He was totally in over his head.
Our numerous complaints to Smart brought an extremely small monetary compensation and $200 credit toward another trip. Most others on the trip said they had been with this company before and this had never happened. The tour guide is the "nuts and bolts"--we were cheated and their compensation was paltry! I won't say never to going again with them, but I'd be wary.
Both my husband and I have travelled extensively both on self-guided trips and tour guided trips. We found smarTours to be one of the best, most affordable companies to travel with. Arrangements are good; tour guides knowledgeable and professional. Like some whose reviews are posted here, we were a little dubious at first in simply sending off a check to a company who was a virtual unknown to us at the time.
We have travelled to Vietnam, Cambodia,Thailand, Machu Picchu, The Galapagos, China & Hong Kong, Patagonia, and more with this company. Often we found other tour groups on the same path we were on but staying at inferior hotels and paying significantly more. Arrangements are not like those in the States and we were fine with that. We wanted to experience the people in their homes, tastes their foods and understand their culture and we will always be grateful for the guides and their knowledge and desire to have us understand the local cultures. Thank you smarTours!
First time with smarTours. I want to talk only about the booking, as I haven't gone on the trip yet. Will not take a credit card for the initial reservation. Have to send a check and only a check through the mail. Very unsafe practice these days so I had to send it certified. They are way behind the times. Will only take a credit card for an extra $100 and will not take the credit card info over the phone, Must mail it in a form with the credit card number. Very unsafe. For the Australia New Zealand trip, told it was nonstop to first. NO. Actually we start in New Zealand but they have us flying from Sydney, Australia first then to Auckland to start trip adding 7 hours to the already 15 hour flight to Sydney. There are many direct flights from many airlines to New Zealand. Very bad, plus they misrepresented the flights.
Few meals are included mostly only breakfast. Few included tours- many optional tours to purchase. Have to pay cash for tours in dollars or must pay a 3% extra for using a credit. Do not take debit cards. You may ask why I am using them. I wanted to go with some friends and this is the company they were using. If the trip is not absolutely great, I will not be using them again. They need to get with the times. I have never had these issues with any other tour company and I have used many.
smarTours Company Information
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- 545 8th Ave. Suite 2250
- New York
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- United States