Viator Tours: How to Book the Perfect Vacation and Save Money in 2023

Viator is an online marketplace for booking tours and activities around the world. Founded in 1995 by entrepreneurs Rod Cuthbert and Tony Carne, Viator was one of the first companies to recognize the potential for selling travel experiences online. viator tours

Based in San Francisco, Viator originally started by focusing on booking tours in the US. Over the years, it has expanded globally and now offers over 200,000 activities in more than 1,400 destinations worldwide. This makes Viator the leading platform for booking tours, attraction tickets, activities, and more.

In 2014, TripAdvisor acquired Viator, which gave the company access to TripAdvisor’s large audience of travelers. Today, Viator operates as a subsidiary of TripAdvisor but still functions as a standalone brand. The acquisition has helped Viator grow even further, cementing its position as the go-to site for booking the best tours and activities no matter where you want to travel.

Viator aims to make it easy for travelers to have authentic local experiences wherever they go. With just a few clicks, you can discover and book amazing tours and activities online, all in one place. Whether you’re looking for an Eiffel Tower tour in Paris, a cooking class in Thailand, or a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley, Viator has you covered.

Types of Tours Offered viator tours

Viator offers an extensive selection of tours and activities in destinations around the world. Their tours allow travelers to deeply explore and experience the history, culture, nature, and cuisine of each place. Some of the most popular types of Viator tours include:

Walking Tours

Walking tours are a great way to get oriented in a new city while learning about key sites and neighborhoods. Knowledgeable local guides lead groups of generally 10–25 people on routes hitting top attractions and hidden gems. Tours often last 2–3 hours and provide context and stories to bring the area to life.

Bus Tours

For those short on time, bus tours offer an efficient overview of a city’s top sights. Buses pick up travelers from centralized locations and make stops at landmarks to allow sightseeing and photos. Guides provide commentary along the route to describe major attractions. Bus tours typically last half a day.

Boat Tours

Boat tours explore rivers, lakes, harbors, and coastlines from unique water-based vantage points. They provide easy access to hard-to-reach islands and allow close views of sites like castles, mansions, and cliffs lining the shores. Many also offer onboard refreshments and live entertainment. Popular options include gondola rides in Venice and whale-watching cruises in coastal destinations.

Food Tours

Food tours visit markets, farms, restaurants, and other spots to immerse visitors in authentic local cuisine and culture. As travelers sample regional specialties, guides explain their history, cultural significance, and ingredients. Stops provide insights into cooking techniques and traditions. They’re great for foodies looking to taste their way through a destination.

Cultural Tours

Cultural tours delve into a location’s heritage through specialized trips focused on areas like art, architecture, film sites, and more. Offerings range from museum highlights tours to visits to ancient archaeological ruins. They provide a rich understanding of local lifestyles, creativity, and traditions that shape a place over time. An interactive, in-depth experience for culture enthusiasts.

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Destinations

Viator offers tours in over 130 countries worldwide, making it easy for travelers to book excursions no matter where their travels take them. Some of the most popular destinations and countries for Viator tours include:

  • Italy – Known for its history, food, wine, and scenery, Italy is one of the most popular countries for Viator tours. Popular destinations include Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, and Cinque Terre.

  • France – Paris is a hugely popular destination for Viator, with tours of the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and more. Other top destinations include Nice, Provence, the French Riviera, and the Loire Valley.

  • United States – From coast to coast, Viator offers tours of top U.S. destinations like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and national parks.

  • Spain – Barcelona and Madrid are the go-to Spanish destinations for Viator travelers. Tours are also available along the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava, and in Andalusia.

  • Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Outback are some of the most popular spots for Viator tours down under.

  • Greece – With its classic ancient sites and island paradises, Greece is a top choice. See the Acropolis in Athens, island hop, or tour ancient ruins.

  • United Kingdom – Viator offers tours of London, Edinburgh, Scotland, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, and other famous British destinations.

  • Iceland – Its stunning natural landscapes make Iceland a trendy destination for Viator tours of waterfalls, glaciers, hot springs, and more.

  • Japan – From Tokyo to Kyoto and Mt. Fuji to Hiroshima, Japan has many top spots for Viator tours.

  • Thailand – Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are go-to Thai destinations with many tour options.

Booking Process viator tours

Booking tours on Viator is simple and straightforward. The website makes it easy to find and reserve the tours you want.

To book a tour, just follow these steps:

  • Browse or search for tours on Viator’s website. You can look for tours by destination, activity type, attraction, or keyword.

  • When you find a tour you like, select your preferred date and number of travelers. This will show you the available times and pricing options.

  • Click “Check Availability” to view more details and reserve your spot.

  • Review the tour details and policies. Make sure to read the cancellation and change policies before booking.

  • Select your options if given, like hotel pickup. Then click “Book Now” and enter your contact and payment information.

  • You will receive a confirmation email with your tour voucher and other details. Make sure to print out or save your voucher to show on the day of your tour.

  • If you need to make any changes or cancel your booking, you can manage it on Viator’s website through your account. Just log in and find your booking under “My Bookings“.

Booking through Viator is secure, and your payment information is encrypted. You can pay with a credit card or PayPal. If you have any questions or issues with booking, Viator has 24/7 customer support to assist you.

The website makes it quick and easy to find and reserve the perfect tour for your next vacation.

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Prices

Viator offers a wide range of tour prices to fit various budgets. The average price of Viator tours ranges from €50 to €150 per person.

Some examples of typical Viator tour prices in euros include:

  • Walking tours – €15 to €30 per person
  • Food tours – €50 to €80 per person
  • Day trips from a city – €60 to €120 per person
  • Multi-day regional tours – €150 to €500 per person
  • Luxury and exclusive tours – €250 to €2000 per person

Prices vary greatly depending on the length of the tour, group size, destination, activities included, type of transportation, guide services, and more. Tours to expensive destinations like Paris, London, and Rome tend to cost more. Activities like wine tastings, skydiving, private guides, and transfers will also increase the price.

Budget travelers can find excellent value in walking tours, food tours, and day trips for under €100. Those seeking a premium travel experience can book exclusive small-group tours and luxury packages. Private and custom tours are available at increased prices.

Overall, Viator offers competitive pricing across all budgets for a global selection of tours and activities. Travelers should closely compare prices and details when booking. Discounts are sometimes offered for reservations.

What Past Travelers Say About Viator Tours

Viator Tours consistently receives high praise and positive feedback from travelers who have booked tours through the site. Here’s an overview of common themes found in reviews:

  • Outstanding Tour Guides: Many reviews highlight knowledgeable, friendly, and engaging tour guides as a major highlight of Viator tours. Guides who are passionate about their city and subject matter can enhance a traveler’s experience.

  • Well-Organized: Reviewers complement the smooth organization and logistics of Viator tours, with timely pick-ups, efficient schedules, and thoughtful planning. This removes hassle and stress for travelers.

  • Unique Experiences: Travelers rave about the unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences offered by Viator compared to generic mass-market tours. Tours take travelers to places they couldn’t easily visit independently.

  • Good Value: Most reviewers feel Viator tours are reasonably priced for the quality experience provided. Tours are seen as a worthwhile investment to maximize time in a destination.

  • Exceeded Expectations: Many travelers admit their Viator tour was better than anticipated. The tours surprise travelers by surpassing average experiences.

While positive reviews are common, some travelers have occasionally reported disorganized or lackluster tours. However, Viator’s ratings of 4.5 out of 5 stars on sites like TripAdvisor show most are very satisfied with the tours booked through Viator.

The Benefits of Booking with Viator

Booking tours and activities with Viator offers many advantages for travelers looking to have the best possible experience on their vacation. Here are some of the key benefits of using Viator:

  • Convenience – Viator has the largest selection of tours and activities worldwide, with over 150,000 experiences in more than 130 countries. This makes it easy to find and book whatever you want to do, all in one place. There is no need to search multiple websites.

  • Real Reviews – Get access to millions of verified reviews by real customers, so you can feel confident booking the highest quality tours. Reviews include star ratings plus details on guides, transportation, highlights, and more.

  • 24/7 Customer Support – Viator’s customer service team is available by phone and email 24/7 to assist with any questions or issues before, during, or after your trip. They can help modify or cancel bookings if plans change.

  • Best Prices Guaranteed – Viator promises the best prices on all their tours and activities. If you find the same product cheaper elsewhere, they will match the price.

  • Easy Mobile Booking – Viator’s app makes it simple to book tours on the go, even once you are already on vacation. Easily amend or cancel bookings via the app too.

  • Experience Guarantee – If your tour or activity is canceled by the operator, Viator will refund 100% of the cost. You don’t have to worry about non-refundable bookings.

Booking tours with Viator assure travelers of having the best local experience through a convenient and protected booking process. Their huge selection, read reviews, and price match guarantee enable you to book with confidence.

Cons

Viator has received some negative feedback from customers over the years. Here are some of the most common downsides and complaints about Viator tours:

  • Hidden fees or charges – Some customers felt there were extra charges added during the booking process or fees that weren’t made clear upfront. This includes resort fees, taxes, and charges for add-ons or upgrades that customers didn’t realize would cost extra. Always read the fine print to know the full costs.

  • Quality and size of groups – Since anyone can book Viator tours, some travelers end up in large tour groups or with fellow travelers, they didn’t necessarily enjoy. The guide quality is not always consistent either. Research your tour and read reviews carefully.

  • Customer service issues – Some complaints about difficulties getting support for changes, cancellations or issues during the trip itself. The 24/7 customer service is via email only.

  • Cancellation and refund policies – Viator has strict policies regarding cancellations and refunds. Make sure to read this carefully before booking. Some parts of the tours may be non-refundable.

  • Language barriers – Tours are not always guaranteed to have an English-speaking guide. Confirm language abilities if this is important to your group.

  • Accessibility limitations – Travelers with disabilities or mobility issues should vet the tours carefully, as not all are fully accessible. Contact Viator to understand specific accommodation options.

  • Quality assurance – As Viator doesn’t organize the tours themselves, there can be inconsistencies. Do your research to find the highest-quality option. Reviews and the reputation of the tour company should be considered.

Competitors

Viator faces competition from other tour booking sites that offer similar services. Some of the main competitors include:

  • GetYourGuide – Founded in 2009, GetYourGuide provides tours and activities in over 150 countries worldwide. They have a large inventory of 60,000+ experiences and partnerships with local suppliers. GetYourGuide tends to focus more on traditional tours and skip-the-line tickets.

  • Go City  – With Go City passes, travelers can visit bucket-list attractions, enjoy top tours, and discover plenty of hidden gems — all of which are handpicked by local experts. Go City allows travelers to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets. With Go City, it’s one price, one pass, and everything travelers need right there on their phones.

  • Airbnb Experiences – Launched in 2016, Airbnb Experiences provides unique tours and activities designed and hosted by locals. Airbnb leverages its community of hosts to create one-of-a-kind immersive experiences. The selection is more limited but curated.

  • Klook – Founded in 2014, Klook is based in Asia and partners with attractions and operators to provide in-destination services globally. They have a major presence in Asia and specialize in activities.

  • Tiqets – Tiqets has brought millions of people to museums and attractions around the world with their instant and intuitive mobile booking technology. Every day, Tiqets works with thousands of renowned museums, thrilling attractions, and hidden gems to offer unforgettable travel experiences.

While competitors may beat Viator in certain areas like focus or regional strength, Viator still has advantages like its extensive selection, longstanding reputation, and popularity with travelers. But the competition remains fierce in the tour and activity booking sector.

Conclusion

Viator offers a wide variety of tours and activities in popular destinations around the world. Their offerings range from guided tours of top attractions to more adventurous excursions like hot-air balloon rides. Some key things to consider when booking Viator tours are:

Summary

  • Viator partners with local tour operators, so you can book tours easily online, including skip-the-line options at crowded sites.
  • Tour types range from cultural and historical to food, outdoor adventures, and more, in destinations globally.
  • Booking is convenient through Viator’s website or app, with e-voucher delivery. Tours can often be canceled for a refund.
  • Prices are generally competitive, though more expensive tours are available. Compare options to find the best value.
  • Reviews are plentiful, making it easy to evaluate quality. Look for experienced guides and satisfied customers.

Recommendations

For travelers seeking an organized way to experience the top sights, Viator offers a huge selection of tours with the convenience of booking online. The platform makes it easy to compare tours, dates, and prices across destinations. Reviews provide helpful insights into tour quality and logistics.

While assorted types of unique experiences are available, average prices tend toward the moderate-to-expensive end. For budget travelers or those wanting a more local experience, other touring options may be preferable. But for hassle-free booking of sightseeing tours, Viator is worth considering.

Overall, Viator is best for travelers who value streamlined online booking for sightseeing tours, but it may not necessarily offer the most authentic or budget-friendly tours in all destinations. The platform simplifies the process of sorting through and selecting tours, providing peace of mind through trusted operators, online booking, and customer reviews.

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