San Francisco, CA; Sacramento, CA; Cupertino, CA; Burlingame, CA; Milpitas, CA; Oakland, CA
English; Mandarin Chinese
Visit Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Jackson, Yellowstone Bear World, Air Museum, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Horse Shoe Bend, Grand Canyon south rim or west rim.
12 national, State and private parks
Two nights in Las Vegas and optional Grand Canyon West rim or south rim
10 plus years experienced and knowledgeable English-speaking tour guides
15 million tour bus insurance, the highest in the industry
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I can definitely see how this tour can work out for people who are visiting from other countries, or for the couples with no kids. It gives an amazing overview of what some American states are like, and most importantly - the most beautiful national parks. It's great that you don't have to worry about booking 6 nights at different motels, and worry about renting a car and driving all day by yourself in the middle of nowhere. The tour guide, Bruce, was very helpful and knowledgeable.
However, I'm not sure if that's the tour you want to take with the small kids. Out of the 7 days, 3 days are devoted to driving pretty much 10-12 hours a day, stopping at local gas stations for some fast food every 2-3 hours, with no sightseeing. I found it very devastating to travel with the 3 year old and 1 year old. There were also other, bigger, kids on the bus, and the trip looked much smoother for them because they spend pretty much the entire time using iPad.
1. Would be super nice if the bus was cleaned (garbage, floors) after every day of traveling. It was cleaned just once, and starting the day off with a mess is not the most pleasant experience, especially taken that the tips for the tour guide/bus driver are 6$ per day per person.
2. The tour is very rushed. I wish at least for the most famous national parks (Zion, Yellowstone) we had a whole day of walking, maybe having a picnic, etc. I took the tour mostly to see Zion park, and we spent there literally 1.5 hours max, and just 3 stops (two 15-minute each, and one for 30 min). I wish I could spend more time walking around. Same for Bryce Canyon. We were driving the whole day (!!!) just to have a 1 hour hike around the canyon. Perhaps, some national parks can be skipped, and more attention can be devoted to the biggest parks. Also, when looking at the schedule for each day, you might have an impression that your stop in Sacramento, for example, will allow you to at least look around and do some sightseeing. It was only 30 min, however, enough to get a coffee in the nearest Starbucks and use a restroom.
3. The time when we had to be on the bus was 6:30AM, and one day - 4:30AM. This hardly feels like a relaxing vacation, especially if you are traveling with the kids as their sleep is disturbed.
4. Almost no on-bus entertainment- we watched 3 movies in 7 days, and I feel like it doesn't cost much to watch 3 movies a day, taken how long and boring the drive is.
But as I said, this tour might be a perfect match for some people, as it's probably nice to spend couple days napping on the bus, reading a book or watching videos while seeing the beauty of the American states.
We are back home after a fantastic tour with a fantastic guide and driver. This is my third trip with TakeTours and that says it all!
This is the longest trip I have taken and I had my parents with me. I was little skeptical about how they would feel with the long duration of the trip. But they totally enjoyed the trip.
Sofiya was our tour guide for all the seven days. She is a friendly, well travelled, knowledgeable, thoughtful, fun loving and an entertaining guide. She took good care of us and happily attended the special needs of her guests. She was always available to answer our questions and helped us to choose the optional activities. Her expert suggestions helped us a lot of save time. Her explanations are engaging and clear.
Our driver, Joe was a total entertainer. His efficient driving made us feel the 3000+ miles we covered a breeze.
The bus was clean and has charging points. The accommodations were decent and comfortable. Every food stops had multiple options which offers something for everybody.
My two cents to those who are planning to take the tour - to cover so much without feeling rushed, in the little time we have, please please be on time. Also if in doubt, ask; esp about the reporting time. We had to cancel our Vegas night tour as some ppl didn't return on time and by the time we hit Vegas, the driver was out of hours.
This 3400-mile round trip tour was long and tiring, but our excellent tour guide, Bruce Cheng, made it very pleasant and easier for us. There are several early start hours required to adequately cover all of the diverse sites, but our driver, Joe, made it safe and comfortable. For those who like Chinese buffets, we had 6 in 4 states. In summary, it was a good experience and worth the long hours to see all of the sites, as advertised.
I bought this tour for my elderly mother. She is a native Russian speaker, but after living in the United States for 20 years she understands English fairly well when spoken to clearly. Generally she was quite exhilarated over this tour and said she would do it again with this company. She felt that the itinerary was fantastic! She loved the places visited and was quite happy with the bus and accommodations. The only major complaint she had was that the tour guide Bruce was very deceiving and greedy when it came to the cost of all additional optional attractions. For example, the general cost of the entry to the Yellowstone Park is $12 if entering by foot, and $10 for Senior Lifetime pass. The motorcoach (bus) pays a flat fee of $300 to enter the park. With 47 passengers on board of the bus the true cost of entry per person would have been $6. Nonetheless every person had to pay $14 to the tour guide regardless of age. At the end of the tour, everyone was offered to see the Cirque du Soleil Show KA in Las Vegas. The tickets were offered at a price point of $150 per person i.e. $143 + fees. Bruce went to buy them on the day of the performance after collecting money from people who wanted to attend. While strolling down the street before the show, my mother stumbled upon a ticket booth that was selling the same day tickets for the same show at 25% discount. So a $143 ticket would have cost her $107 + $7 processing fee totaling $114. That’s a $36 difference! When Bruce brought the tickets the price and fees were scratched off so that people could not see the actual price he paid for them, but it was quite obvious that he made some extra money by overcharging unassuming tourists in his group. And these are only two examples. My mother felt that she was tricked and deceived and was offended by this unfair practice especially that at the end of the tour everyone was expected to lay out an additional $6 per day for the tips totaling $42 per tour per person. With 47 people on board it adds up to $2,000 for the guide and the driver to share in tips. Why being greedy? Otherwise, my mother felt the tour was great and worth every penny! She also wished they spent a bit more time in Sacramento.