This post is certainly not for the slow traveller who has time to explore a city. This is meant for tourists in a city for a few days. What is the best way to see the sights? Are the Hop-On Hop-Off Buses a good value?
I have taken Hop-On Hop-Off Buses buses a number of times under very specific situations. Let me give you some examples.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses New London:
We were there for a week over the holidays, and the Big Bus tours were the only thing open on Christmas Day. While the weather was terrible, and we only got off the bus once, it was something we could do that day; we even found one open restaurant.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses Paris:
This occurred before we moved to Paris, and our boys were very small. We were in Paris for a weekend, and there was no way we would get them to walk all over Paris. The double Dekker turned out to be a good option, and we did stop and get off at a couple of places.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses Rome:
We’ve been to Rome a couple of times, and we were there again for a few days in the summer when the weather must’ve been 35°C. We decided to take a bus tour outside the core. We stopped to see the aqueducts and some catacombs. It was a great time.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses New York:
Years ago, I was on a business trip to New York overnight. I flew up early to my hotel but couldn’t check in until 2 PM. It was 8:30 in the morning, so I dropped off my suitcase and hopped onto the double Dekker. I stayed on the bus for two trips around until it was time for me to be able to check it. It wasn’t my first trip to New York but a very good decision.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses San Francisco:
This was our latest experience on a double-decker tour. We wanted to go over the Golden Gate Bridge, and since we were driving, this seemed to be the only reasonable option. The problem with this tour is that the bus can’t go through Chinatown or other smaller streets, so you’re only skirting the sides. I’m glad we did it, but I don’t think we got our value’s worth in this instance.
These hop-on hop-off buses seem in almost every town in the city worldwide. I don’t understand why you would take one in one of the smaller locations and the problem with the large cities is that you will spend most of your time in crowds, with other people trying to get on and off the bus and stuck in traffic yes, yes, you’ll be able to see the sights. Still, you’ll be lucky to be able to visit one of them.
This post may leave the impression that I do not recommend hop-on, hop-off buses. Quite the contrary, there is a time and place for them if you’re short on time, but you need to pick your cities wisely and for your reasons.
Whether you get a one-day or two-day pass, I’m not sure which option is better. Our situations were such that one day was sufficient. Remember, these tickets usually are for 24 hours; even in the summertime, they don’t run through the evening. That’s it; you can use it one afternoon and the following morning, which could be a good option.
Is one hop-on hop-off bus tour better than the other?
I think they’re all pretty similar. Some offer discounts on your next bus tour within a year if you keep your receipt. I always lose my receipt.
I think it’s important to check their routes because they might vary between the two companies. In the big cities, they often have two or three different routes. Trying to do all of them in one day is virtually impossible.
Funny, but I would never recommend to visitors to take these bus tours in my hometown of Montreal. Probably because I can take the round. However, considering where the bus goes, f you’re a tourist, the hop-on hop-off bus goes, might be a good choice.