One of the easiest way I have found to get an appreciation of the place you are visiting are the ‘Hop On Hop Off’ buses.
In some cities there are even ‘Hop On Hop Off’ boats.
The buses are probably a bit overkill for smaller places, but we have found them a boon for big city holidays.
The commentaries can also give you a lot of hints about what things are worth doing.
Picking a company
There are often several competing companies but the companies with the most buses are the most convenient, otherwise you can too long waiting at stops.
Travel Hack – Spend half an hour having a coffee near one of the main tourist venues and watch the buses arrive. . . . You will soon know which are the most common bus companies.
There is also an advantage using companies with an ‘app’ that gives you an idea how far the bus is.
How We Use Them
Generally we get on the bus on day 1 of our visit and stay on the bus for a complete lap of the circuit.
We will then get off and visit one of the sights and start to plan the next few days.
If most of the sights are close to each other we will use the bus to get to the more remote places only.
The closer sites we will save for days on foot, or use public transport.
When all the sites are well separated it can be worth booking a 2nd Day on the bus (Normally at a considerable discount compared with a one day fare)
If the traffic is really bad it can be very frustrating. . . . . In Kuala Lumpur there were times when the bus took 20 minutes to move 100m.
Sitting on the top deck can mean:
- With the breezes you don’t realise that you may be getting burned on sunny days.
- You quickly get very cold on overcast spring and autumn days.
In the USA the guides will be dropping heavy hints about ‘Tips’ every time you get off the bus.
Ten years ago we booked a day on a ‘Hop On-Hop Off’ bus in New York.
A year later we received a cheque for $30 as a result of a court ruling on cartel behavior by the two main operators.