Seeing the Grand Canyon doesn’t need to break the bank. If you choose to take a tour bus, it’s quite affordable. From Las Vegas, for example, trips to the South Rim can run from $80 to $180 per person. Is there a reason for such a price discrepancy? No. It all hinges where you purchase online.
Las Vegas is home to a number of high quality tour bus operators. Generally, the experience is identical. Buses are cutting-edge. Drivers are courteous and well-informed. The on-board meals are good. The Grand Canyon… that is obvious.
Everything really boils down to price. How come some operators sell you a trip for $180? Because they can. Believe it or not, plenty of people buy at that rate. Don’t be one of them. Do your homework.
To help you get the best all-inclusive deal, here are a few things you need to take into consideration:
1. Is there a fuel charge? It is a “hidden” cost that was added on when the price of oil surged earlier this year. Fuel costs have since fallen. You’d think the fee would be dropped. You better think again.
2. Is there a charge to enter Grand Canyon National Park? Surprisingly, some operators will add this expense into the expense of your trip, either upfront or at the park!
3. What is the terminal check-in fee? It’s a surcharge for checking into a terminal where you get on your tour bus. This is a red flag. The good tours pick you up and drop you off at your hotel free of charge.
4. What is the trip cancellation charge? You need to really search for operators and tour brokers who won’t slap you with this one. But they exist. The rule of thumb is always to ask. If they do, consider your next choice, time permitting, naturally.
5. Will there be a supplementary price for meals? Expect to get a pre-packed breakfast and lunch. That’s the norm.
6. How long will the bus visit the South Rim? The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles across. An hour or two off bus is not enough to take in the Seventh Wonder of the World. In this case, the more the better.
There are a lot of tour bus operators in Vegas. Take your time. Research prices. But bear in mind this one key suggestion: The very best specials are invariably offered not by agents but by tour operators (or tour suppliers as they are known in the business).
Tour operators are the companies that own the coaches, pay the drivers, provide customer support, and ensure you get the trip you purchased. They have a vested interest in making certain you are satisfied. Brokers, on the other hand, will offer you a tour at whatever cost they believe you’ll pay, which happens to be always more than the tour operator’s price.
The Grand Canyon is a “must-do” when you visit Vegas. Particularly the South Rim, the part of the National Park that’s legendary for its scenery. Bus tours are one of the most economical method to visit this rim. But do your homework. Pricing is all over the map. My suggestion is to begin by shopping tour operator internet sites as in all likelihood they will have the lowest prices. Then climb onboard your luxurious luxury bus and prepare yourself for the Canyon.
Mr. Plunket is travel journalist who writes about all things Grand Canyon. He recommends that readers click Grand Canyon Bus tours for inexpensively priced trips.