smarTours Reviews

4.41 Rating 1,366 Reviews
86 %
of reviewers recommend smarTours
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About smarTours:

smarTours is a leading provider of direct-to-consumer, affordable travel experiences to exotic global destinations. The Company offers travelers curated, pre-packaged itineraries to over 40 destinations across the globe. By offering tours directly to consumers, the Company provides premium-quality experiences at value prices, and as a result, has cultivated a highly passionate and loyal community of repeat travelers. More than 200,000 travelers have taken a smarTours trip since the founding of the Company in 1996. smarTours is… the smarter way to see the world.





545 Eighth Ave. Suite 2250
New York, NY 10018

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smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 28th January 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 20th January 2020
Anonymous  // 01/01/2019
Choice of hotels in Cairns unacceptable. Misleading information on upgrade to Green Island excursion.
Posted 2 years ago
Just completed the 10/31 Thailand tour that was a great tour until time to return home. It took nearly two days to get home and it was the worst travel experience ever!!!
The trip home was a killer and the reason I will never travel with smarTours again unless these two questions below are answered to my satisfaction: This is the travel breakdown:

19 hours - flight time for our three legs to get home
14 hours - sitting in airports
5 hours - sitting at Empress Hotel
NEARLY TWO DAYS including a drive from LAX to Las Vegas.....

1. The last day, we checked out of the hotel at noon but did not start return home till 5pm, or five hours later. Why could we not check out mid-morning and immediately start the return trip home from Chiang Mai and fly to Beijing? It makes no sense to sit in the hotel for 5 hours, fly south Bangkok only to back track to Beijing!!! Why was the flight necessary? This step kills nearly 10 hours and adds another flight to the trip home!!!!!

2. Sitting in the Beijing airport for 8 hours were the longest and worst part of the trip. This is the longest lay-over ever and must be improved. The airport was cold (they don't turn on heat till end of Nov.), uncomfortable, few good restaurants, no good resting places and wi-fi did not work. Does it make any sense to sit in a airport for 8 hours to you?

If you have a contact person regarding these issues, please provide name and phone number and would love to talk with that person. Looking forward to a plausible explanation for this travel plan of two days to get home. If I knew the return trip was that long/bad, I would not have booked. This return process is horrible and must be improved. On the positive side, great tour and Nok was a great tour guide......
THANKS - Roy Oxenrider
Posted 2 years ago
Overall 3 stars.
The guide was very good. 5 stars
The hotels were comfortable. 4 stars
The attractions were well chosen. 5 stars.
1 star for the following:
There was too much time spent on the bus. It was uncomfortable to be seated for so long (two days!)
The return air trip was AWFUL. The trip took 31 hours from Chiang Mai to LAX due to poor connections and long layovers arranged by Smartours!
The long layovers in Bangkok and Beijing were simply not acceptable. They were excessive and stressful.
Leaving Bangkok at 1:05am was very bad planning by ST. We arrived from Chiang Mai at @6pm and left for Beijing after a 7 hour layover!
It is almost a week after the return flight and I am still exhausted due to the bad flight planning.
The NY office staff was disorganized and non-communicative for long periods of time. I had to contact them for information that should have been sent but wasn't.
They seemed unaware of problems even when explanation was given repeatedly. They required a doctor's letter for a seat request which Air China repeatedly told me they did not receive or require. The ST staff refused any other help with the matter, not even supplying a contact number at Air China, which was extremely difficult to contact. Help finally came from another airline giving a number at AC that was actually answered.
This trip's travel plans were in stark contrast to the wonderful previous trip I made to Africa with ST.
Posted 2 years ago
Usually my Smartours experiences are a five. The tour to Egypt was a great experience. We had the best tour director Soha and assistant Mohamed. However, the tour organization was done wrong. Almost every morning we had to be up by either one o’clock am or three o’clock am to either go through a flight or a sight seeing. Soha did a marvelous job to accommodate all 40 people. But waking up every morning that early and going through a very heavy loaded day was very tiring. The hotels were great and the boat was great. I believe the tour has to be rearranged and maybe add one more day to the tour to make it less exhausting for the travelers. Needed at least one more day in Cairo at the end. Soha took us to the Cairo museum and she has a vast knowledge of history. She explained every article and statue and item so well. However, we were so tired from the early morning wake up. Afterwards went to Bazar and spend only one hour in the restaurant. No time for looking around and shopping. As I said, the whole trip has to be rearranged and rescheduled. I would rate it a three and a half because it was so exhausting.
Posted 2 years ago
Lots of potential. Great employees.
Posted 2 years ago
Information was not complete about using American currency. You should have been upfront about bills being almost completely new without any extraneous marks on them. You should also prepare us for how many more people would be expecting tips. Our tour guide, Chico, was good. I found the hotels we stayed in very nice, and the side tours good.
Posted 2 years ago
Accommodations were great, including the Movenpick Royal Lily. Especially enjoyed our time on the Nile. Randa, our “tour manager” was less effective than the tour managers we had on our prior two smarTours trips. She is very personable - would be good to share drinks or a meal with, however, she was virtually unable to keep to a schedule & was not very good at communicating needed info in a timely manner. Finally, we found the Egyptians we met to be very friendly but the country itself is dirty & trashy. The “great monuments” were vastly overrated, in our opinion, and Randa’s explanations at the various key sites were very uninspired and “canned” without any interesting contextual basis - the exact opposite of our experience when we went to South Africa with smarTours. Also, we appreciate that we had such good security protection - but, had we known the security situation was that fragile & dicey we would not have gone (e.g. day after we left, terrorists attacked a bus of Egyptian Christians several miles south of Cairo, killed 7 & wounded 19!!). Glad we got out alive. Finally, the folks in our tour group were very nice and enjoyable to travel with.
Posted 2 years ago
There should never be 21 people traveling together in a group of 39. It was a constant battle for seats on the bus, places in line, and tables on stops.
You should have given them their own tour because they felt and acted like they were the only ones who mattered.
While the guide was beyond fabulous in his knowledge base, he was not a mediator for 21 pushy, ill mannered individuals.
It soured many a moment as verbal confrontations broke out more than once.
Posted 2 years ago
Cruise. Arrived late to second port of the day, putting us in Mykonos and Santorininat dark! Why couldn’t itinerary get us to those islands in the morning and hit the lesser islands later in day so we could decide whether to go in yet another tour or relax on board. Food choices were poor.

Granville was great. Yani was full of information. I had a hard time understanding him, even though he was careful to speak slowly.

Like the cruise, land portion crammed in too much.

I feel I choose the wrong tour.
Posted 2 years ago
Places we visited were excellent. Hotels were good. Guide was knowledgeable. However problems arose since there was no requirement to change seats on bus. It created a lot of friction between tour participants that wasn't necessary. Tour guide only requested it but it didn't happen. We had a large group of related people or friends, over 20 and they would not change seats. Tour manager did little about it. Suggest Smartours does what Gate1 does which is have a list everyday where bus seating is rotated and you eliminate this problem. A little more work for tour manager but a lot more pleasant for tour participants.
Also lunch stop restaurants were not very good. Also way too much time allocated to shopping during the bus rides, which was a waste of time. We didn't travel thousands of miles to go to prearranged shopping. There was a lot of free time which was available to do shopping so during tour portion was not appropriate. Our rating is really between Acceptable and Good. We have used Smartours in the past a few times and our now wondering whether we shall use it in the future due to this experience.
Posted 2 years ago
Horrible job with respect to assisting with flight seat options both going to and coming back from Israel
Horrible job with handling bus seating arrangements and controlling the large group of people from India who were extremely rude and inconsiderate of fellow travelers on the bus.
Posted 2 years ago
Trip was too hectic. It would have been better to see less but stay in one place more. Ship was old and not prepared to house and feed so many people.
Posted 2 years ago
Needed a better tour guide who was professional and interested in the group more than himself.
Posted 2 years ago
Some of the main factors were good (hotel, food, guides, buses) but there is much room for improvement. Not enough information about traveling in China (see the OAT tours guide book). I booked my own flights, did land only. The poor souls who were on the Smartours flights had a return flight from hell form Shanghai back to Beijing, then SF while I flew direct Shanghai to SF. Did not get to know most names. A name lanyard used at many meetings would have been helpful at least for the first few days. Too many stops to sell you stuff. Skip the Jade factory and spend the time going up some of buildings in Shanghai and the Shanghai Club or gong on a subway in either city. The rickshaw is not a rickshaw. It is a pedal/rickshaw. Be honest and identify it correctly in the activity description. This is a difficult trip with a lot of walking. Handicap people should be discouraged or you should do one trip a year that caters to handicap people.
Posted 2 years ago
who ever booked the airline reservations for the return flight should be fired, we had only one hour between the arrival of our flight from Dubrovnik on air croatia and the departure of our American flight from Frankfort to philadelphia, when we landed in frank ford, we were told one hour is never enough to make a connection in the Frankfort airport, the airline people put us on a lufthansa flight which left serval hour later so naturally we all missed our flight from Philadelphia to chicago, of course we know smart tours was not responsible for that flight, but smart tours was totally incompetent in serving up an itinerary to allow only one hour between flights in frankfort. a terrible ending for a nice trip
Posted 2 years ago
who ever booked the airline reservations for the return flight should be fired, we had only one hour between the arrival of our flight from Dubrovnik on air croatia and the departure of our American flight from Frankfort to philadelphia, when we landed in frank ford, we were told one hour is never enough to make a connection in the Frankfort airport, the airline people put us on a lufthansa flight which left serval hour later so naturally we all missed our flight from Philadelphia to chicago, of course we know smart tours was not responsible for that flight, but smart tours was totally incompetent in serving up an itinerary to allow only one hour between flights in frankfort. a terrible ending for a nice trip
Posted 2 years ago
Enjoyed the trip overall but there are a couple of comments or observations: there were three consecutive early mornings (we’re talking up at 1:45 am, 4:45 am and 5:30 am) that seemed unnecessary if the day and flights or overall schedule were planned better. Tour guide was very knowledgeable but so much info is provided that it’s ultimately lost. I would love to have Dina Talaat’s narrative (perhaps along with other guides’) compiled into a file on smartours website that I could have printed before or after the trip for my own use. I started out taking notes but just gave up after a short time as there was too much. World spree (another similar tour provider) provides a bibliography list of reading suggestions for clients to become more educated on their trip location.
Neither Dina nor Mohamed had the tour group introduce themselves & give a home town or other info to the group which is unfortunate since you’re going to spend time close together in a bus.
Posted 2 years ago
Too many people but excellent guide Coimbria hotel poor
Posted 2 years ago
I am giving the experience three stars because i know that I could not have functioned in India myself, and I got to see some great things in comfort--but my gut feels like two stars. This was my first trip with SmarTours, after being referred by my fiance and his parents. I may give SmarTours another chance with a different location, but will need to see. I cannot recommend this trip to others. The guide, Ravi, was very knowledgeable.

The first issue was that Ravi deviated far from the itinerary- and would not keep us update, which created complete dependence on him. Certain activities were added and subtracted. We did not have the chance to do three of the optional tours that had been listed. Every time we brought up a deviation from the itinerary he said "SmarTours isn't updated".

He worked very hard to gain our trust, and did so successfully. He then used that trust to become and instrumental part of us getting ripped off by vendors. In the 6 days (basically three of which were travel), we went to 4 different Artisan exhibitions. I have no problem with this in theory, and I did not buy- but we spent hours at each. I then spoke to Ravi about trying to find affordable locations to purchase lesser quality souvenirs since i could not afford to buy from the expensive artisans, he promised "for you, I'll take you to the best place". But each shop I'd stop near, he'd say, "no, this isn't a good deal, wait for Jaipur". And of course, I trusted him and waited, and in Jaipur it was the same story. When I confronted him about it all being more expensive, he said "yes, but the quality is better- I promise you won't find a better deal around". I bought there, and the next morning I found identical scarves with identical tags for less than half the price at a shop in the hotel. so at that point we knew he was intentionally misleading us. Another couple on the trip wanted to take a rickshaw ride in Jaipur, as they had done alone in Delhi. Ravi offered to arrange a deal for them and spoke to the driver- he said "700 Rupees, best deal there is". When the other members said they paid 100 in Delhi and argued, suddenly the driver came down to 100. There is a big difference between 100 and 700. So by the end of the trip, all of us left India feeling that our own guide ripped us off. Ravi also treated his assistant, Sanjay, with utter disrespect. I tipped Sanjay heavily, but I doubt he will be allowed to keep it.
Posted 2 years ago
Thank you for taking the time to send us feedback regarding your most recent trip to India. We appreciate the comments, both positive and negative, as they help us understand how travelers experience our trips.
We also use the feedback to improve our tours. In this case, we have contacted our destination partner to discuss the itinerary deviations and specific comments regarding Ravi.

We plan our itineraries very carefully and our intention is that our clients experience the tour that was advertised at the time of booking. Of course, things can happen that are out of our control and we put our trust in our Tour Guides to deviate from the itinerary but only when necessary. In regard to the shopping stops, we are looking to reduce the amount of stops per tour and we recently launched a new India tour that does so.

Thanks again for your comments. We're confident we can deliver a better experience to you and we hope that you decide to book another destination with us in the future.
Posted 2 years ago
I travel with SmarTours to Croatia from 10/03 to 10/16. Here is my feedback:

1. I like the itinerary very much. It covers all the wonderful sites in the area
2. Except in Zargrab and Dubrovnik, I DO NOT like the hotels we stayed anywhere else. I remember I saw a spider in bed at one hotel. At another, there was a flood in the bathroom floor every time we took a shower. It turned out that the bathtub door wasn't sealed.
3. Rok is a very good tour director. But his mannerism is a little rough on the edges. r
Posted 2 years ago
smarTours is rated 4.41 based on 1,366 reviews