smarTours Reviews

4.45 Rating 1,494 Reviews
87 %
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 21st May 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 19th March 2020
smarTours 5 star review on 19th March 2020
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smarTours 5 star review on 14th March 2020
Anonymous  // 01/01/2019
I had gone on 2 SmarTours to South America and China and they were middle of the road tours that covered most of the sites in good accommodations.However, I had a credit with the company and booked Iceland as it was 1 week and close to NY.
But I was not strong enough to do the tour and cancelled 3 weeks before and the policy was to subtract $1500 and refund the rest. They did not honor their policy-they cancelled the tour afterwards. They ignored my requests to honor their policy-they refused to respond.They said I had to have a credit but I am unable to take another tour.I filed a Trip Mate insurance claim which was denied with documentation,medical statement which I submitted. It took 3 months to deny my claim. This company is a nightmare of non communication and
ignoring their own policies. Buyer beware.
Posted 9 months ago
Iceland was cold, but breathtaking. It would have been a very enjoyable trip if it had not been for the indifference and lack of caring of our guide, Helga

She did only the essentials and never offered even the slightest information or interests to our safety and comfort.

I was in a walker and when I asked her for the handicap facilities of the different locations she never gave me any type of fact, she told me, "You can't expect us to worry about your problems"

We received more information from the hotel staff then she ever bothered to give to us.

The beauty of Iceland is the only positive part of this trip

Posted 1 year ago
The trip was okay at best. Not worth the money. Some of the sites were boring and unnecessary - La Terrazas, the park with the water pools. Meals were below average. And, most of the tour group became violently ill with food poisoning from ham/cheese sandwiches provided by smarTours on the last day of the trip. We are still waiting on answers from smarTours regarding this; they have been slow to respond. I'm a physician and had to cancel my clinics due to the illness which only improved after I took antibiotics. By far the worst tour I've ever taken. And I've done about twenty throughout the world.
Posted 1 year ago
I have traveled to all continents and I found China Eastern Air to be a terrible air line because of narrow isles and little space in the rear of the plane, and the airline's food was terrible.
The hotels were good and breakfast was the best meal of the day.
Most of the tours were too long for my wife and me who are 77 and 79 years old
Some days began at 7:30 and ended at 5:00
We did not go tours the last two days.
A more concise itinerary would be appreciated
Posted 1 year ago
After spending a considerable amount of money & a lot of energy here are my comments for your Thailand & Cambodia tour.
My guide Nok seemed like a caring person, devoted to her Buddhist faith, but this DOES NOT MAKE FOR A GOOD TOUR GUIDE. She told us Smartours gives her free reign to plan & arrange her Thailand tours. Not good, just about all we did was about Buddhism... several temples every day, donating money to the temples & the Monks.
All the Hotels were far away from the city centers, making us dependent on Nok & our bus. We were captive to go only to where Nok arranged & took us. She arranged massages for us, restaurants, a visit for fine jewelry, silk, & bootleg handbags- she knew everything we spent at her friends stores & restaurants.
Our hotels were not good, besides terrible locations. One of the hotels had no working telephones in our rooms, which did not make us feel safe. Many of us had electrical & plumbing issues. We also had many one night stays, having to deal with packing too often.
Our Air Travel was the most grueling arrangements known to mankind. Whoever arranged these flights would never have arranged it for themselves.
My return from Cambodia involved 4 flights with 5 hour layovers at crazy hours like a 1:55 am flight from Shanghai. We also had to be out of our rooms in Siem Reap at 2 pm for a 7:30 pm flight, not considerate to your travelers.
We spent a full day traveling from Thailand to Cambodia, not far, but terrible planning... was this just to cut back on Smartours expenses?
Motor coaching the entire country of Thailand, staying in undesirable hotels, near nothing but sometimes a mediocre mall, was not what we want to do & see when touring a fascinating country.
Our time in Cambodia was somewhat better, but still our hotel was out of the downtown area.
I travel a great deal but this first tour with Smartours, does not compare to my experiences with other companies.
I must say I am terribly disappointed with Smartours.
Posted 1 year ago
Our guide was inexperienced & uninformed causing missed opportunities to experience sites to their fullest potential. Most of the participants were frustrated & disappointed by this.
Posted 1 year ago
We thought that the tour was minimalistic. We enjoyed the provided free time but the tour guide provided very little information at destination, especially Barcelona and Madrid. He only provided a very cheap and poor map of the city. We used the metro and figured out how to get around on foot using our own tour book but expected much better guidance, direction and insight while in Barcelona from our "guide". He basically dropped us off in the city and not much more. We have traveled to Barcelona in the past and understand how pick pockets work the streets and hotel lobbies. I warned others in our group, especially about the later. Out guide didn't warn about the lobby and of course, one person lost their wallet, passport, credit cards and all money on the departure day. The tour guide should have been far more outspoken and watchful. We thought the guide overall was inexperienced, and while friendly was of very little help for people like us that like to roam and explore on our own. The trip spent too much time in the bus; less travel time with more time at destinations would greatly improve this tour. Location of the hotels, excluding Madrid should be more centrally located. Many local guides, especially the woman in Madrid, spoke very poor English. We believe that several tours that we took with SmarTours in the past (around the late 1900s and early 2000s) were of much better quality. By contrast, we would not recommend this tour to others: a very poor value/dollar experience. We will be reluctant to take another SmarTour in the future because of this tour experience. Perhaps other tours offered by this company provide a better quality experience.
Posted 1 year ago
As a first time Smart Tour traveler you failed to meet our standards. Two of the hotel you put us in were not up to what should be your minimum standard. The Phowadow Resort at Chiangrai was just adequate. Several member on our tour had to move rooms due to various problems. The Novotel Resort gave us rooms on the first floor the faced another building and had odors that were so bad that 8 of us had to refuse to stay in the rooms. It took your representative efforts to get us move to a decent rooms. If this is your normal way to treat your customers we will not be traveling with your company again. I rate your tour at 2 stars out of 5. Do better or forget about us. Eight of your customers are very unhappy including one that had been on 12 of your trips.
Posted 1 year ago
I have taken approx 5 SmarTours trips over the years, however, the recent SmarTours trip my wife & I took to Iceland was a disappointment. The communication was poor and we did not meet our guide until Day 3 of the trip. We have already sent in a review to Smartours and are waiting for a reply.
Posted 1 year ago
I have NEVER had a worse guide on a land tour than Sigrun Eiriksdottir. She did not meet us at the Reykjavik airport (5 a.m.)--instead another guide took care of us in the dark & wind & rain, & showed us various attractions for several hours until our hotel rooms were ready, around 12:30-1 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 8. THEN, she decided not to meet us for a possible Northern Lights tour that evening--a notice was posted at the reception desk instead. Saturday was a "free day" anyway, so again she didn't appear. It was rainy, so on Sunday, Nov. 10 she took us to the Blue Lagoon during the morning, & that was it for the rest of the day. Similarly, when she actually DID show up, she never was early--often 5 min. or so late. She seemed to think she was charming enough to ignore the basics of "guiding." No one is. Then on the night of the last dinner, she never thanked us for coming to Iceland, nor did she EVER have us introduce ourselves in her presence (the sub. guide did do that after the 1st breakfast, but that was not a normal way to handle that).
I have taken 3 smarTours, I believe, & this was the worst guide ever. On any extended tour, anywhere. With any company. What a shame, given that the country of Iceland is such a fascinating one.
Also, on the last afternoon, she vanished from the airport before several of us had the chance to give her a tip (obviously it was going to be a modest one, since she barely spent any time with us).
I sincerely hope you will give serious thought to eliminating Sigrun Eiriksdottir from your group of Icelandic guides, as she obviously doesn't care to put in the time to do her job correctly.

Furthermore, I shall never bother to take a smarTours trip again--there's no point in wasting my money on your company. For your information, I have traveled to nearly 150 countries, both singly, with land tours & cruises--I hope I can put this unpleasant experience out of my mind soon. And of course will never recommend smarTours to anyone, anywhere.
Posted 1 year ago
1. Scheduling was very irrational and inconvenient
2. Wish you could have provided in advance
a. Schedule
b. A write up of daily and weekly list of activities. Though the guide told us verbaly, most of us could not remeber everything and found ourselves confused and bothering the guide
Posted 1 year ago
I was so disappointed in this tour to India and Nepal. I learned nothing about India, other than there was a caste system, arranged marriage and lots of beggars aka friends, day guides had such accents it was hard understanding them. So disappointing!
Posted 1 year ago
The itinerary for this tour varied significantly from that which we received at the time we booked. The first day's itinerary called for an early afternoon arrival followed by the afternoon and evening at our leisure with a brief meeting with the tour guide to go over the agenda for our tour at 8 pm. The following day called for a guided walk thru Yu Yuan Garden and a visit to the Shanghai Museum with the remainder of the day after lunch at our leisure. The evening included an optional acrobat show.
A "guided stroll" thru the Bund was scheduled for the next morning before departing for Beijing. What we received was a late night arrival, no meeting, and an early wake up and departure followed by a bus ride and a brisk walk to the Bund where we were given 45 minutes to explore on our own, followed by an equally brisk walk back to the location where we waited for the bus which took us a silk factory for a demonstration/sales pitch. This was followed by lunch and another bus ride to the general vicinity of the Yu Yuan Gardens for a long but quite brisk walk to the Garden.
The "guided walk" described in the itinerary turned out to be a strenuous forced march up and down numerous steps where we were frequently forced to forgo taking photographs or otherwise enjoying the Gardens in an effort to navigate the crowds and try to keep the group in sight. Although there was a tour guide and a local guide, they were usually together at the front of the group. Not being unaccustomed to the pushing and shoving that occurs in China, it was difficult to keep up.
I inquired about finding a spot to rest while the rest continued on and rejoin the group on the return trip, I was informed that the group would be returning that way. (This all or nothing route planning was a recurring theme for the entire trip with the exception of the Zoo.)
We arrived in Shanghai exhausted from our long journey to get there and looking forward to the relatively light schedule upon our arrival. Because of the arbitrary changes to the itinerary we were provided, we started the tour exhausted and never had a chance to recover.
There were several other instances where activities were compressed, etc. into a shorter time frame or took place on different days. This had a significant negative impact on our ability to enjoy the tour. When we voiced our concerns to the Tour Guide he responded condescendingly, "You do know this is a 'walking tour' don't you?" The short answer is NO, if we did, we would not have booked it. We subsequently learned that most of the others on the tour had received a different itinerary than we did.
The description of the Yangtze River Cruise is TOTALLY INACCURATE. Had it been accurately described we would have booked the less expensive option that did not include the cruise.
Finally, with a couple of exceptions, the meals provided (except some dishes on the ship) were bland and insipid. We learned during the "farewell dinner" that rather than serve authentic Chinese cuisine, the menu had been tailored to someone's idea of the "American palate". Again, had we realized this, we also would have selected a different company to travel with.
Posted 1 year ago
It may be unfair to hit the “Poor” button, as certainly there were acceptable aspects to our Ireland trip. But it just didn’t measure up to the other trip we have taken with your company. I think you tried to cover too many sites in too short a time; people were tired of rising and reporting so early so often. But the major weakness of the trip centers on the leader. First, the bus driver was the tour director, lecturer and bottle washer for all but a couple of days. We got only his view, only what he may know about Ireland or it’s history, sites, etc. More specifically, we got his OPINION, which I felt to be irrelevant to my desire for a coherent narrative of history, and especially of the Troubles. I would add that on the only other trip we have taken with your company, our tour guide was almost constantly with us, to lead, point out, answer questions, etc., and he attended the group dinners as well. The Ireland trip person, by contrast, drove us to sites, dropped us off, then disappeared until time to pick us up. He attended no group dinners, left us off at hotels, warning that is there were problems to take them up with the hotel, not with him, and drove away to stay in a different, unspecified hotel. I blame the company for some of his behavior; I don’t see how one person can be expected to do a good job of both driving and performing the various tasks of a tour leader. All this leads me to question whether or not we would travel with you again. Your prices are very fair, but at what price?
Posted 1 year ago
Our tour guide was very unorganized and very unsure of lots of questions we asked him. He would always say I’ll get back to you and never did. Nick was his name and all 12 of us were not happy with his unprofessional ways. Because of him we did not have a memorable trip.
Posted 1 year ago
The tour guide was an inefficient communicator and had limited skills or knowledge of adult learning principles. The tour guide appeared to be often overwhelmed, anxious, disinterested or confused. We have been on over a dozen Smartours over the past 20 years and have never experienced a poor guide. In addition, the tour was too ambitious. We felt too rushed to really enjoy the sites or surrounds.
Posted 1 year ago
I did not like the fact that we did not receive a bottle of water when they had us scheduled for a half day tour. The weather was extremely hot in the upper 90's with high humidity and due to the time of day we were exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. I believe for the amount paid for the trip we were at least entitled to a bottle of water. My other complaint is in addition to scheduling us for unlimited visits to temples and shrines. We should of had tickets to view the cultural arts in a theater presenting dance, music any other forms of art depicting the Japanese culture. We did not visit any museums. I despise all of the shopping trips. Shopping is not my favorite past-time. I feel that to much emphasis was placed on shopping and visiting shrines and temples. I was disappointed and will not recommend Smartours to any one.

Yoko was kind and patient but I didn't acquire enough history from her concerning Japanese culture. Based on Smartours definition and description of the tour. She was extremely limited and I blame Smartours not her.
Posted 1 year ago
My name was not on the SouthAmerican tour guide’s list. So the bus left without me, from the airport. This was a mistake done at the New York office. I was compensated for the taxi ride to the hotel. The hotel had no record of me. In half an hour I was given a room. SmarTours never wrote to apologize. When I got home I noticed a few calls on my land line. Never again.
Posted 1 year ago
SmarTours needs to inform prospective travelers in more detail regarding itinerary and flight arrangements. The tour I took did not spend enough time visiting the sights. JFK is a mess. I would never use this airport again. The tour itself was well managed. The personnel on the ship were competent and courteous.
Posted 1 year ago
This was by far the most disappointing tour. We have so many wonderful trips- this was a letdown for SmarTours. We may look for other companies such as Gate 1 for future trips. Lovely countries with a bad guide. He was quite arrogant
and offered little help to us.
Posted 1 year ago
smarTours is rated 4.45 based on 1,494 reviews