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
"Trip to Greece was very well organized
but I would like to comment on certain issues:-
1) Trip to Santorini should have been at least for 10-12 hrs at the island . We got hardly 3-4 hrs at the Oía village which is world famous.
2) There should be provisions of Coffee machines in the Hotels . It was not there in most of the Hotels —- Hotel Royal Olympic in Athens is one example.
Everything else was fine ."
"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."
"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?"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"thrir was a problem when we transfered from Lima to Cusco not knowing we would have customs check hold bagage and not allow sharps to be kepy in hold bagge because of this I had to turn over my Swiss Army knife which I have carried for over 40 years in my hold baggage this has really upset me and I can not give agood recomemdation. this loss is due to your lack of duedillagemce"
"Disappointed in our tour guide which can make or break a tour
Tour guide-wanted his job to be done with as little effort as possible
Option tour to Russia- tour guide was excellent. What a difference it makes.
Smartours is not for me"
"This was our 5th tour with SmarTours. June 6-19,2019 tour to U K was the worst of them.
On 6/24/19 I called and discussed all issues with Customer Service Rep. Ms. Pauline.
I hope, the main reasons of our discomfort and the bad taste that the tour was conducted by the subcontractor "Abbey Tour".
1. Bus was cleaned only once at the end of the tour. It was a small of the waste in the bus. It was not equipped with WiFi.
2. Hotels portage: No control over our baggage loaded in the bus; long waiting time
3. Dinners included in hotels poorly managed, no choices, underfunded.
4. Tour Director; did not escort group outside of the bus; long pleasant talk with the driver but not to the group; information was presented was dry, not entertaining and short; very limited managing skill."
"Our Tour Director, Par, was not what I have experienced on other Smartours and therefore very disappointed. He did not provide contact info for us if we had a question or issue. When we asked questions he normally said it was not important and did not answer. He did not provide background info for any city we visited. He did not seem to be concerned about our issues or concerns. He did not sit with us for any meal. He was only concerned about what suit him. When we were picked up initially, he wasn't concerned about restrooms or meals. I would suggest that Smartours look at this person before booking any other tours with him. The guides for each city were great and very well versed in the history and other points of interest. The countries are beautiful and I was looking forward to learning more about the history. I have been spoiled with Smartours and their very experienced Tour Guides in Eastern Europe, South Africa and Greece. I was so disappointed and so were so many of my fellow travelers. I know that almost everyone of the 20 people on this tour were disappointed with the Tour Director, the hotels and the overall experience. We had two people that depended on Par, our tour director to assist them with changes but that was like pulling teeth, there were people with dietary concerns that were just brushed off, as if unimportant. Overall, I will look to other companies in the future."
"1 guide with 40 travelers was unacceptable. Tour guide tried but just couldn’t handle so many people. Welcome dinner was 4 or 5 nights into tour...too late. Introductions were done while traveling on the bus so you couldn’t see who was speaking. Total waste of time. Tokyo, Kanazawa hotels were ok, others were less than expected. SmarTour was highly recommended. I was very disappointed!!"
"The communication from the corporate office was WAY TOO late in arriving prior to our departure (less than two weeks). No one could (or would) answer questions about travel arrangements prior to the trip. We were not clearly communicated with that the bus days would 10 to 12 hours on a bus for a 3 hour or less trip. The hotels were not conveniently located near the city centers or near preferred areas. The hotels were nice, just not very conveniently located.
Our tour guide was great, but the organization by the SmarTours corporate office was terrible. Won't be taking another trip with Smartours. We bailed and rented a car rather than ride the bus. We were not expecting mandatory seat rotations on the bus trip, I now understand that is customary for bus trips."
"The trip was great but Rok, the tour guide, although friendly, was lazy and instead of giving us historical information while riding on the bus to various destinations he was on his cell phone chatting away. If we asked a question he would answer however he preferred talking to his friends or other business associates. Had this been our first smart tour trip, we’d never consider taking another one. Our Eastern Europe trip’s Tour guide was very engaged with the guests and she was filled with interesting information so that’s why we chose to go to Croatia with you again. Now it’s questionable if we’ll go with your again. A bad representation for your company."
"Both our primary guide and the local guides were terrific. However, the hotels were not. The rooms at the business hotel we stayed at the first weekend were well furnished but very small for 2 people. The second resort was a wonderful property, but we were never given time to relax there. The third beachfront property rooms were ok, but we looked directly at construction.
More important was the food. The smartour meals were awful. The food was always overcooked and almost unpleasant with no alternate choice to the selected entree other than vegetarian. This resulted from having the food precooked since we had very specific set times to eat. We were rushed us in and out, perhaps to be gone by the time other diners arrived at normal time.. I would have much preferred having food cooked to order so it was edible. If the purpose of meals was for us to bond, why rush us so we can then go do nothing for the rest of the evening.
The bus quality got worse and worse, with the last bus having 5 broken seats. More important, there was no basis for a 13 hour bus ride (originally promised to be only 7 hours, The 7 hour ride was justified by calculations of arriving at airport early and waiting and luggage limitations on the planes.) I would rather spend 7 hours in air conditioned luxury involved with flying than bumping over roads in too small seats and being delayed by much construction which delay was compounded by numerous bathroom stops not planned for with the additional 6 hours. The solution: fly us and have excess luggage driven in a small van. It would have been easy to bring overnight provisions on the flight if the luggage was delayed.
The salt mines were a real disappointment and waste of day. The best activities were the coffee plantation and the Botero museums, but we were given little time at the latter.
It is my impression that this tour was wholly on the cheap. I paid the full amount, but even if I had booked early and received a discount, I would feel "ripped off" by this tour. I will not recommend."
"The tour director in Egypt is very knowledgeable in ancient Egyptology. However she needs to exercise leadership in taking care of the tour group members from beginning to the final dinner events. She delegated her responsibility to someone who lacks the diligence of head counting before start of activities. There was no follow-up or warning on the wait up calls not happening from the Hotel. The travel flights in Egypt were often too early in the morning and too intense. We all did not receive wake-up calls at 5 am and I almost missed the flight back to th US. The assigned tour director was not present to correct the mishap.
I used to have confidence in joining SmartTours in the past. I am sorry to loose such preference after this 10 days Tour to Egypt."
"1. the most ill-organized tour we have ever had...
2. egyptair in-flight services from new york to cairo and back was much below standard…
3. the welcome dinner on the first day was not up to the mark... we entered the dining room last and was seated in a corner table and not even supplied all the items that was served to others... quality of the main dish were below standard...
4. on dec 6 our second day in cairo, there was an optional half a day tour to memphis and sakkara but the cairo tour guide decided to add a new tour in the evening to go to the sound and light show in the pyramids... he decided the cost $46.00 per person, although earlier in the bus he said it would be $44.00/person... when we went to pay in the evening before the tour, he denied taking any credit card, he wanted cash $46.00 (not $44.00 as he said before) or 830 egyptian pounds/person that forced us to go to the ATM machine and get some local pounds, the exchange rate was somewhere around 17.5 pounds/dollar plus some fees... so we paid him about $48.00/person (830 pounds), which was not fair... smartour informed us earlier that optional tour payment could be made by credit card... so we tried not to carry heavy cash during the trip...
5. only one optional tour was listed for luxor on dec 11 (luxor musium), but they arranged 3 tours, 1 on dec 10 (evening luxor city tour by horse carriage $15.00 per person and 2 on dec 11 (visit banana island by boat $2400 per person and visit luxor museum $36.00 per person)... we paid luxor tour guide by credit card for these 3 tours... we were never told before about these extra 2 optional tours by smartour...
6. we never had these kind of early morning flight anywhere we visited before with other tour companies... for both cairo to aswan and luxor to cairo flights we had to wake up at 2:30 am to get ready for the flights...
7. the farewell dinner at marriott was awful... dry roasted chicken breast with mashed potato was the main course and there were no other alternative..."
When a review is marked
it means Reviews.io has the additional trust signal necessary to ensure that the review is genuine. Customers reading the reviews can then use this information to help them decide which reviews are more relevant and steer them in their purchasing decisions.
If a review does not have the
label next to it, we do not have the additional information from the customer/company to verify that the review was written from the privileged user position.
Even though some reviews do not carry the
badge, it does not mean that the reviewer has no experience with the company - it just means that we could not confirm a specific purchase.
badge offers one more way to help gauge the quality and relevance of a company review.
How can I make my review "Verified"?
If we are unable to automatically verify you as a
you can email supporting documents to
so we can investigate and mark your review as
We prefer an invoice, delivery note or receipt.
When a review is marked
it means Reviews.io has NOT had the trust signals necessary to ensure that the review is genuine. Customers reading the reviews can then use this information to help them decide which reviews are more relevant and steer them in their purchasing decisions.
How can I make my review "Verified"?
If we are unable to automatically verify you as a
you can enter your email address below and we'll be in touch to verify your review.