The Catholic Travel Guide
How to Choose a Catholic Tour Company: What to Look For and How to Check them Out
This can be a difficult task. There are several means you can use to verify that the tour company is right for you. Firstly, if you are interested in a Catholic tour or pilgrimage, be sure that is what is offered. Obviously there are many fine protestant or secular tour companies but they are not going to give you the Catholic perspective and in some cases my be outwardly hostile to our Catholic Faith.
1. Our best suggestion: recommendations from those who have traveled with this company in the past is probably the most reliable way to choose a Catholic tour company. This is especially true if you happen to know the people giving the recommendation. You can get first-hand information on what services were provided and whether they would meet your expectations. If they have a group leader or priest going along you can contact them and ask them if they have traveled with that company previously and get first-hand information on what to expect.
2. The Better Business Bureau: Although this is a good resource, the Connecticut Attorney General's office once took action against them charging that they automatically give higher ratings to those companies that belong to the Bureau than those that do not. The BBB has agreed to change its rating policy. So you should probably take these with a grain of salt, but still consider them to be fairly reliable.
3. Travel review websites: sites such as TripAdvisor.com are a source many people use to check out companies, hotels, etc. These reviews again must be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously a person who has had a good experience is not as likely to post anything here as someone who has a complaint. So if you only see one or two complaints it might not be a good indication of a problem. If you see a hotel or tour company that has a majority of complaints then you might want to take them seriously. And, amazingly, one person may give a hotel a bad rating and the next person give it a great rating, so it really can be confusing. We have reviews posted on our forum, and we ask you to add to them. This will help others to make the right decision. 4. Comments posted on the tour companies' websites from past travelers can be reliable but of course again you have no idea of how many negative comments may have been discarded. We encourage you to visit our forum for tour company reviews. And we hope you will add to the reviews once your travels are over.
5. And let's face it, things can go wrong even with the best tour operator. So take that in to account when reading reviews. Buses can break down, fellow travelers might be sick and the itinerary be interrupted a bit, you might not get along well with your roommate or a host of other problems. As they say, "offer it up".
A certain part of the travel experience depends upon your attitude when things don't work out the way you expect. That is why we continually talk about having realistic expectations and being flexible.