Why An Open Top Bus Is The Best Way To See A City
If you don't have long in a city but want to see as much as possible, I would highly suggest getting tickets for an open top bus. Their routes are organised so that you see all the major attractions without wasting time walking around, you get an audio or live guide telling you about the city as you drive around and you can get off and on the bus as much as you like.
I have had the joy of using open top buses in New York, Washington DC, London, Dublin and Cardiff. Each time I had the best time ever exploring the city because being a tourist was made so easy for me.
I have had some of my best travelling memories on an open top bus like in Dublin when the driver was the guide telling us amazing stories and jokes as we were driving around. Washington DC when I was ill so I stayed on the bus to see all the sights and the driver kept checking up on me. Cardiff when I got to see so much history and learnt so much. New York when I freezed my butt off but I didn't care because of the amazing things I was getting to see and how far I got around the city in one day.
Before buying tickets to your bus tour, take a look on GroupOn or Wowcher as you can get some great deals on passes, but make sure you check the fine print as you may have to go to an office or shop to get your tickets before you can get on the bus. I was a plonker and didn't read the fine print for the bus tour in New York, I went to get on the bus and only then found out that I had to go and find a manager who was 5 streets down and a block over so I had to go on a little bit of a walk. It was all fine once I found the manager and got my ticket sorted as the bus turned up about 5 minutes later.
If you know a few months in advance of your trip, sign up to the bus tour website as they may have a sale before you go and then you can get some money off the passes.
If you have purchased a multi-attraction pass, they sometimes include a day pass to go on an open top bus so check whats included before buying a pass for the bus as you may not need as many days as you think.
Cardiff was the only place that we brought tickets on the bus, we could of saved some money by getting tickets online but it was a spur of the moment sort of thing where we decided to just get on the bus and explore.
The audio tour is really informative about the places that the bus goes past but if you get a live giude, they will make everything seriously amazing, we had one in Dublin and he was so so funny. He made the tour so much fun that we didn't want to get off at our stop, we could of sat on his bus all day.
Normally the passes you can get are in days, they start off with 1 then there's 4, 5 and 7. Some companies do a 48 hour pass which is great for weekends of exploring so you will have plenty to choose from to cater for your ecploring needs.
With some of the tour companies, they also include a river tour, I went on one in London that was part of my bus tour pass and it was great to see the city from the river as well as the top of the bus. If it's not included, they will sometimes offer the river tour as a discount so always worth asking.
When you first get on the bus, you can pick up a map of the routes and a set of headphones so that you can hear the audio tour. I like getting the maps because it helps me plan out what I want to see and which of the other routes I might want to go on. There is usually 2 or 3 routes that are all colour coordinated. Don't forget to look out for the discounts on attractions and places to eat as well, they are usually on the map if the company offers any.
A lot of big bus companies operate in all the big cities so you will soon start to recognise the buses as you use them again and again.
I love open top bus tours and hope that this post has given you an insight into how great they can be.
Safe travels xx