Buses can break down and tour companies can go out of business. Before investing your time and money, it pays to check out the company you're dealing with and determine exactly what you'll get for your dollar.
The National Tour Assn. offers these tips:
* Check to see how many meals are part of the package, and if luggage handling, tips and taxes are included.
* If the tour includes several modes of transportation, make sure the price you pay covers all legs of the trip.
* Ask what extra expenses you might incur so you'll know how much cash to bring.
* Group tours range from budget to mid-range to deluxe, terms that mean different things to different people. You can get a good idea of the class of tour by checking how the hotels are rated in the Mobile or AAA guide.