Yay or Nay?
Yay or Nay ....what?
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Here's a response I posted on 3/14 on the same topic:
There are a number of small shuttle van/VW van guided tours which I would recommend rather than a HOHO. In 4-5 hours you can cover most of the sights (SF is a small town, geographically speaking) and probably have a more personal experience. Check Dylan's or Vantigo.
Depending on time of year, HOHOs have some big disadvantages. They run on designated routes and cannot vary from them even if they're stuck in gridlock traffic. Which they can be. I've been side-by-side with a HOHO while on a city bus. A 15 minute ride was 45 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. Didn't matter to me ... but I would have been put out if I was trying to see my way around the city. The guided tours can deviate around traffic. And there sections of neighborhoods where large buses are not allowed.
There is no easy answer. It depends on what you like. The hop on hop off (hoho) Tour has advantages and disadvantages. It covers tremendous number of attractions and gives you the freedom to design your own itinerary.
On the other hand, because our metro area is so large, designing such an itinerary requires quite a lot of thought and planning – Something that you might not want to do it in favor of taking an organized tour where all of the planning has been done for youEdited: 24 March 2018, 01:32
I’m still trying to figure out what this person would like to know.
Chocolate? Sushi? Liver? Which is good? It comes down to taste.
The hop on hop off tours aren't really my taste. I've briefly considered one in other cities, but then decided on things I wanted to see and just planned and gone myself.
Have you read the reviews, both good and bad?
I've never been on one, but based on routes and reviews, I think they may be useful for someone that mostly wants to get an overview of San Francisco, save a bit of money compared to a guided tour, go around the city and maybe stop off a couple or few places.
In the reviews, one of the more common complaints is that the next bus coming was either delayed or completely full so people couldn't move along on the tour as quickly as they like after getting off somewhere. Probably not always a problem, but more at busy times.
Hop On, Hop Off
- cheaper than a private or smaller tour
- less planning required, just go around the loop(s) and get off where you're interested
- some have open top if the weather is good
- hopping off might sometimes mean waiting a while to get back on
- can't go directly from one point to another, have to go around the loop
- you'll drive by everything in the loop, even if some things don't interest you
- less personalized attention than a smaller tour
Smaller van-style tours (some aspects also apply to larger traditional tours*)
- no planning of what to see needed*
- more personal attention or answering questions by guide
- guide may modify tour slightly if all people on tour are not interested in something, or adjust stop lengths
- you'll always have a seat when time to re-board*
- may be able to route around traffic or change tour order if advantageous to do so*
- more expensive than larger tour or HOHO tour
- you'll stop off at all locations on the tour, whether interested or not (though many companies offer different-length tours you can choose from)*
- defined amount of time on stops, may be shorter or longer than you wish*
Planning and getting around yourself
- see exactly the things you want and only spend the time you want at each place
- often less expensive than tours
- may do more walking or taking public transit like a local (could also be con)
- often faster, more direct route between stops, though it depends on options and planning
- often lots of time planning what to see and do
- more walking or public transit if you go that way (could also be pro)
- getting lost (could also be a pro, sometimes)
- no running commentary, you'll need to read or get info about things yourself
One mistake some visitors make is using a HoHo tour as public transportation. I've seen some people book tickets and then only want to see a few things or go directly to a location that takes a long time to get to by going around the loop. Using the tour buses only as transportation isn't usually very optimal and may waste a lot of time. The hoho buses often do not run in the evening or require a separate ticket for the night tour. The wait for a hoho bus is often longer than a muni vehicle on most of the main lines.
There are also some other tour options in between, such as walking tours (more focused in depth on an area) or phone apps or audio tours that are more DIY.Edited: 24 March 2018, 16:20