In all my years of traveling, I have never taken a Hop On Hop Off bus tour. I always thought they were cheesy. You see them meandering around New York and other major cities. You know them – those obnoxious big busses that blare information across a loud speaker as the tourists on the top deck look from left to right. Their cameras out, taking pictures of the buildings they are passing. Not only do they scream tourist, but they can also be expensive. Why in the world would I subject myself to a bus tour when I can map out the places I want to go and use public transportation the way the locals do?
Maybe it’s the travel snob in me, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to shout from the rooftops that I’m a tourist. That was until we went to San Francisco and my view on these gawky looking busses changed.
The Day My View of the Hop on Hop Off Bus Changed
We parked our car at the Parking Spot in Dallas and hitched a ride on the courtesy van to take us to the airport. A friendly couple asked us “Where are you guys off too?” and I proceeded to tell them we were going to San Francisco. They went down the list of all the stuff they loved in San Francisco and then the gentleman said, “Yeah, and you know even the tourist bus was a lot of fun!” His wife nodded yes in agreeance with him. We parted ways that day, but his comment stayed with me.
Our first day in San Francisco on our own I had everything mapped out – I was there for a conference for a few days before doing tourist things. We were going to go to The Walt Disney Museum, then to the Palace of Fine Arts and would finish up the day at Fisherman’s Warf shopping, eating and walking around. Our Uber ride to the museum from Downtown was about $20.
Then we walked to the Palace of Fine Arts. We took pictures and enjoyed the scenery then headed towards Fisherman’s Warf. That’s where things turned around. It was Fleet Week and the Blue Angels were putting on a show in this area. We could tell as we continued to walk that traffic was backed up for miles. Thousands of people were in lawn chairs watching the Blue Angles. I immediately thought about the Uber fairs and the cost. I looked them up on my phone and sure enough $60 for a ride back to Downtown! You see, Uber and Lift go up with rates when there is high volume.
We high-tailed it back to the museum, hoping that the cost would be less if we were outside of the beach area. After waiting over an hour, we finally got an Uber as a shared ride for $30. So, overall we spent over $50 in transportation costs! We learned our lesson that day.
You see public transportation in San Francisco is ok. There are busses, but they take a long time. You can take the metro, but it’s pretty minimal as far as locations. Additionally, you have the option of the trollies, but they take a long time too and cost $7 per ride. We assumed that an Uber ride would save us time even though we would end up paying a little more. Boy, that day we were wrong. It cost a lot more!
The next day I told the Mr. that I wanted to check out the Hop On Hop Off tour bus. I picked up a travel booklet at the hotel that had a coupon in it along with the directions for the bus stop. Lucky for us a stop was a block away from our hotel. At the Hilton, I asked the concierge desk for the exact location the bus stopped. He told me what side of the hotel the bus picked up and gave me a better coupon than I had with the travel book!! Thanks, Hilton Concierge!
Now that you know what events changed my mind about the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour click the next button below to find out the Top 5 Reasons to Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour.