Helpful Hints for a Successful Tour
Make a Plan A tour doesn’t necessarily require a car-related destination. Factory tours, private collections (of anything), museums, a winery or even a simple drive and picnic. Anywhere that might appeal to a group of adults. So, decide where you’d like to go! (Hint: many things have been done before; keep in mind that a reasonable interval between this and a similar tour of the past will probably attract more people.) Perhaps a joint tour; invite another club along! Will the group need to stay overnight? Choose a host motel/hotel and arrange group room rates, if possible. For dinner, make arrangements for a group meal at a restaurant, preferably with good parking. Be creative! Most people appreciate a pre-arranged plan (the rugged individualists can go off on their own if they choose).
PublicityNext and most essential, create a detailed announcement for the newsletter promoting your tour, preferably two months in advance of the event so people can make time to go. A “best practice” is to advertise your tour in two successive monthly newsletters with a registration form that can be filled out, clipped, and mailed to the tour Producer/Director.
Choosing the RouteWhenever possible, choose a scenic or back road route. It’s less stressful and more pleasant than city traffic and probably won’t take that much longer. Try to do a dry run so there are no surprises; at least check with Caltrans for any adverse road conditions (gravel roads, road surfacing, etc.) and notice any steep climbs or descents where good brakes will be mandatory
Have a Convenient Departure PointPreferably near the freeway or main road you’re taking so it will be easy to find for folks who are unfamiliar with the area. Make detailed maps with step-by-step driving instructions that are easy to read. Include a written outline and time frame of events/activities. Mention any costs, i.e., parking fees, museum admissions, etc. Pass out these agendas (they don’t have to be fancy) at the drivers meeting just before taking off
TouringStagger departure times, i.e., slow group leaves first and fast group later, or group by vehicle age. Other marques and modern iron are welcome, but place them at the end of the line. Ask a volunteer to be a designated sweeper to cover the rear of the entourage for any breakdowns. Allow reasonable time for pit stops and gas/oil replenishment.
Best TipBorrow or buy, but use CB’s or even 2-way walkie-talkies. It is MUCH more fun if everyone can at least hear the conversation carried on within the group and CB’s allow everyone to participate. People enjoy talking back and forth, pointing out landmarks, and they will feel more comfortable in case of emergency. And if anyone gets lost, it is a relief to know the rest of the group can be contacted. Cell phones are great and almost everyone has one these days, but the two-party conversation just doesn’t do the job.
And finally, Have Fun!Once you’ve done all the coordination and hard work, relax and let the tour unfold.
Have more questions or tips of your own? Contact Don Barnes.