Tour operators occupy a vital role in the travel industry and allow travelers to let someone else get on with the business of organizing accommodations, meals, sightseeing and transportation, while they get on with the pleasure of traveling. Travel packages allow for a customized travel experience based on budget or preferences and NTA helps connect travelers with the best tour operators in the industry.
To find a tour operator who suits your destination and needs, use our “Find a Tour Operator” application. Here, you can find NTA tour operators to arrange packaged travel for individuals or groups.
Why Look For the NTA Logo?
Travelers want to enjoy the camaraderie of travel, to enjoy meals and accommodations that meet their needs and expectations. They want to go home with fond memories and the satisfaction of knowing that all of this was achieved at a reasonable cost. That’s value.
NTA tour operators succeed because repeat customers have come to trust their commitment to value. NTA members provide value through buying power, ease of planning and high-quality, professional services.
Security and safety are not just travelers’ top priorities — they’re our members’ top priorities too.
We know this because not just anyone can achieve NTA membership. Members businesses must have a senior management employee with at least three years of experience in the packaged travel industry and must maintain a current certificate of insurance with NTA that demonstrates at least $1 million USD in general liability insurance.
NTA members are subject to a peer review process where the entire membership is notified of their intent to join. The Board of Directors votes on their acceptance.
Today’s active lifestyles demand that convenience is no longer a bonus service; for many people, it’s a necessity.
Whether you’re embarking on a one-day jaunt or a cross-country odyssey, traveling with an NTA tour operator makes the journey easier. NTA members’ commitment to value and quality takes care of every detail. They arrange accommodations, plan meals, chart routes, provide transportation, take care of tipping and baggage handling, offer knowledgeable guides and select interesting stops.
All travelers need to do is turn up on time — what could be more convenient?
The world’s your oyster: When it comes to travel, there are thousands of exciting destinations and attractions awaiting discovery. The selection is mind-boggling and only limited by the knowledge of what exists.
NTA members can open travelers’ minds to what is possible. In order to provide experiences that last a lifetime to their customers, NTA operators constantly search for different destinations, unique experiences and new ways to fulfill travel dreams.
Below are links to some helpful resources that may assist you in your travel planning. Remember to always check to see if your travel agent or tour company is a member of a professional association such as NTA.
Traveling outside of the U.S.?
As of June 1, 2009, the U.S. government requires most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Make sure you are ready. To learn more, go here.
Tips for Student Travel
The following is a list of tips for students and parents when traveling abroad.
- Verify that the travel agent or tour company is a member of a professional association such as the National Tour Association, the United States Tour Operators Association or the Student & Youth Travel Association.
- Parents should ask the company for references, find out the adult chaperone to student ratio and how long the company has been operating in the destinations it features.
- Verify that the tour company has coverage.
- Make sure the company has errors and omissions, professional liability insurance coverage. Professional tour companies should have this coverage.
- Make sure your student has insurance that will cover emergency medical needs.
- Check for travel warnings and public announcements before you go. Visit travel.state.gov for information.
- Remember to fill in the emergency information page of your passport and make copies of your passport data page and any visas. Keep a copy separate from the originals while traveling, and leave one at home with your family.
- Leave an itinerary with someone at home, and make sure that someone knows where you are at all times.
- Carry your hotel information, including name and address, with you. You also should include a phone number to reach your tour company in case of emergencies.
- Avoid looking like a tourist. Try to blend in with your surroundings and never go off on your own.
Tips for Avoiding Travel Scams
NTA urges travelers to use this list when making spring break or vacation plans:
- Verify that the travel agent or tour company is a member of a professional association such as the National Tour Association, the United States Tour Operators Association or the American Society of Travel Agents.
- Verify that the tour company has errors and omissions, professional liability insurance coverage. Professional tour companies should have this coverage.
- Don’t be taken in by an attractive website. An eye-catching website does not ensure the reliability or integrity of the company.
- Carefully read the company’s cancellation and refund policies.
- Use a credit card to purchase tickets whenever possible, and if cash must be used, always get a receipt so you have a paper trail. Beware of companies sending a courier for a check, requesting direct bank deposits or a certified check. Prior to payment, you should ask for all the details on any trip in writing and review them carefully.
- Ask the company for client references. Attempt to get a reference on a client or group with whom you are familiar.
- Avoid high-pressure sales with a limited time to evaluate the offer.
- Decline offers requiring a property sales presentation.
- Request specific hotel and airline names, addresses and phone numbers — broad terms such as “all major hotels” and “all major airlines” are warning flags. Insist on a local phone number if given an 800 number — this will establish that the tour company or travel agency has a central office from which it operates.
- If you receive a vacation certificate in the mail, take it to a local NTA tour operator who can evaluate it.
Consumer Travel Insurance
Travel insurance remains one of the most important considerations for anyone preparing a trip. It is impossible to overstate the importance of being properly insured for any trip, home or abroad.
In addition to offering you a tour that will meet your every desire, many NTA members also offer insurance programs for consumers that you won’t find anywhere else. Safety and security is their priority — it should be yours too.
Travel Protection Plans
Many NTA tour operators can provide customized travel insurance products, offering travelers the peace of mind — about cancelation, illness or injury — they need. The variety of comprehensive insurance products is yet another way that NTA tour operators stand head and shoulders above the competition.
NTA Trip Planner
NTA’s Trip Planner publications are designed to introduce specific types of travel buyers, such as group leaders and student travel planners, to NTA members. They help educate buyers about the diverse products offered by the association’s tour operator, tour supplier and DMO members.
The Student Planner edition is published each February and the Group Leader planner is published annually in August.
You can view our current Trip Planner series here.
FTA Routes of Faith
Routes of Faith is the quarterly publication of Faith Travel Association, blending articles that educate as well as share the many destinations offered by FTA members. It works to bridge the gap between our tour operators, suppliers, agents and DMOs with faith leaders around the world. By offering stories that inspire leaders of all faiths to promote travel as a tool for spiritual growth, we help churches enjoy greater cultural awareness and growth. Routes of Faith also provides articles that educate readers to new and innovative ways to travel, including eco-friendly and sustainable trends.
You can view the latest issue of Routes of Faith here.
- NTA has provided us the research and atmosphere to brainstorm new ways of doing things and fresh additions to trips, which has led to successful business development. Rachel Ranck, WorldStrides, NTA member since 1985
- What NTA does is provide the right buyers. They provide the right people who make decisions. This is what makes this organization one I can’t afford to take off my list. John Stachnik CTP, Mayflower Tours, NTA member since 1979
- I came to NTA to build a business, and that’s exactly what it did for us, as sales came in. For me, it’s the only outlet for new ideas. Matthew Squire, Select Travel Service (UK), NTA member since 2002
- NTA membership and our attendance at the convention have provided us with more clients, more business relationships and more ideas. We are proud to belong to NTA. Daniele Panzarin, Target Travel (Italy), NTA member since 2007
- The No. 1 member benefit of NTA has to be all the great professional and personal connections we’ve made over the past decade. Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP, Wolfe Adventures & Tours, NTA member since 2005
- We have not found a more reliable, more profitable or more consistent tourism venue in which to acquire new business than NTA. Diane Hohnstein, Hospitality Management Services, NTA member since 1999
- I believe attending the NTA conferences allow me to create valuable relationships and work together with U.S. operators in creating great Scotland product. Maggie Anderson, VisitScotland, NTA member since 2003
- NTA events provide us with beneficial networking with many top tour operators. It’s national and international in scope providing a global perspective. Tim and Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures, NTA member since 2015