Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tours – Why I Love Them

by | Last updated Mar 3, 2024 | City Guides, Live Work Play Travel, Transport / Travelling

We’ve all seen them. Those bright coloured, open top buses with loud talking coming from them with people sitting atop them snapping away with their camera! I always thought ‘how embarrassing’ and ‘you won’t catch me on one of those’. But you know what, after being convinced to go on one, I now swear by them. They are the first thing I usually do when I arrive in a new city. So here is why I love Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours and why you should embrace them in your travels too!

In this post I’m listing the pros and cons of hop on hop off buses as you will get a better insight into why I love hop on hop off bus tours.


What is a Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour?


Hop On Hop Off Bus – HoHo, or Jump On Jump Off Bus – JoJo are bus tours that have been around for a while. They are basically buses that have their roof taken off so you can sit in the open air seats on the top level and get a birdseye view of your surroundings. The tours, if done in one go can last a couple of hours, but your ticket allows you to hop on and off at designated spots, usually within a 24 hour period. These buses are found in major cities like Sydney, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona, Toronto and New York City to name a few.  And they are a tourist bus that takes you to all the highlights of that city.


Pros and Cons of Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours


There seems to be pros and cons to everything when you travel, and in life. Here are what I think are the pros and cons of riding aboard hop on hop off bus tours.


The Pros of Hop On Hop Off Bus Trips – Reasons Why I love them!


Take Me to All the Sights


That’s right. The biggest pro of a hop on hop off bus tour is it takes you to all the top sights of a particular town or city. All the major tourist spots are on the list of visits of the Hop On Hop Off bus. The buses have set routes so I can either sit back and enjoy the whole trip, or get off at one of the stops to explore.


TIP! For your first trip in a new city I suggest you go around the entire route first. While sitting back, relaxing  take a mental note of things you would like to come back to. Then on the next trip round, you can begin hopping on and off at the sites you want to see before hopping back on again to the next stop.


Short Time Visits


If you have limited time in a city, hop on hop off bus tours help you make the most of your time. Doing a complete round usually takes a couple of hours. So if you only have a day, or less in a city, these are great. However, even if staying longer, going on a hop on hop off tour will show you the places you can go back to if you have the time. 


Available in Most Major Cities


Yep. Most big cities have a hop on hop off bus. From Sydney to London to New York and Singapore, many cities have a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Plus, some even have a hop-on hop-off river cruise! Check out my map following.


More than Just transport


You can discover the city you are in by local transport however, you will need to firstly do your research so you know how to buy a ticket, what lines to travel on and which train stations or bus stops to get off at. When going on a hop on hop off bus you don’t have to worry about these things as the bus takes you to all the famous sights. I don’t have to do any planning or thinking – it’s done for me! I just have to sit back and relax and enjoy the sights.


Don’t Have to Worry About Learning How to Drive in a Foreign Place


When going on the hop on hop off bus you don’t need to learn how to drive in a foreign place. Also, I don’t need to learn specific rules, worry about getting fuel, finding a parking spot or research a route to follow if I have rented a car. And I don’t get lost while trying to find a place, particularly when travelling solo and I don’t have a navigator.


Time Saver


Most bus routes only take a couple of hours to complete if done in the one go making this option much faster than when renting a car. As mentioned previously, when you rent a car you need to consider road rules, getting fuel, find parking and research where you will be driving to. Taking the hop on hop off bus is a time saver as it has done everything for me.




Tickets to ride the hop on hop off buses are available for 24 hours. In some cases it can be 48 or even 72 hours. During this time I can hop on and hop off as many times as I like within that time. This definitely is very affordable as my transport costs are covered for the whole time. A budget conscious traveller, this is definitely on of the biggest pros of going on a hop on and off bus tour.


Discounts to Attractions


There are often deals associated with your hop-on hop-off ticket or the ticket may be part of a deal. For instance, the Dublin Pass not only includes entrance fees to some 31 attractions, but also a ticket on the hop-on hop-off Dublin sightseeing bus. If you want to get the most out of your city tour, research which tour operators are offering deals to the attractions.


Fun Facts!


Along with the bus ride comes a commentary. Sometimes a recorded commentary while other times a person providing facts and figures, historical backgrounds and quirky trivia about the places you are visiting. You can learn lots of fun facts going on a hop-on hop-off tour bus. Facts you may only learn by doing a lot of research.


Avoid Getting Lost / Wasting Time


Getting lost can be a fun part of travel, however, if you don’t have the time getting lost can be a waste of time. This is why I love the hop-on hop-off bus because it doesn’t waste my time. I often get my bearings of the city by going on the bus. It has proved useful on many occasions.


The Cons of Hop On Hop Off Bus Trips


There are some cons to riding aboard a hop on hop off bus tour.

  • The bus may not visit all the tourist destinations you want to visit.
  • You will have to time your trip around bus arrival and departure times at each stop.
  • It might be busy and you might struggle to get a seat and need to wait for the next bus.
  • The weather may not be the best to sit up top.
  • Unsavoury types may see you get on and get off the bus and may think of you as a tourist to rob – so be security conscious.


TIP! Dress for the weather. Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses when it is warm and sunny. Take an umbrella or rain coat and a warm jacket for colder weather. It can also get a little windy up top – so hold onto your hats!


Some of the Best Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tours


Here are some of the best hop on hop off city sightseeing bus tours. Click on the city to purchase your ticket to ride! Know of a city not on the list? Drop me a line so I can add it.


Are You Ready to Start Loving Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tours Now?


When you are planning your next visit to a city, consider the advantages of a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. They can be a great way to discover a city. So do you love hop on hop off big bus tours as much as I do? I’d love to hear in the comments following.


People sitting in open top bus on hop on hop off bus tour.

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Sharyn McCullum Travel Writer and Founder Of Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad, Work Online, Travel Blog Enjoying At Beer At The Coldstream Brewery In The Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to live work play travel around the world with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.


  1. Danielle

    Not a huge fan of these in every destination but they’re a good way of getting your bearings in a really large city like London. That advice to ride the full route first is not to be glossed over!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Hop on Hop Off bus tours don’t suit everyone, but you gotta try to know whether your a fan or not.

  2. kmf

    These are all the same reasons why I love taking the hop-on, hop-off bus tours. And agree to ride the entire route on your first day. I’m directionally challenged so it helps me get acclimated and is also helpful for planning what I want to see and do.

  3. Annie

    Yes! I think Hop On Hop Off tours tend to be overlooked. This article is a good reminder for me to try one out next time I’m in one of those cities!

  4. Hege

    Me too! I absolutely love taking the hop on hop off buses in new destinations, even if I am staying for a while, as I get the overview of the whole area and can pinpoint where I want to explore more! 🙂

  5. Yasser Moosa

    Hi 🙂 I just checked out your article on hop-on hop-off city sightseeing bus tours on LiveWorkPlayTravel, and it’s such a great read! You’ve captured the convenience and fun of these tours perfectly, making it easy for any traveler to see the appeal. Your tips on how to make the most of these tours are super helpful, especially for those of us who love to explore a city’s highlights with flexibility and ease. Thanks for this comprehensive and engaging guide – it’s definitely going to be a go-to resource for my future city adventures!


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