Thinking about travelling on a guided tour or already have one booked? Our Tour Expert Ashley Whitehead shares why opting for a tour is better than travelling on your own, and her top tips to make the most of your next tour experience.
Some people ask me why travelling on a tour is better than doing it on your own, and my answer is simply that it takes the hassle out of travelling; all the details are taken care of for you. You also get a better rate buying everything together (transportation, accommodation, meals, entry to activities and sightseeing) which means that you are getting better value for your money.
The most common misconception about organized tours is that you are herded around and don’t have any time to yourself. But in fact, many tour companies today offer ample free time, some of the best transportation options, and the freedom to experience a destination they way you prefer to travel.
If you are on a small bus or coach, the views can be quite fantastic; you get to admire the scenery while the tour takes you from one amazing spot to the next. It gives you lots of time to reflect, write, or get to know your fellow passengers who come from all different parts of the world.
I like different tour companies for different reasons. G Adventures is my favourite small group tour company, because their tours average about 12 people and they employ local guides. They give you the best close up look to the different countries and cultures you are visiting.
I also like Globus and Insight Vacations because they offer high end tours and coaches with less seats (giving your more room on board). They both have high end, very centrally located hotels which makes it convenient to get around when you have free time.
I think Cosmos provides one of the best values of all the tour companies, they are a little more basic than some of the others, but you get a great price. Contiki Holidays is also an incredible tour company that keeps things fun for the younger crowd (ages 18-35).
3 tips to make the most of your tour
1) Go with the flow
Enjoy the incredible itinerary the tour company offers, and don’t think too much about planning and details, let an expert take care of you!
2) Tap in to the knowledge of your tour guide
When you have time at leisure and don’t have a plan for what to do, ask your tour guide. They have been to all of the spots you are visiting and know the best place to buy food, souvenirs, or capture photos.
3) Book pre-nights accommodation
Book extra nights with the tour company before your tour so that you can get oriented before things get started. This is also a great tip for anyone that experiences jet lag, as a day in advance of the tour will have you feeling refreshed for the start of your trip. Also this allows you to really experience the city you are departing from, in case the tour just departs from there.
I like to plan my own travel and sometimes it is a lot of work, which is why I fell in love with touring when I realized you could find an itinerary that fits your needs, book it, and let someone else do all the work. You don’t need to worry about small details, or how to get from one place to another. You just need to enjoy the ride!