Our Flightie and Tour Expert Amanda Bennett has been on over 50 tours as a tour guide and as a passenger. Here she shares her travel tips, why you should book a tour, and the time she and her tour group trekked up a mountain in a Guatemala jungle before sunrise to spot jaguars:
1. How many times have you been on an organized tour?
2. How many countries have you visited (total) while on an organized tour?
I’ve been to 56 countries total. While on tour, I’ve been to about 35 countries.
3. What makes travelling on a tour better than doing it on your own?
The local insight, the lack of hassle, the people on tour. You get to meet people from around the world and explore new parts of the world. You get to immerse yourself in the country and really focus on the destination rather than focusing on the logistics of travelling on your own.
4. What is the most common misconception about organized tours?
5. What surprised you the most about touring?
How much you get to see and do. You get to experience things that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were on your own.
6. What’s your favourite tour company and why?
I worked for Busabout and I love their concept for touring around Europe. As a passenger, I travel a lot with Intrepid. Their group sizes are small, the guides are knowledgeable, and I’ve always had an amazing time.
7. What are your top 3 tips for a client about to experience their first guided tour?
1) Be open-minded about everything; from the food you eat to the people you meet.
2) Don’t fall asleep on the coach if you can. Depending on the country there is usually so much to see. Driving through Albania was such a weird and exciting experience.
3) Enjoy the experience.
8. What’s your favourite travel memory from a tour you’ve taken?
I have countless memories from all my tours. My most recent favourite memory was on one tour, as a group we got up before dawn in Tikal, Guatemala and trekked into the jungle to a lookout hoping to see a jaguar at the watering hole. We didn’t actually end up seeing any big jungle animals but being up on the viewing platform in the middle of the jungle when all the animals were waking up was unreal and very cool.
9. What made you fall in love with touring?
Getting to experience new destinations with a group of people who have the same travel mentality as you do.