5 Reasons a Former Tour Guide Splurges on Tours When She Travels

This travel pro recommends taking a tour on your next trip.

Throughout my years traveling, when it comes to exploring an area, I have often tried to do things as the locals do or figure out how to do everything myself. I’ve visited some of the most breathtaking sights around the world that are totally free. But, after some hardships and stress, I slowly realized that it doesn’t always need to be this way. I’ve found that organized tours are actually worth the splurge in many cases.

This isn’t to say that it isn’t rewarding to figure out all your own transportation, points of interest and travel itineraries yourself. It just means that sometimes it will save you a whole lot of time, energy and money if you simply take a tour instead. This is why I’ve started taking them more often.

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Everything Is Organized for You

Organized tours can be anything from a volcano day tour in Chile, wine tasting in Tuscany, a day trip to see a glacier in Patagonia or sailing venture in Croatia (this specific one used to be my job as a tour guide, in fact). The idea is that whatever it is you’re aiming to do, it’s organized for you, taking the stress of planning off of your shoulders. All you have to do is be at the pickup point at the specified time — that’s literally it. Then, you’re whisked away to experience whichever culture, food or adventure you signed up for. Meals are often provided, too, or, at the very least, you’ll be given free time and recommendations for food.

The amazing thing about tours is that the guides’ entire job is to look out for you and be responsible for you — to make sure you get places on time, that you know where you’re going and that the day’s plan is carried out seamlessly. These are all the things that could potentially stress you out if you tried to do the activity yourself.

Sometimes tours are the only way to see certain places, too. This is a major reason I splurge on tours.

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You Get Historical Information and Local Perspective You Wouldn’t Get on Your Own

On organized tours, you can guarantee that your tour guide will be giving you information about the destination along the way. This is another reason I splurge on tours. I won’t have to study up on all the history, safety info, city layouts or things to do when I know that I’ll have a local/specialist right there to whom I can ask my questions. Sure, this sometimes makes me lazier, but it also saves me loads of time and puts me at ease.

You Go Places You Wouldn’t Have Gone Before or Found on Your Own

Organized tours will often make small stops at amazing points of interest you might have never even heard of. This happens on both day tours and longer tours. As a former tour guide, I can attest that the people who set these itineraries plan them out specifically to squeeze in every last drop of the area for people who might never return.

Going to lesser-known places on tours is also helpful because you might not have been able to even get there on your own via public transport.

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On Longer Tours, Your Entire Itinerary Is Set — Leaving You Stress-Free

On longer tours ranging anywhere from three to 45 days (yes, tours that long exist), you don’t even have to think about your itinerary or how to get place to place. All you need to ever do is be at the bus when your guide tells you. If you pick a trustworthy company, you can be sure that they will include the most popular places to visit and an itinerary you’re happy with — no figuring out buses, trains or planes on your part.

They Can Be Extremely Easy to Book

To book most organized tours, I use Get Your Guide (GYG). GYG is an online wealth of information with tours in nearly every big city in the world that are filterable by time and type. When I arrive in a city, I usually browse it on GYG to see what the most popular things are for people to do there.

GYG even performs secret shopper experiments to make sure the best tours are listed, has reviews only by people who have done the tour and also has the ability to compare prices of similar popular tours in a city. One of the cooler things is that you can also book “skip-the-line” tickets to really popular attractions, too.

Another site worth noting is Tour Radar. Tour Radar is popular to review and book longer tours (seven or more days) specifically.

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