Remember that Beatles song that goes "I get by with a little help from my friends..."? How true is that in our everyday life? The value of a truly good friend is something you can't even express in words. I find that traveling with friends can be great fun too, but sometimes you also make friends during a trip. Many of the people that I've met through the years who have made a career of being a travel guide are just friends waiting to meet you!
Speaking of travel guides, let's talk a little bit about guided travel. Long gone are the days when a trip taken with a group guide was regimented and really didn't sound like much fun. Today's guided trips are a far cry from the images of overcrowded bus tours of yesteryear. Here are the top reasons why taking a guided trip makes sense today:
Have you ever been on a tour with a guide who recites nothing but dry facts and then steers you toward his brother's souvenir shop? Not all tour guides are experts, but when you find one that can bring local history, culture, and places to life, it can make for an amazing experience. Our agency can help you find those guides that offer far more insight than most guidebooks.
When you're part of a guided tour, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and frustration planning your trip and can leave the flight bookings, hotel and transportation reservations, and the details of the itinerary up to someone else. All you have to do is pack, remember to bring your vital travel documents, and get to the airport (ship, etc.) on time.
With the convenience of letting others sweat the details, you still have an incredible variety of choices as to which guided trip to take. Tour operators can transport you almost anywhere in the world at a wide range of prices and levels of physical exertion and cultural immersion. In fact, because of the difficulty of reaching some remote destinations and engaging in some hard-to-arrange activities, you may well have more choice than when going it alone.
These days, many guided tours include visits to schools or to family homes in other countries, where you can meet and talk with locals beyond the usual traveler interactions with hotel personnel, restaurant servers, and other travelers. Well-run tours know how to scope out the out-of-the-way local inns or bistros that guidebooks may miss. You may well find yourself having a more authentic local experience than when traveling on your own.
If you’re a solo traveler or even traveling with a spouse or friend, it’s always fun to find other travelers who have mutual interests, and on a guided tour that is likely to be the case.
A good tour will hit the top highlights of a region that you might not be familiar with. Rather than wandering around aimlessly trying to get your bearings, arranging complicated transportation, or waiting in long lines for tickets, a well-organized guided trip will get you to the best sites on time.
Want to bike through France or the western U.S.? A guided bike trip will provide van support to carry your gear or help change a tire. Did your luggage miss the flight, or did you sprain your ankle in a foreign country? Your trip leader and guides can help you get the assistance you need.
Not even the best guided tour can guarantee total safety on a trip, but chances are that when traveling with a group, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding scam artists or thieves who prey on lone travelers. Trained guides can also help you navigate a mountain trail or safely cross a glacier that might otherwise be dangerous.
Not sure you want to drive on the opposite side of the road, or tackle unfamiliar roundabouts where cars may be coming from all directions? Concerned that an unfamiliar GPS system might lead you up a mountain road of no return in some far-flung location? On a guided tour, you can settle back and let someone else do the driving.
If you are afraid that guided trips will cost more than going on your own, consider the fact that tour operators can arrange group discounts on flights, lodging, meals, and admissions to various attractions. When you add up all your expenses, you just might find that a guided trip saves you money and provides the best value, regardless of the level of luxury you choose.
Escorted travel is much more than just a vacation. Traveling on an escorted trip will allow you to culturally experience the sights and sounds of every area you visit. As you continue to immerse yourself with the locals, you will slowly drift away from reality and feel like one of their own. Traveling with a group offers safety, comfort, and often lifelong friendships with like-minded people that want to experience the world together. There are those that can say they've been to a destination, and then there are those that can say they've experienced it!