Travelers want to experience the destination. They want to tap the culture, see the world through a local’s eyes, and live like a member of the host community. And if they don’t, they should. However, it can be difficult to live like a local on vacation and this is especially the case with international travel. There’s too much to take in. That being said, travelers who take on the independence approach, and think third party itineraries and guided tours rob them of the indigenous experience and are some cliché activity our grandparents do, are simply wrong. Steering from the unbeaten path completely is not necessarily the best route to discovering how to discover more about yourself and the world. This doesn’t mean the whole vacation should be guided or booked through a 28 day excursion company, but taking a guided tour or two and or a 2 day or so excursion, can help you learn the lay of the land, gain some local knowledge and learn some history about the destination. It’s a great starting point for any trip, and sometimes a necessary type of travel because of the nature of the journey. Take some of these considerations:
Time and Travel Remorse
Let’s face it. Time is more than money with travel. Vacation is short lived, and you have to experience and get as much out of one trip as possible, before returning home. Tours and excursions are a great way to experience a rich list of activities in a short period of time and help avoid travel remorse.
Have you really read the entire Lonely Planet before visiting a destination? How do you know where things are? What is there to do in a certain area? How do you get around? Guided tours, whatever style they come in, are a great way to learn the lay of the land and freshen up on what’s really going on in the area. Even if you’re going to be in London for four weeks, taking a bus tour the first day or two is a great way to learn and acquaint yourself with the city.
Tour operates are usually really cool people. Aside from what’s already included in your tour, they can share some of their favorite places to go and give some insider suggestions so you can travel like a local. Not to mention the other participants. There may be someone to grab drinks with later on the bus or boat. Engaging can be easier said than done, when you aren’t properly introduced to a location or a member of a community with similar interests.
Are you comfortable boarding a Land Rover and trekking through the Saharan? If its something that interests you, you’re going to need a tour or excursion company and the primary reason is your safety. Adventure travel is one of the coolest things someone can do, but depending on how adventurous the trip is, there can be some drastic logistics to consider. For example, travelers in Egypt are still advised to not leave Cairo without escorts or tour companies because of threats of kidnapping and sporadic protests that quickly turn violent. So whether your hiking around with bobcats, exploring volatile third world countries, or mountaineering in Alaska, a tour company can assist in assuring your security and safety.
Hassle Free Guarantee
‘Hassle free guarantee,’ that sounds nice doesn’t it? Everyone loves knowing the details have been taken care of. When you book a tour, the feeling is just that. Say you choose to do the Marietas Islands the next time you visit Puerto Vallarta, for example. The daylong excursion –with most companies– includes, breakfast and lunch on your way out to the islands, a handful of sea activities like SUP-ing, equipment and gear, and experienced operators who have trained for the worst and the best!
Make Your Pick
Depending on the location and what it is that you want to do, will affect which company you choose. Grayline is always a fantastic choice for city tours and day excursions. Options with them range from a guided bus tour, to zip ling through the Amazon jungle. If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom we would recommend looking into CIE Tours as this is there niche market. If backpacking in Costa Rica for 28 days or sea kayaking up the South American coast line is more your forte, then check out G Adventures. Other great operators to consider for just about anything are Globus and Cosmos.
Thanks for reading! Happy Travels!