Guided travel seems like the ultimate solution for every type of traveller, with its expert guides, exclusive local experiences and customizable itineraries. Yet, there are still some who fail to see its full potential.
We busted some of the most popular myths around this vastly underrated travel style, in the hopes of setting the record straight.
Myth 1: The schedules are strict
One of the biggest misconceptions is that guided tours are on a tight timeline, leaving little room to deviate in-destination.
In fact, tour managers are often all too happy to give guests free time to pursue their personal interests between the scheduled group activities.
Tip: The best operators stay in centrally located hotels, which makes it easier to squeeze some solo exploration into your schedule.
Myth 2: You don’t get to meet the locals
Anyone who thinks guided travel is all stuffy statues and tourist traps hasn’t been paying attention. Today’s tour companies work to build unique relationships in the communities they visit. This means guests not only meet locals at every stop—they’re also seeing and doing some pretty special things, such as touring a town with a born-and-bred guide, eating lunch in a family’s home in Morocco, or a visiting a real-life countess at her family’s Sicilian palace.
Myth 3: It’s cheaper to DIY
While booking a trip piece by piece might seem more wallet-friendly than paying for a pre-arranged tour upfront, there’s more value to be had with a guided travel company.
Operators negotiate special deals with their hotel and restaurant partners and handle annoying little details such as airport transfers and tipping on behalf of guests. They also send travel experts around the world to test the beds, taste the food, and secure special VIP experiences ahead of time—all so your trip is worry-free.
Tip: Exceptional operators aren't afraid to post their guest reviews right on the trip itinerary webpage. These reviews are by real travellers who have been on the exact trip you're considering. Read them because they're chock-full of practical advice.
Myth 4: Foodies need not apply
If thoughts of bland, culinary crowd pleasers turns your stomach, take comfort in the fact that food and drink enjoys its own spotlight on many tour itineraries. From sampling the wares of a limoncello factory on the Amalfi Coast to trying an ancient Icelandic delicacy, “hákarl,” traditional and cutting edge cuisine is often featured within the comfort of a local family’s home, as part of a live performance, or at the feet of some spectacular scenery.
Myth 5: You’ll be forced to “make friends”
For lone wolves who imagine group travel as a hobnobbing horror show, it might be a relief to know that like many things, guided tours are what you make them. While it’s true you may share a coach and the occasional meal, most guests have their own friends and family to keep them company, meaning friendships are optional—although they certainly never hurt—and as mentioned above, there’s usually plenty of opportunities for “me time.”
Myth 6: It’s all the same old, same old
Despite popular belief, guided travel is not a one-size-fits-all operation. In addition to creating many itineraries for different interests, many companies also offer customizable options for well-heeled guests, such as personalized pre- and post-tour stays, specialty excursions and service upgrades. They also provide VIP experiences rarely available to typical travellers, such as a private gourmet dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or a brisk walk across Iceland’s lava fields.
Have you ever been on a guided trip?
What myths or preconceptions
did you encounter that were totally wrong?
This article was brought to you by our friends at Collette.
To learn more about guided touring with Collette, visit collette.com
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