Travellers, especially new ones starting out on their first adventure, may be torn between the two ways of travelling - guided tours or going it alone with independent travel. While independent travel has its own advantages, it can be one of the more difficult and ineffectual ways to travel. It is nice to have the freedom to do anything in a region, but that freedom comes with its own concerns, while guided travel provides a safe and practical manner to see the world. For those who still need more convincing reasons however, here are 10 good ones...
1. It's Time Efficient
Not everyone has the time to devote to independent travel to experience a region in full. Travellers who are especially neglectful to proper planning for independent travel will suffer the time constraints most of all. With guided travel, everything is planned out. You know when you have free time to explore and when you need to be somewhere to fit everything in.
2. You Meet New People
The biggest advantage of guided travel is the people you will meet. Some travel companies have large guided groups, but travel companies like Trafalgar offer more compact groups and even offer flexibility for singles travelling alone. Guided travel is best done in a compact group where travellers will get to know new people and likely remember them for the rest of their lives.
3. There's Significantly Less Planning Involved
Independent travel takes planning and a lot of it - if travellers want things to go right. It can be a stressful affair even in the best of times. For those that want to skip the hassle and the stress, guided travel removes it. Everything is planned out for you to make use of the desired period of time. With guided travel groups, travellers only need to decide where they want to go and for how long - the tour company handles the rest.
4. It's Safer
Going abroad can be dangerous, especially if travellers want to visit places that are marred by the occasional political conflict. Guided travel assures the safety of their group above all. Groups are less likely to be robbed or attacked and guides know the laws and the dangerous spots in a region, assuring that visitors avoid them. Guided travel provides the outlet to see this incredible world of ours without feeling afraid.
5. You See the Best of an Area
Often due to lack of time, money or knowledge, visitors miss out on the best that a country has to offer. Guided travel allows for visitors to see a country at its best to get to know their unique culture and history. However, just because you are shown all the prominent sights in an area doesn't mean you have to miss out on the hidden gems. Trafalgar, for example, has conquered a niche market on travel by launching their newest experience - the Hidden Journeys package. This new package takes visitors to some of the lesser known gems hidden around regions that travellers may have already visited.
6. Some Places are Just Built for It
Some places are extremely difficult to visit without the option of guided travel. Antarctica is only accessible if you are a researcher or in a guided group. In Africa, a safari can only be done in a guided tour. These places are locked out to the independent traveller unless they're intend on breaking laws or putting themselves in danger. Guided travel provides the outlet to explore the locked-off places of our world.
7. You Don't Need to Know The Language
Most people put off travelling abroad because they don't know the language. English and hand gestures can get independent travellers so far, but at some point, they are going to at least have to have some basic grasp of the local language. Guides can provide tips and details about basic customs that relieve the stress of not being able to communicate.
8. Superior Comfort
Independent travel is not easy, especially if travellers are running on a strict budget. Travellers will end up in some pretty shady, dirty places just to save a few dollars. While this is an experience in and of itself, guided travel makes sure you stay in safe, clean and comfortable places - all of which included in the package price. There are no dirty, crowded hostels on guided tours - leave those for the young, poor backpackers that want the experience!
9. You Avoid Cultural Faux Pas
Similar to the stress over not knowing the local language, a general worry for travellers is committing a horrible cultural blunder. Different gestures, manners of dress and words mean different things in different places. Committing a cultural faux pas can cut travellers out from an experience in a country and can occasionally be downright dangerous. Tour guides are well educated on local customs and will be sure to let their flock know what to do and what not to do before letting them loose on the destination.
10. It's More Affordable
Independent travel can be cheap, but travellers will sacrifice a lot for it. Those who want to travel by themselves and with a reasonable level of quality will pay steeply for it. Alternatively, guided travel groups often negotiate prices in different places to keep costs down, making it more affordable as a whole for their clients.
Have you travelled on a guided holiday?
What made you decide to choose comfort over DIY?
Let us know - comment below!