Over the past twenty-two years(?!) I’ve been venturing throughout the world, I’ve traveled using different means. Sometimes I’ve gone on my own and wandered around a city aimlessly, letting the natural course of life take me to wherever I am meant to be. Sometimes I travel with companions and use the suggestions hostels or hotels give to find what are the most worthy attractions to view. Other times I’ve done tour guided trips, where everything is planned and all I have to do is show up with whatever I think I’ll need for the day. There are so many reasons why tour guided travels are the best idea, and yet as I’ve learned the traveling trade, there are reasons why solo traveling may sometimes be the best idea.
Here are the pros & cons of using the tour guided travels.
THE PRO’S OF TOUR GUIDED TRAVEL
Seeing the highlights
You know you’ll see everything. You won’t miss a single Instagram-worthy sight that’ll make all your friends jealous. When I’ve used the tour guided travel to Amsterdam, the tour guide Otto made sure that we saw everything and more. He planned the entire walking tour so that we would see the Anne Frank House and the Red Light District. The tour even provided a day in a small Holland town where we watched cheese being made and tried on our own pair of wooden shoes.
Skip the Lines
This was a surprise bonus on all the tours I’ve used. At more than a few stops that required tickets our wonderful tour director already had them purchased and we were able to bypass the typical lines and enter through an entrance specifically for groups. We also had our own special expert guides at the larger attractions, which was perfect when exploring Blarney Castle because my family certainly did not know any historical facts.
I’ve written posts before (see: Packing the Essentials) but this was a huge bonus. I never had to worry about my suitecase being carried by me into any place. It stayed safely on the bus or in the hotel. I don’t know if you’ve ever dragged a suitecase or carried a backpack through museums but it can be a huge pain, especially if it has to be searched before entering a museum.
Some meals can be included in the overal price, which is amazing. When you do payments you sometimes forget that the overall payments will include food so when you stop somewhere to eat and the tour guide reminds you that you’ve already paid it’s amazing. Most of the resturaunts the tour guide will take you to will also be local cuisines that’ll treat you to authentic food.
THE CON’S OF TOUR GUIDED TRAVEL
Tight Schedules & Early Mornings
When I mean tight & early I mean it. There’s so much packed into the trip that it is almost impossible to sleep past 7am most days. You’ll be lucky if you can sleep till 8am, maybe even 9am if you beg enough. In some situations you can easily be up for 12+ hours a day travelling and looking at sights.
Some Excursions Cost More
A lot was covered in what I paid for but the options that were offered additionally ended up being a cost I hadn’t anticipated. In a way, this could be a pro and con because I hadn’t known of all the options but I also hadn’t planned on spending money on additional sights. Keep in mind that the price of each excursion and what your budget is so you know what to expect.
A bus from London to Amsterdam was eight hours and then the bus time from Amsterdam to Bruges was four hours. I had known these times before the trip but that didn’t make the travel any easier. It was absolutely not my favorite part (but could be yours, to each their own). Make sure to download Ed Sheeran’s new album and purcahse some new books (see: 9 Must-Read Novels) for the long journey ahead.
Too Much Too Fast
I’ve loved all the trips I’ve been part of but I was so overwhelmed. When I look back through my photos sometimes I can’t believe how much I did in such a short amount of time. I remember being so tired during the trip and never really taking in the history and sights of the cities. If you’re interested in a more relaxing vacation this may not being the way you want to go abour your holiday.
Share your thoughts if you have used a tour!