by Yuriy Horokh
I adore travelling. Whenever possible, I hire a guide or join a tour group.
When visiting an unfamiliar city or country, one way to minimise stress in the planning process is to purchase a guided tour and leave the itinerary to people who know the region inside and out.
Guided tours are a great opportunity for people who are short of time — or patience — to have the main tourist attractions mapped out for them and explained in detail. A guided tour offers the chance to see the region you are visiting as a local might see it — yet without the hours of scrutinising about which landmarks to visit and how to navigate public transport.
Large cities or landmarks can become intimidating to travellers who are unfamiliar with the local street patterns or public transportation. By purchasing a guided tour or joining a tour group, there is an added element of safety when you are in the company of a native person who knows which spots to visit and which should be avoided.
In large venues, such as capital cities, it would take many weeks to visit the many fascinating and historic sites, and people appreciate having a guide to structure their visit, selecting places based on their available time and interests, and to provide an efficient, comprehensive, and meaningful experience. Guides can answer questions of all sorts. In short, they make the tour come alive.
Independent travellers often rely on destination guides to navigate while visiting a foreign destination. Some people might not have the time to read through lengthy destination guides, and may just want to follow and listen to the history of a particular museum or artefact.
Sure, guides offer facts and statistics that might be available in guidebooks, but they offer so much more. They tell stories of events and persons associated with each site, provide historic context, interpret the design, architecture and iconography — and many throw in trivia or humour.
While guided tours may cost a bit more, the price tag can be worth it when travellers take the time to research and find the best deal for their travel needs. There are many large guided tour companies throughout the world that offer itineraries for each stage of life — from younger people looking to meet singles, to families traveling with young children.
- Do you like planning your own tour or go on a guided tour?
- Do you always plan your vacations?
- Who do you travel with?
- Do you prefer staying in the city? Going to the countryside? Which is more to your liking?
- How often do you travel?
- What is your favourite transport?
- Which is better for you – a trained guide from a travel agency or a local, who knows a lot of interesting things? Do you know any legends about your hometown/village?
- What things do you always take with you on a tour?
- Do you prefer staying at a hotel or renting an apartment?
- Do you like walking tours? Cycling tours? Bus tours?