5 Advantages of Guided Day Tours
I’ll admit it. I never used to be a fan of guided day tours. When I was a younger traveler, I was very much of the mindset that one should get around in a foreign country on one’s own and without any help. This insistence on doing things on my own was good at helping me develop important travel skills, such as reading train and bus schedules and logistical planning, but it was quite exhausting; especially if the information was outdated or inaccurate. In addition, it took a lot of effort and was very time consuming to make sure everything was set and in order. Plus, it could be very stressful if something went wrong, and you’re not near a large city where someone can help you.
However, now that I am older, I have actually become quite fond of guided day tours. Whenever I travel to a new country, I almost always will go on at least one guided day trip although it does depend on the country since some places are easier to travel to solo than others.
Here are 5 advantages of guided day tours!
1) Places are Easily Accessible
When you go on a guided day tour, it is possible to see different sites that would not otherwise be possible or easily accessible if you went on your own. For instance, when I was in El Salvador, I did a guided day tour of Ruta de las Flores (Route of Flowers), which is a route that travels through several small and beautiful colonial towns. Since my Spanish is relatively limited, and I didn’t want to drive, the only way I could have done this was if I went by public transportation or a guided day tour. The public transportation route would have been cheaper but a lot longer, and I wanted to return to San Salvador by the evening. In addition, my guide in El Salvador took me to some other places that I would not have been able to do on my own because of my limited Spanish skills and the fact public transportation did not go there or would have required different transfers.
2) No Planning Needed
In my opinion, the best part about guided day tours is the fact that very little planning is needed on your part. Before I became a fan of guided day tours, I would spend hours poring over maps while trying to figure out how to get to a place via train or bus. Depending on the country, this would be quite difficult since information was not always accurate, and times might not always coincide, so you might end up with a long wait in a train or bus station. For me, the biggest challenge was always needing to make sure the transportation matched up lest you become stranded like with what happened to me in rural Moldova. However, with a guided day tour, those issues are not problems since everything is already taken care of and depending on the size of the tour group, the guide will go at your own pace.
3) Gain Historical Insight
Another reason why I enjoy guided day tours is that the guides often give wonderful insight and background into what you are seeing. This is particularly useful if you don’t have much knowledge about the country or its culture. When I’ve gone on guided day tours in Africa, this was particularly useful since I would have had very little idea of what I was looking at since my knowledge of Africa is rather limited.
A vast majority of the guides that I have had have usually been excellent and been treasure troves of knowledge. Rarely have there been times when they have not been able to answer my questions. Admittedly, sometimes the guides have been a little too knowledgeable and have given me way more information than what I wanted. Once, I had a guide in Macedonia who talked to me for an hour straight regarding my question about Alexander the Great.
4) Save Time
If your time is limited, sometimes a guided day tour is the best option. Rather than waste time trying to figure out transportation schedules and hours of operation of a site, a guided day trip deals with all of that information. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the day.
5) Meet Other People
For me, when I do guided day tours, sometimes it is only me and the guide and other times, it is me with a handful of other visitors, or sometimes it is a large group. It really depends on the tour. The last few tours I did in Mauritius and Ethiopia all involved only myself and the guide who spoke English and a driver who spoke little to no English. Regardless though, when you go on a guided day tour, you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. There have been times when I have met people on guided day tours and became friends with them. In addition, if it is just you and a guide, you can really get to know each other. I cannot tell you how many times I have been able to learn more about a country and its culture than from talking to my tour guide in a free and candid manner.
Do you like doing guided day tours? What do you think of them?