If you’ve ever traveled on an escorted tour, you can probably rattle off all the benefits in your sleep: the insider access, the knowledge, the ability to relax and let someone else take care of the details. But for people who’ve never been, it can be easy to fall under the impression that escorted tours can be dull, or filled with tourists, or run by tour guides looking for kick-backs.
When you get down to it, escorted tour are one of the best ways to get to know unfamiliar areas, meet new people and experience places in a way you wouldn’t be otherwise able to. So with that being said, it’s high time that these myths get DEBUNKED!
One of the BIGGEST myths? Don’t take a tour if you want to see the “real” country. Escorted tours have been honed and fine-tuned to make sure that you’re seeing the very best of what a destination has to offer. If you’re visiting the Chartres Cathedral in France on your own, you may be able to stand back and admire the stained glass windows. But if you’re there with a tour guide, you can experience the same location with someone who’s dedicated their career to learning everything there is to know about the individual windows, the construction, and the artists who created them.
Some other myths that need dispelling:
• Tours are just for old people - Nope! There are a million escorted tour groups available for everyone from 18-year-old backpackers to newly married couples, to families and retirees. Or, if you want to mix it up, there are groups that combine travelers from every age and walk of life.
• I won’t like the people in my group - Chances are, if you’re going on a tour that excites you, you’re going to be traveling with people that have similar interests. A lot of tour operators also make it possible to connect with people in your group prior to departure so you can learn more about each other and amp up the anticipation. Plus if you’re on your own, there are groups that are arranged exclusively for people traveling by themselves.
• I’ll have to follow a rigid schedule – There are definitely tours that pack their schedules to make sure that groups get the very most out of every destination. Which some people love! But if you’re more into leisurely exploring, there are itineraries that allow hours of free time and flexibility for people to explore on their own.
• It’ll cost more than just making my own arrangements - Tour operators have great relationships with everyone in the business, from hotels and ground transportation to the people who run museums and historic sites. That’s why they can negotiate bulk rates and exclusive extras that make organized tours sometimes cheaper than if you had to book each individual component separately.
Have you traveled on an escorted tour? Tell us about your experience in the comments below! And if you are interested in learning more, check out the Tours section on our website now.
By Jo Singer