When you tell people you are considering going on a guided tour overseas you are greeted with varying opinions. Some people will share with you how they had the time of their lives and made incredible friends for life. Others, however, will tell you not to do a guided holiday, whether they did one themselves or not. That is because there are many misconceptions about guided holidays. Everyone is allowed their own opinions, of course, but we needed to arm you with the truth for when it comes to planning your trip – guided or not.
So, we spoke to the people behind some of the most popular guided holidays, think Contiki, AAT Kings and Insight Vacations, and got a few reality checks for those who may be ready to rule out a guided holiday:
Myth: There will be too much time on the road
Reality: Guided holidays are carefully planned to ensure stretches on the road aren’t too long, and trips are broken up with stops at local gems you wouldn’t find on your own. Many trips are also designed to spend two or more nights in each place, reducing the time on the road and enabling travellers to truly immerse themselves in a single destination. Companies advise you to pick the right itinerary for you, whether it’s exploring one region in depth or discovering several countries in one holiday.
Myth: I won’t get any free time
Reality: Time to explore has always been an important part of guided holidays. Free days are plentiful and can be filled with optional activities or used to relax and soak up the atmosphere. Being chauffeured around also means you don’t have to waste time battling with maps, unfamiliar roads, public transport or asking for directions, avoiding those time-consuming travel mishaps and giving you much more free time in the long run!
Myth: I can do the same trip myself
Reality: When you book a guided holiday, you gain access to the knowledge of experts that have been doing this stuff for decades. Thanks to connections that travel companies have formed with locals over the years, you can skip the queues at many popular attractions around the world when travelling on their holidays, leaving you more time to explore. The experts also take care of all the research, with your local guides and travel directors finding the best value accommodation and the most authentic restaurants, so you don’t have to. You also gain access to a bunch of like-minded travel buddies to enjoy your holiday journey with!
Myth: Guided holidays are more expensive
Reality: Remember to compare apples with apples. The price of a guided holiday includes your accommodation, transport, sightseeing, many meals and more – plus holidays are planned to experience the best of the destinations you visit. Going solo exposes travellers to a multitude of unforeseen expenses that can quickly add up. Miss the train? That’ll be 50 Euro for a taxi, thanks. Hotel couldn’t find your reservation? That’s another 150 Euro per night, please. Time is money, and the time you save not having to plan your trip and fork out for those accidents means you get to spend it on what really matters.
Myth: I won’t meet locals
Reality: Guided holiday companies understand what travellers want better than anyone else – they want to have off-the-beaten track experiences, eat local food and discover hidden gems, so they employ local guides who know the area better than anyone else. No doubt you’ll see all the famous sights but with the help of local guides you will uncover the interesting places to eat, stay and play that truly showcase a city’s local authentic experiences.