Are you planning your 2019 trips? Maybe you already have some booked? We certainly do. In a couple of weeks, we’re heading back to New York, one of our favourite cities in the world. Even though we’ve visited on a number of occasions we still have plenty to see and do. It’s the city that never sleeps after all. Vicky’s cousin Hannah is coming with us and visiting the Big Apple for the very first time. She is beyond excited and we’re excited for her too. Therefore, over the past few weeks, we’ve booked a number of organised tours for her to take, for us to take and for us all to take together.
We’ve taken organised tours all over the world and we’re certainly not ashamed to admit it. We suppose this is where the age-old argument of traveller v tourist raises it’s ugly (and in our opinion, irrelevant head). Self-confessed travellers may imply (or outright say) that if you take organised trips then you’re a terrible traveller. We could not disagree more. If time is of the essence and you want to see a lot of stuff (and more than likely the good stuff) while visiting somewhere – organised tours are definitely the way to go.
Maybe you prefer for every part of your holiday/trip/break to be organised? From the second you arrive at the departures lounge to the second you return home? Do you know what? That’s cool. Not everyone has the time/patience/know how/confidence to book flights and accommodation separately and then just wing it while at their destination. Not everyone is carefree and ‘bin the map’ kind of folks. Again, that’s cool. With companies like Contiki and TopDeck offering organised tours all over the world – those people (maybe you are one of them) are covered too.
What Are The Benefits?
There are absolutely loads of benefits of taking an organised tour (or a number of tours) and after having a good long think about it, we have put together this list which we hope will help you if you are currently considering taking an organised tour.
Maybe you have never travelled before? Perhaps you are a solo traveller? Maybe you are simply an introvert? Whatever the reason, taking an organised tour (even just once) may give you the confidence boost you need to do it on on your own on future travels. Taking an organised tour can also give your friends and family the reassurance they need while you’re away, knowing you are with other people and not on your own and also sticking to a strict itinerary.
Make New Friends
The likelihood is if you are taking an organised tour (either activity or itinerary) we have an interest in the thing or place you will be visiting. Therefore, the likelihood is that the other people on the tour will have an interest in it too. What a great basis for a new friendship? Also, by spending time together, whether on the bus, at the hotel/hostel etc or doing activities will give you the opportunity to get to know new people who may possibly turn into new friends.
Support If Needed
Things can go wrong when travelling. We’re sure everyone’s got a travel tale to tell about when something didn’t go to plan. Therefore travelling as part of or on an organised tour, especially in countries where your native language isn’t spoken widely or facilities and/or amenities are sparse means you will have support if you need it. The likelihood is at least the tour leader or driver will speak the local language and help you out/translate if necessary.
Time is precious. Planning a trip, especially a long one can take ages. Perhaps eating into time that you can’t actually spare. If that’s the case, another benefit of an organised tour is someone else has taken the time to organise it for you. Whether it be an activity where they have sourced the tickets in advance or a full 21 day American East Coast Tour including flights, hotels, restaurants etc the only time you need to allocate is the 10 minutes or so it takes to book the actual tour.
All Thriller, No Filler
If you are anything like us, you want to see all the ‘big’ stuff when travelling, right? Can you imagine visiting Paris and not seeing the Effiel Tower, or Rome and not visiting the Colosseum? Tour companies usually focus their tour itineraries around the biggest tourist attractions in the city/country they are offering the tour for. Therefore allowing you to see all the things the place is famous for without getting distracted by the ‘other’ stuff. Especially if you aren’t bothered by it.
If shop local at home, why not when you’re travelling too? Check out local tour guides and operators. By choosing to travel with someone who lives in the place you are visiting, not only are you supporting the local economy but the likelihood is that you will pay less too as there’s no middleman taking a cut of the profits. Also, your tour guide will have local knowledge, therefore, enabling them to answer your questions and give you recommendations, directions etc.
Also, if you chose a local tour guide, the likelihood is that you’ll see more than if you opted for a large tour company. You may even get the opportunity to see things, visit places and eat at restaurants that you won’t find in a guidebook. Many tour guides may have family or friends who run local businesses that are off the tourist track but are amazing and worth checking out. Therefore, leaving you with great stories to tell your friends and family once you are back, or even blog about.
So we’ve established that by someone else (the tour operator) organising your tour it saves you oodles of time, but it can also save your stress levels if travel planning just isn’t your thing. Opting to travel with an established company on a set itinerary means you don’t have to worry about a thing. You simply need to book the trip and go with the flow, allowing someone else (the tour guide) to worry about the finer details – tickets, hotels, bus pick up points etc. Perfect for a no hassle holiday.
You Have To
Some places in the world, the only way to see it is with a tour guide. Some places are simply too dangerous to head off the beaten track. Therefore, if you want to see those places for yourself – get yourself a good local tour guide. You need someone who speaks the language, knows the lay and politics of the land and someone who can help and stay calm should the worse happen. These places are very few and far between but do your research in advance.
So how do you like to travel? Do you like a fully organised and guided two-week break? Are you more like us, where you book your flight and hotels yourself but then opt for an organised tour and day trips? Or are you a hit the ground and explore for yourself kind of traveller? We’re sure you’ll agree there is no right or wrong way to travel. As long as you are seeing what you want to see and respecting the people and environment around you – all’s good, right?