The Truth About Guided Tours

The Truth About Guided Tours

In an era of internet deals and DIY travel, guided tours remain an ideal choice for travelers seeking an enriching, hassle-free way to explore the world.

Say the words “guided tour” and people will start conjuring up images of slow-moving tourists being ushered from point A to point B by a guide holding up a sign, and that’s just the beginning.  Trust us – we’re well aware of the myths and stereotypes surrounding motor coach tours. But we also know that escorted travel has come a long way over the years.  Here’s a look at the myths and facts about guided tours, with plenty of good reasons for why you should take one.

Myth: Guided tours offer no freedom.

Guided tours do have a set itinerary, but they also offer a balance of free time and autonomy. Travelers typically enjoy mix of guided visits and time to explore at leisure throughout the course of their vacation. Furthermore, each tour offers a menu of optional experiences to choose from, allowing guests to customize their vacation based on their preferences and interests. Travelers seeking a little more independence can also choose from a selection of Explorer Tours and Easy Pace Trips.

Myth: Guided tours are more stressful than convenient.

We understand that it may sound stressful to accomplish everything on your itinerary with a few dozen or so other people. But the truth is that guided tours almost always offer a more convenient way to explore Europe’s most popular sites and attractions.  That’s because our tour operators have secured special access for our guests at legendary sites such as the Louvre, Colosseum and Vatican.  So while independent travelers wait in line for hours outside the Vatican, you’ll be ushered in right away by a local expert who will point out all the highlights and answer all your questions. Who could argue with that?

Myth: A guided tour doesn’t offer me anything I couldn’t see or do on my own.

Actually, the truth is quite the opposite. Taking a guided tour means having a team of seasoned travel professionals crafting your itinerary.  Our tour operators are the best names in the industry; they not only know the ins and outs of each destination but also have relationships with local farmers, wine producers, artisans and artists who make connections with our guests and offer a taste of the local living. As an independent traveler, it’s unlikely that you’ll be welcomed into someone’s house for a traditional home-cooked meal or treated to a private visit at a family-run winery. On a guided tour, these types of enriching encounters are included in your trip, offering a more immersive, personalized experience than you’d find on your own.

Myth: I’ll pay more for a tour than a trip I plan myself.

You’ll actually save money by choosing a guided tour. In fact, guests can save up to 40% versus traveling independently. That’s because our tour operators have contracts with hotels, restaurants, museums and more; they negotiated special rates and perks – like VIP entry and exclusive after-hours access for tour groups – and pass the savings onto you, our guests.

MythTraveling around on a motor coach will be uncomfortable.

Long gone are the days of school bus style coaches without air conditioning or comfortable seating. These days, you’ll ride in style in a coach that costs close to half a million dollars, complete with onboard Wi-Fi and electrical outlets – so you can stay connected with friends and family back home every step of your way. Most importantly, you’ll sit back and relax while a professional driver navigates the often narrow roads and rugged terrain found in many destinations.

Myth: Traveling as part of a guided tour means you’re a forgotten face in the crowd.

This is another easily arrived at misconception. The fact is, when you arrive at your guided tour you may only know one other person in your group. Or maybe you’re traveling solo and don’t know anyone. And that’s great!  Guided tours are great way to meet people and see the world on your own. It’s easy to assume that social anxiety will take over and that you’ll just blend into the crowd. Quite the opposite tends to wind up happening on these tours. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded travelers who, like yourself, are seeking an enriching, safe, and hassle-free way to see the world. Once the ice is broken, many tour guests find that they make friends quickly and easily throughout the group, often forming bonds that continue after returning home. A guided tour can be whatever you make of it, so enjoy yourself and have fun!

Ready to start exploring? Browse our collection of over 250 Guided Tours and River Cruises worldwide.

Which country would you like to visit on a guided tour? Tell us in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “The Truth About Guided Tours

  • May 19, 2017 at 6:07 am

    I want to travel again but I’m a single woman and would like e a trip with more singles. I had a tour of Italy with another company. I was the only single in a group of ten and at times it was weird. I made good friends, but I’m interested in going places with more singlrs. It’s also unfair to have to pay so much more because you’re single. I’m very active and a new retiree.

    • May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Hi Betty, We have many solo travelers on our tours, while it is true that solo travelers typically pay a single supplement for guided tours, that is not always the case and there are several options available to help you save. Here are a few ideas. 1) Check out our Solo Traveler Deals for a list of trips with solo supplements that have been significantly reduced or waived completely. 2) Join our Room share program and we’ll match you with someone of the same gender, so you don’t have to pay the single room supplement! If we fail to match you, we’ll provide a single room at no extra cost. We have many guests who were hesitant to choose this option and were very happy that they did! 3) If your travel dates are flexible you might want to consider a Last Minute Deal. Finally, keep in mind that while our group sizes vary by tour operator (anywhere from 24-48 guests) you’ll have the opportunity to get to know many people throughout your trip. If you have any other questions, please give us a call toll free at 1-877-622-9109.

  • May 25, 2017 at 6:11 am

    We just got back from a 30 day trip which included a transAtlantic crossing from Florida to Barcelona and then rented a car and drove around for 10 days through Southern France, Andorra and Spain. Since we are both senior citizens, we have decided that this would probably be our last “independent” trip. The parking problems in most cities and even villages plus the hassle of finding a hotel each night made our trip a bit less wonderful than some of the guided tours we took previously. We decided that carting around our own luggage wasn’t the kind of exercise we desired at this time in our lives. I know we also missed some interesting facts about the great places we visited because we didn’t have a guide. For us it is now guided travel!

    • May 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Pat, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We’re glad to hear that your trip worked out in the end and that you’re interested in taking a guided tour. Let us know how we can help you plan your next trip!

  • October 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    We are a senior couple (early 70s). Looking forward to our first European adventure. We are thinking that we would like a tour covering several countries in 10 to 15 days. If we decide on a motorcoach tour, approximately how early would we be departing from the hotel for excursions and how late until the tour rests for the evening? We don’t know if we will be brave enough to go out on our own and don’t want to be stuck in a boring hotel unless we are tuckered out. Any suggestions and recommendations would be appreciated.

    • October 24, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Hi Sandi,
      We have wonderful vacations that that cover multiple countries. Because there are several ways you can travel with us, I would suggest calling in (1-877-622-9109) and chatting with one of our (amazing) Travel Specialist who can help you find the best trip for your interest and budget. Or, if you’d like, you can email me your number and the best time to reach you, and one of our specialists would be happy to chat with you!
      My email address is
      Hope this helps some…


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