Myths and misconceptions of the guided tour vacation

Published 10:51 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

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. Touring choices are almost unlimited.

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 me – travel agents and their tour operator partners are well aware of the myths and stereotypes surrounding motor coach tours. But they 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.

Email newsletter signup

Myth: Guided tours are more stressful than convenient. I 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 tour operators have secured special access for our guests at legendary sites such as the Louvre, Coliseum 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. Tour operators bring out the best in a destination; 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, tour guests can save up to 40% versus traveling independently. That’s because 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.

Myth: Traveling 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 locations.

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!

I admit that at one time I was an anti-tour type. Maybe age is catching up or that experience has shown me the convenience and value of group touring. Maybe it was realizing that as the driver I missed out viewing the scenic landscapes, charming villages and iconic sites. This being said I am sold on the tour product.

There are a myriad of tour operators offering escorted journey.

The challenge to the inexperienced traveler is to sort out what company’s products are best suited to their travel needs. This is where your local travel agent can act as your guide and assist in creating that perfect getaway.

Research your holiday online, but book and buy local! Shop small! Shop Lawrence County!

Got travel? Email Steve Call at the or dial 740-550-9540