The Perks of Using a Guided Tour
I had sold guided tours because I had believed in them and I believe that they were for a certain type of traveler. I myself am a pretty seasoned traveler and didn’t think that the guided tour would be right for me. I didn’t think I would like it. I thought that it didn’t sound appealing to be on a coach bus traveling from city to city. I had so many stipulations in my head on how the guided tour was going to be that I went in with low expectations.
I just did Rome and Italy with Trafalgar who is one of my top suppliers for guided tours and the company that I just adore.
When I landed at Rome airport I went and checked in at the Trafalgar desk and proceeded to wait for my transfers to get there. I was kind of glad that I had somebody from the beginning to walk me through it because the mobs of taxi people wanting to give me service anywhere I was willing to pay for it was a little intimidating.
I get on a van transfer to the hotel where I check in knowing that the hotel was more centralized on location rather than a glamour. I wasn’t expecting much, but when we pulled up to the hotel it was really actually very nice and had a bar and restaurant inside- so that in self was a plus and it was in a prime location in Rome!
While the trip was absolutely incredible and full of so many things, I thought I’d just highlight the guided tour aspects of things to share my personal experience with it all.
From the first moment we met our guide I was excited. She warned us from the get-go that we were going to be family by the end of this trip and I’m so glad to report that she was right!
We got on our big coach bus the next day for a first tour and I’ve got to say, I was a little hesitant at first. I didn’t know how this was going to go, but I will tell you that at each location she gave us just enough touring and information that we needed to really capture the essence of where we were at and then let us go and have free time. That was the beauty of every single day. She would give us the highlights of what we needed to know and then allow for us to really explore.
The accommodations on the bus were out of this world. We had Wi-Fi, charging station, seats that were not only comfortable and spacious but leaned back! It had every amenity that we needed to stay connected with the world. Our longest bus ride was around 3 hours and I’ve got to say that’s the best 3 hour bus ride I’ve ever experienced.
I had not yet been to the Tuscany area before, so let me tell you about the guided perks of being in this area. They took us to one hotel location that we deemed as home base and from there we went to all of these little cities each day to explore.
If I were going to do this trip step-by-step for someone the transfers alone, it would eat up their budget. Let alone them having to stay in a different hotel in every different area and moving from one spot to another… They would not be able to go back to home base. Half of the budget would be taking them to a city and then taking them back. In Europe, the transfers, gas, and private cab drivers are so expensive that going 30 miles is going to cost you around $100. Not really worth it if you’re trying to go and see a lot of different places to do it unguided.
Every new place I explore now I definitely want to do a guided tour. Then, I can go back to each little certain place that I loved the most and explore it more. I will have to say that I got way more out of my vacation not having to think about what I was doing that day, not having to plan that days activities, not having to plan a special farm to table events. It’s not just getting on a bus and going to a location. Your tour guide becomes your family, the people you’re traveling with become your people.
At the end of the day when you are back at your hotel, if dinner is not included, you don’t have to be with that group and you can go off just you and your traveling partner or your group whomever you’re with and go and have dinner and drinks and fun.
I met people on this trip that I know that I will travel with in the future and keep in touch with.
Another thing that Trafalgar did really well was to bring the culture of each location into our experience. We were lucky enough to experience “be our Guest.” This is basically the families of local vineyards inviting us into their home and cooking for us, serving us there wine and oil that they’ve made from their property and telling us their story of how they became who they are.
These experiences are something that I will always value and treasure. It’s a great memory because I got to experience something that I would have never gotten to experience. Because it is an exclusive to Trafalgar experience it’s not something that I could’ve sent a client on by themselves. I got to dive into culture, shop at local markets, and make pasta at a vineyard by hand with chefs.
I will definitely say that guided tours are not for everyone, but I will say I didn’t think they were for me and I was wrong. Give it a chance-especially if you have not been to that location and want to experience a lot of that location in the amount of time you have.