Should you hire a guide or should you follow a spontaneous itinerary? I think it’s a question that pops up in every traveler’s mind. But I guess, the bigger question is how to strike a perfect balance between the two. Although a spontaneous travel is better, a guided tour also has certain benefits.
So, once you decide on a destination and book the tickets, what should you do? What should be your next move? Of course, if you are planning to visit a new destination, you need help and guidance. You need to know about various things – places to see, restaurants and local transport. Well, when you don’t want to rack your brain too much, a guided tour sounds like an easy option. But, would you be able to explore a destination the way you would like to?
Spontaneous travel is better
There is nothing better than a spontaneous itinerary. It gives you the freedom to explore a place at your own pace. There is no rush. You can relax, take pictures and savor the ambiance around. On the contrary, a guided tour will not allow you to stay at a site for as long as you would like to. You have to rush, follow your guide everywhere, compromise on the pictures and it leaves you more tired at the end of the day.
To enjoy a holiday the way you like it, you need to keep certain things in mind. Here they are -
Be well prepared
To ditch a guide, you need to do some research. Prepare yourself for your destination. Never visit a new city like a vulnerable stranger. Familiarize yourself with its local life a bit – places to eat, markets and local transport. The more you know about your destination, the easier it will be to plan your trip.
Do interact with a guide
Sure, you want to travel on your own and do your own thing, but if someone offers you advice, take it. There is no harm in listening to someone. Talk to your guide and try to understand if he is going to show you the place the way you want it. But don’t get trapped! Be careful and stick to your own taste and style.
Talk to the locals
A local knows a place very well, so speak to a random local and that will give you a better idea about the place. But, always make your own judgments. There is a possibility that a local may discourage you from visiting an excellent site. So the thumb rule is to listen to everyone, yet do what you really want to do.
Go for a customized itinerary
If you do not wish to get into research, simply go for a bespoke itinerary. There are many tour packages today that give flexibility to choose what you want to do on a trip. You can skip the places that you do not wish to visit and spend more time at the ones that you like. Seal the deal only if you are happy with it and be sure about what you are going to get!
Go for a guided tour
It’s a good idea to choose a guided tour on the first day of your trip. Take a guided tour if you are not well prepared and planning to stay longer at a place. A guided tour will allow you to see all the tourist sites, which will help you decide what you would like to visit again and how easily you can get there.
Don’t be afraid to skip some tourist sites
This is the most important one – don’t aim at ticking off tourist sites on a list. Focus on having a great time. It is more worthwhile to make it to two sites and absorb the surroundings than visit five different sites and gain nothing. Even if you have missed out on a tourist site, that does not take away the essence of a destination that you have experienced.
While spontaneous travel is great, you cannot rule out guided tours completely. Be smart and learn to blend both or simply follow your heart!
Would you prefer a spontaneous travel over a guided tour?