Thursday, 21 November 2013

Guided Tours Or Spontaneous Travel

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?

22 comments:

  1. This is probably a question that I keep asking myself every time I go out. I have had some pretty good experiences with both. So i usually go for a mixture of guided and spontaneous travels. The First photo looks like that of 12 Apostles Lookout. That trip was one of the best with a tour guide. The guide told us things that I would have not known otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sougata, for stopping by :) Yeah, a good blend of guided tour and spontaneous travel is ideal. Unfortunately, my 12 Apostles guide was not that great. He didn't allow us to halt at any spot for very long...in fact, he scolded us for lingering a little longer at 12 Apostles.

      Delete
  2. Interesting informative article and nice photos! To know more about the Guided and customize travel deal for India travels. please visit.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice article Renuka:-) Loved the pictures:-) For me it depends: where I am going and for how long. Normally a combo works good for us: you know: doing a tour the first day- to get an overview - and then explore on our own and maybe go back to some of the places we first saw..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eli :) True, it's good to take a guide the first day and then travel spontaneously for the rest of the trip.

      Delete
  4. Well written Reuka and so informative for travelers . I think I fall in the spontaneous category . Exploring a place at your pace, mingling with the locals, trying the regional specialities and taking it slow :) lovely pictures.. So beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pallavi :) Yes, even I enjoy spontaneous travel. I would rather research hard and travel on my own whim than go for a guided tour.

      Delete
  5. I am for spontaneous travel, great topic and well written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Indrani :) Yeah, even I personally like spontaneous travel over a guided one.

      Delete
  6. You look like you had a great time. I love the pictures. It takes an open spirit to travel to places they have never been to.

    I love seeing different things and talking to different people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael, for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Hi Renuka,
    It depends on your destination,the number of days you are spending and above all the kind of person you are.If you are the one who wants to tick off all the attractions which a place has to offer then perhaps a guided/package tours is the answer.Otherwise it is always good to have your own itinerary where you can be your own master.Instead of following a guideline you can sit back and thoroughly understand the idiosyncrasies of a place ,understand the people around and their culture.Something which I prefer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Samanvay, for your valuable comment :) True, guided tours are apt for some destinations and people, but an independent itinerary is always better!

      Delete
  8. I have done both and like you, feel each one has its advantages!!


    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very Nice piece and advice. I feel travelling is fun when there is freedom attached with it. When you are free to follow your moods, you enjoy. If you want a guided one go ahead, if you don't want one you can choose not to pick that option.
    If you want both then also you are free to pick it. The more your travel freely, the more you get the real taste of travelling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anjum :) Yeah, that's exactly what travel is all about - freedom to do your own thing!

      Delete
  10. I definitely go for a mix of the two. I like guided tours for some places where there are long lines so the tour skips the line. Also they can be quite knowledgeable so that is helpful too. I do prefer to do things on my own if I can. I like being able to spend as long as I want so doing it on your own is the best way for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, Marsha. A mix of both is good. :) Sometimes a guided tour is helpful, while an independent one is always more fun. Thanks for stopping by, Marsha! :)

      Delete
  11. I have tried both the options already. I feel traveling spontaneously is the perfect one. When you travel on a guided tour, you're not independent. And the irony here is, you're taking vacation from your boring scheduled work to be independent, but ultimately if go on the guided tours, you will not be independent and you have to follow some rules. So what I think is, you're on a vacation means there shouldn't be any limitation. In spontaneous travel, you can take photograph for long hours in one place and many other things that a traveler want normally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, Pratik. Spontaneous travel is far more enjoyable and rewarding than a guided one.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...