Advantages of Taking a Tour
Tours can sometimes be a great way to travel, or they can be a disaster. Like most decisions, trying to decide if you should book a tour involves weighing the pros and cons. Why should you consider taking a tour? Tours aren’t for everyone, but the advantages of taking a tour can enhance your trip.
Tours handle the planning
With a tour, the planning is handled for you. Someone else puts together the itinerary, so you don’t have to worry about what to see or how much time to spend in any one place.
Having someone else make the planning decisions can make things more simple and allow you to sit back and enjoy your vacation. This is often one of the biggest advantages of taking a tour.
Tours arrange your transportation
Transportation is a key part of most tours. The tour company takes you from point A to point B, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
You won’t have to deal with confusing public transportation or taxi drivers who might not speak the same language. This can also help with places you can’t get to with public transportation.
While traveling in Australia, I wanted to see the Great Ocean Road, but I wasn’t willing to rent a car and try driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time ever while being distracted by the views. Taking a tour was the perfect solution.
Social aspects of taking a tour
You’d have to go out of your way not to meet people on a tour. If you’re traveling solo, tours are a great way to meet other travelers so you won’t feel completely on your own the whole time.
You’ll be spending lots of time with these people seeing the sights and exploring the cultures. You might meet interesting people from all over the world. And you might even make a new friend out of it.
Tours provide a wealth of information
Your tour will almost certainly come with a guide. Not only does this mean being with someone who knows a lot about the area you’re traveling in, but it means you will have someone giving you information about the sights you’re seeing.
Historical information can allow you to imagine an ancient city instead of just a pile of rocks and pillars when you’re looking at ruins. The best tour companies will make your experience interesting and fun.
They might also have recommendations for restaurants or activities that you would never know about without talking to a local. Local guides know areas of town tourists don’t normally go to, and they could point you at a really fun area.
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Tours can provide unique experiences
Often tours, especially day tours, can get you behind the scenes access to something the general public can’t get to.
I took this tour of the Colosseum in Rome where they were able to take us to the lower level and the upper level, both of which were only accessible with special tours. There was no one else around but us! We also got to skip the line, which saved us so much time, another bonus of many tours.
Some tours get you in outside of normal visiting hours. On that same trip to Rome, I took a tour that gets you into the Sistine Chapel early, before the big crowds get there.
There are others that get you in after hours. This meant getting to see this famous ceiling without the hassle of hundreds of people shoulder-to-shoulder, and it was totally worth it.
Many tours offer experiences you just can’t get on your own. This is especially true of food tours. Sure, you can go to restaurants on your own and try the local cuisine, but you won’t always know what to order.
On a food tour, your guide will teach you about local food you didn’t know about. They’ll tell you the history of the food and its connection with the culture. You just can’t recreate this kind of experience on your own.
Tours can help new travelers
If you’re a new traveler, or new to solo travel, a tour might help you ease into traveling. You won’t have to worry about feeling lonely because you’ll always have people around.
You won’t get overwhelmed with all the details of planning the trip, and you won’t have to worry so much about getting lost. A tour can take some of the fear out of travel.
Even if you’re a seasoned traveler, taking a tour in a region of the world you’re unfamiliar with might be a good option. It can provide a good introduction to a new part of the world, helping you feel more comfortable returning later on your own.
Are you debating about booking a tour? Tours provide simplicity in planning by taking care of the details for you. They organize transportation and provide you with information about the places you’re seeing. They are also a great way to meet new people and get your feet wet if you’re new to travel.
The advantages of taking a tour can often outweigh the disadvantages of taking a tour, and booking a tour could be the right decision for you.
Read more about tours:
- When is it Worth Booking a Tour?
- How to Pick the Perfect Food Tour
- What to Pack for a Day Trip
- Or look through our full list of tour reviews on Travel Made Simple.
September 29, 2012 @ 5:21 pm
We’ve taken tours from time to time, but they have always been day tours. I’ve never gone on a trip that is an organized tour. I’m not sure I’d like it.
October 2, 2012 @ 4:28 pm
I took a few 10 day tours to Europe when I was in high school, and as a first experience it was fine. I don’t think I could do it now though. A day or 2 might be ok depending on the situation, but I much prefer to be on my own or on a short day tour.
September 24, 2012 @ 1:18 pm
Even if I’m a huge fan of independent travelling I ended up on few tours couple of times and it was definitely worth it. In places like Armenia, when I had only few days, they allowed me to visit a lot of amazing places that public transport would take me too. But then I couldn’t spend there as much time as I’d like to since we were on tight schedule. oh well, everything has pros and cons
September 24, 2012 @ 3:31 pm
I agree, there are definitely certain situations when taking a tour is absolutely the right decision. It sucks to not have as much time in each destination, but you definitely have to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes a tour will win, sometimes it won’t. (Disadvantages post goes up tomorrow!)
Exploring the Overlooked Town of Selcuk, Turkey | Ali's Adventures
September 24, 2012 @ 8:02 am
[…] The day after we went to Ephesus, we went to explore the castle and the ruins of St. John’s Basilica next to it. It turned out the castle was closed, so we couldn’t even get that close to it, but the ruins were pretty amazing. And even though there were plenty of tourists there, we seemed to be the only ones who weren’t there in an organized tour group. […]
September 22, 2012 @ 12:29 pm
There are definitely a lot of positive things about joining tours, but there are also some negatives like the program inflexibility and having to accommodate other peoples’ wishes. I think tours can be great, but it is also fun to do things independently too.
September 22, 2012 @ 5:59 pm
I completely agree, Liv! The right tour at the right time can be great, but there are a lot of reasons not to take a tour as well. My disadvantages post goes up on Tuesday!
September 21, 2012 @ 10:46 am
I’ve done tours before and like you said, they are a great way to meet people when traveling. On my trip to Sydney in 2006 I did the climbing tour of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The sites were amazing but the comeraderie that you can build up in a short time on a tour can make the experience memorable for all the right reasons.
By the way, that rock feature on the Great Ocean Road that you have taken a picture of and included in your post is known locally as London Arch.
September 21, 2012 @ 3:01 pm
You climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Wow! I don’t think I could do that. I’m not afraid of heights but that just isn’t my thing. I bet the view was amazing though! You’re right, you can bond pretty quickly with people you meet on a tour. I’ve definitely met some interesting people on tours.
The sign called it London Bridge, but maybe that was because it used to be one connected piece? Makes sense to now call it London Arch instead. The Great Ocean Road is AMAZING!
September 22, 2012 @ 12:36 am
The sign is a bit old. You’re right, it used to be called London Bridge until the middle bit fell into the ocean some time ago in the last decade I believe. They then renamed it London Arch but never changed the sign. And you’re double right about The Great Ocean Road. It really is amazing. I just love the sweeping vistas of the ocean and the various rock formations that you can’t find anywhere else in the world like the 12 apostles for instance.
I did the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb not knowing that I was scared of heights until about half way in. I was really lucky in a sense to be at the front of my group because it meant that I had no option but to overcome my fear of heights on the way up. I did that by intentionally not looking down where possible and just taking one set of stairs at a time. I made it first up in my group and because the tour leader had to help the rest of the group negotiate the final steps, I had about five minutes to myself all alone on top of the bridge. The view was absolutely stunning from the bridge looking in all directions. I climbed the bridge around dusk so I saw the transition of central Sydney and the harbor from day into evening. It was a very expensive thing to do costing well over $200 but it was one of those things – to be able to say I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Personally I believe it was worth every penny.
September 22, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
That’s amazing Matthew! Definitely sounds expensive, but it sounds like it was a great thing for you to do. Congrats on making it through, and it sounds like a wonderful time of day to be up there!