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  • molly3729

Guided Tour or Independent Traveler

Updated: May 15, 2023

Which is the right path for you? Are you better off taking a guided tour or are you a FIT, Fully Independent Traveler? Often, it depends on the location and how comfortable you are with the culture, the language and how accessible the country you're visiting might feel to tourists. It also depends on how prepared you are before you go - which takes time, a luxury not many of us have!

For example, if I'm going to France, I speak the language, I'm familiar with the food, I'm comfortable with the trains - so no worries! I also know I can drive on the roads, stay in apartments, easily navigate the sites and customs because I'm comfortable there - but this may be very different for you. Or take my husband who can easily drive through the chaotic streets of downtown Athens or drive a stick shift on the other side of the narrowest of narrow roads in Ireland - these are skills I do not possess. We all know our limits and what we're comfortable with. Sometimes when we're on vacation we want to relax and other times we want to step outside of those comfort zones.

There are certainly countries where a guided tour is beneficial even for a travel advisor who loves to plan her own travel. Having just returned from Egypt, this was a place that I felt like I'd really benefit from an Egyptologist by my side all day, not to mention someone to help with visas at the airport and a driver for the city navigation (not to mention crossing those 5 lane city streets with no crosswalks!). Was it a wee bit hard for this control lover (some might say "freak") to let go of the reins for a time? Sure. But it was also lovely not to be in charge and just go with the flow...down the Nile.

A nice happy medium is utilizing custom travel planners like us to help map out your days so you can then feel at ease going from place to place with your itinerary finely tuned and advance tickets purchased. You don't have to jump on a tour bus with 28 other people at 7am but you can feel confident knowing how your day will unfold and that you're in the drivers seat - literally or figuratively, depending on however comfortable you are with that!

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