Guided tours are so incredibly flexible and customizable – you can find one to fit any traveler’s preferences. Though having many options is great, a great travel agent can offer tons of options and assistance in narrowing down your choices to the right fit. In no particular order, here are five things to consider about your destination and the tour operator when booking a guided tour.
How active do you want to be on your vacation?
This should really be your first question, because it will help you choose the right destination and guided tour type for your trip. If you want to be really active and love biking, consider guided tours operators like Intrepid Travel, who offers active adventures, or Trek Travel, who specializes in bike tours are great options. There’s a tour operator for every type of travel. Expedia is a tour operator, but they’re all about DIY travel. Don’t let the term tour operator confuse you, they’re just there to help you in your booking process. Your agent can help you assess the options.
Do you want to travel with other people?
If meeting new people and spending a bit of time with them is ok with you, you have lots of options in all price ranges. It’s the same if you have family or friends you want to go on a guided tour with. And if you are traveling solo, that’s important to know too. Some guided tours operators specialize in solo travelers, like Collette and Bamba Tours. If you want a private experience, that could change the cost of the tour and the operator you book through.
What kind of travel schedule are you looking for?
Flexible or structured, on your own for part of the vacation and on a tour for the other part or on a tour the entire time? Your travel style and desired schedule are incredibly important, as the options for guided tours are close to endless. You can pair a guided tour with extra pre and/or post stay to give you more flexibility before and/or after your tour to explore other areas of your location not covered on a tour.
Do you want to have an immersive cultural experience?
An intimate, immersive experience can lead you to a different tour operator than a classic tour operator. It may also lead you to a different country or city based on what you’re looking to experience.
Do you want your vacation to have a bigger purpose?
Tour operators offer trips to spiritual destinations, like Israel’s Sea of Galilee, on the trail of Martin Luther in Germany or to Vatican City in Rome. Travelers can also give their vacation a bigger purpose by choosing an impact travel or voluntourism package. There are cultural tours, like the ones that focus on UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This means you’ll do some volunteer work in the destination they’re visiting, like helping in a classroom at a school or serving food to community members. For eco-minded travelers, an environmentally focused tour to plant trees or work on a sea turtle conservation project would be an amazing opportunity.
There’s a tour for every person and every activity level. Talk to your experienced travel specialist about what you’re looking for. Travel is not a one size fits all product. So, don’t go to a one size fits all travel agent. Seek out someone who specializes in what you’re looking for!