Monday 7 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Guided Tours

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

This was always something I was hesitant about. Only old people book tours, right? Maybe not...

Our tour group in the medina of Tétouan, Morocco.

The tipping point for us was getting to see The Last Supper. Tickets to view this piece of art sell out months in advance but some spaces are always kept for tour companies. The only way we could see Da Vinci's masterpiece was to book a city tour of Milan. And you know, it was actually really fun.

Tours can be a very easy way to see things you wouldn't easily get to on your own while hopefully learning things you might not otherwise bother to read about.

One of the most memorable tours I've been on was a free walking tour of Prague. Our guide was Scottish. He has a passion for this place and did the tours part-time for some extra cash. (Tips only.) It was so fun! He was clever and sarcastic and didn't make things cheesy as tour guides often do.

Colin. His name was Colin. Why do I remember that?
Another fairly epic tour was of the Underground River in Palawan. Technically you can do it on your own but we saw bunches of tourists trying figure out how things worked and it looked pretty frustrating. Sometimes a tour guide is more of a liaison than a teacher.

Amazing place to visit!
We've also had some bad experiences with tours. We once had a guide that napped while we were driving to our destination instead of telling us anything. Another time we let our hotel book one for us and we ended up being the last on the bus so we couldn't sit together on the three hour ride. But in the end, it's usually about what you get to see. That's what makes tours worth it. Just do your research. I would not book a tour again without know more about what I was getting into.

Shout out to Vespa Adventures in Vietnam! They rock.

We did the culinary "Saigon After Dark" tour. Super fun.


  1. I don't normally do tours but I've booked a couple on my upcoming trip to Europe because there are some things you can only experience on a tour.

  2. We love free walking tours (tips are given at the end) especially for our first day in a big city as a way to orient ourselves. However recently I've read posts that expose many of these large "free" tour companies and claim that the guides aren't paid enough etc... So now we try to be more careful when joining such a tour.

    There are so many different types of tours out there I think when independent travelers think of tours they only picture fully guided tours that tell you when to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom. However from individual guides to locals to tour companies there is something out there for everyone. Great post!

    1. You make a good point... Day tours usually leave you with a lot of freedom. I've never done one of those full trip kind of tours.


  3. I don't go on tours as a general rule, except for as you say those places that is the only way to see it. So, we do an occasional day tour and we definitely do the tours through castles and buildings. Good post!