Always wondered what a tour is really like? The reality is often different to the misconceptions. From how much free time is offered to group sizes, we debunk some top tour myths.
Sometimes planning your own trip belongs in the too-hard basket. Booking transport, accommodation, experiences… there’s a lot to consider. This is where tours really shine – all the hard work is all done for you, with the bonus of meeting like-minded travellers along the way.
However, first-timers may approach with trepidation due to outdated misconceptions around touring. With more far-flung destinations and flexibility on offer than ever before, there's truly never been a more exciting time to experience one.
Read on to discover the truth about tours.
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Myth #1: There’s no flexibility
Not every minute of every day on tour is prescribed. Certainly, some itineraries are more intense than others (this is all a question of personal preference), but you may be pleasantly surprised by the flexibility on offer. Many tours offer optional, bolt-on activities so you can tailor your experience. You might choose to add on a hot air balloon ride, dinner with a local family or a cultural excursion – or simply opt out to explore at your own pace. By making these optional, it keeps the cost of the itinerary down as a whole, so those who don't wish to participate aren't paying a premium.
For ultimate flexibility, opt for a package that offers private touring: for a small additional charge, you can customise the tour to your personal tastes and even select different travel dates.
Myth #2: Tours means large groups
Not all tours are created equal. Yes, there are plenty of budget large-group tours for those who seek them, but boutique, small-group tours are increasingly popular. Why? Because they guarantee a more personalised tour experience.
Savour authentic experiences away from the crowds, like watching a tango performance while eating local Argentinian cuisine in San Telmo, ambling through a street market in Sri Lanka on a food tour or joining a traditional salsa class in Cuba. The best part is because of the intimate nature of your tour group, you can meet like-minded individuals who could prove to be excellent travel buddies.
Myth #3: It’s always the same itinerary
While the tried-and-tested tours will always be on offer (and are popular for a reason), today, there are more and more unusual destinations off-the-beaten-track to choose from. From the ice fields of Alaska to Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, the most sensational corners of the world are now at your fingertips on tour.
Gone are the days of strict tour itineraries and same-same inclusions. While there is comfort in structure (knowing where you’re going and when you’re moving) it’s the moments in between that you’ll remember, so why not tailor it to you and your individual needs? Cue optional activities. These are the perfect way to fully immerse yourself in local culture, whether it’s a Rhone River cruise with lunch in Avignon, a sunrise hot air balloon in Cappadocia or a Golden Mask Dynasty show in Beijing.
Myth #4: There’s no free time
Everyone is different and no two perfect holidays look the same. Some may thrive on non-stop activities and adventures, whereas others may prefer to explore at their own pace. Depending on the destination and length of the tour, you can find yourself with several hours or even days to spend however you please. Of course, your tour guide will always be on-hand to offer tips and suggestions, should you wish.
You might choose to tick off any additional bucket-list experiences that aren’t on the tour itinerary, or if it’s rest and recuperation you seek, use this time to kick up your feet and take a breather. Massage, anyone?
Myth #5: They’re not budget-friendly
Tour providers nurture relationships with partners on-the-ground and book in bulk to secure exceptional rates for all components of the journey, from hotel rooms to experiences. This means you'll be paying considerably less for the experience as a whole, than if you booked all the elements individually yourself.
There's a tour for every kind of traveller, and every kind of traveller’s budget. While there are ultra luxurious, extensive, once-in-a-lifetime voyages (think Ultra Lux collection), there is also a huge range of affordable options that don’t compromise on comfort and wow-factor. Affordable tours can see you travelling to Tasmania for a hiking expedition, drinking sake and riding bullet trains in Japan, and temple hopping through Cambodia.
Feature image: Turkiye 2024 Highlights Tour.
Ready to escape? Browse our tours here.
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