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Should you go on an escorted tour or plan your trip yourself?

You’ve finally saved up enough money and are ready to go on vacation, but you’re not exactly sure where to go, what hotels to stay at or what to see. Do you have time to plan all the details, or would you rather book an escorted tour and have the tour company do it for you? Do you want the freedom to explore whatever you like whenever you like, or would you rather visit all the tourist attractions in an organized manner? Below are the pros and cons of taking an escorted tour.

Vacation in Paris

The pros

There is minimal planning involved

When you book an escorted tour, most if not all the necessities of the trip, such as hotel or hostel bookings, some meals, transportation and hotel transfers, are included. Most tourist attractions are included as well, with some optional excursions. This saves you the trouble of researching accommodations and must-sees ahead of time.

You don’t have to wait in line

When you’re in a guided tour group, the tour company has already made reservations for you at the major tourist attractions, such as famous museums or churches, so you can cut the long lineups to go inside. Not only does this save you the trouble of reserving or buying your ticket ahead of time and researching ways to get there and hours of operation, but you will be glad to skip the lineups, especially in hot or cold weather.

You meet lots of new people at once

Though you’re likely to meet new people while on an unguided trip, you’re almost forced to meet people on an escorted tour. Most tour groups range from 20 to 45 people in size. You’re likely to bond with these tour-mates on those long, exciting days abroad. Meeting different personalities from all over the world is great, but having new friends in different countries that you can connect with later on is even better!

Your tour guide knows almost everything

If you’re lucky to have a great tour guide, you will see that he or she makes the trip that much more enjoyable. These people are almost like walking encyclopedias when it comes to places you visit on your tour. Knowing the history of the city you’re visiting gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for the place. Furthermore, you always have someone to ask for recommendations on places to eat or visit during your spare time.

You get a taste of everything

When you see the major attractions of the city you’re touring, you get a taste for the city and may decide to come back on your own one day to explore it further. For example, if you’re on a European tour, you get a sampling of each country and can later return to your favourite one on your own time!

Up next: The cons of taking an escorted tour >>

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