Say YES to the tour! My top 8 reasons a group tour might be right for you.

I recently visited Italy for the first time.  It was all I dreamed it would be and more!  The food, wine, history, scenery, did I mention the wine…I decided to take a tour rather than explore the country on my own.  I know sometimes tours get bad raps, but those days are in the past.  Tour styles have changed.  Long gone are the days of spending hours trapped in a bus, being herded like cattle all day and getting up at the crack of dawn every day to rush to the next activity.

If you’re hesitant to take a guided trip because you’ve always traveled independently, you might want to reconsider. Here are my top eight reasons why taking a guided trip is a great idea:

1. Convenience

You don’t have to spend a lot of time, frustration and uncertainty planning your trip and can leave the flight bookings, hotel and transportation reservations, and the details of the itinerary up to someone else. All you have to do is pack, remember to bring your travel documents, and get to the airport on time. They even took care of arranging our Covid testing to return to the US. And, if you work with a Travel Agent, it’s even easier for you.

2. Ease

The tour company takes care of ALL the details.  On your trip, all you really have to d​​o is know what time you have to be ready the next day and what to wear.  On my tour,  if we were moving to a new hotel, all I had to do was leave my suitcase outside my hotel door and it “magically” appeared at the next hotel.

3. Expertise

During our tour we had the same tour guide who was with us the entire time. She took care of all the details. But at every destination, we had a local expert bring local history, culture, and places to life, and offered far more insight than any guidebook. These expert guides are hand picked and the best in the business.

4. Flexibility

One of the biggest myths of group tours is that there is no free time.  That is not the case.  There is free time every day and just because something is “scheduled” does not mean you have to take part in it.  On the day we visited Pisa and Lucca, some people decided to stay at the hotel and explore the area on their own.  If something doesn’t interest you, just skip it.

​​​​​​5. Cultural Immersion​​​

Group tours get to enjoy things that some travelers simply do not. On our tour, we had local experiences that we would not have had if we had been on our own.

  • We went truffle hunting and were treated to a homemade lunch by Chef Lorenzo using those truffles accompanied by his delicious Orvieto Classico wine. (My order is on the way.)
  • At the Vatican, we had access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to visitors.
  • We were privileged to meet Marta, recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and her weavers and see how the fascinating art of loom-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations and learn how this ancient craft is being preserved.  Some of her works of art can take months to create.

6. Companionship

If you’re a solo traveler like I was or even traveling with a spouse or friend, it’s a fun way to find other travelers who have mutual interests similar to your own – and on a guided trip, that’s likely to be the case. I traveled by myself and felt very comfortable with my “new family”. Sharing new experiences in another country are the kinds of things that bond people for life.

7. The Food

I know Italy is known for its food (and wine), but we had some amazing dining experiences that I can say for certain that we would not have had if we had been on our own. They work with the best people in the areas to ensure that their guests have a unique and authentic experience. I had THE BEST homemade gnocchi that I have ever had – I am still dreaming about it. We had a true farm to table experience in the hills of Tuscany and we also ate where Machiavelli was exiled for 2 years and wrote the Prince.  Plus we had some free nights where we could explore the towns we were in for dinner.

8. Time Saving

Rather than wandering aimlessly trying to get your bearings, arranging complicated transportation, or waiting in long lines for tickets, a well-organized guided trip will get you to the church, museum, archaeological site, castle, etc. on time. Oftentimes, you will get front of the line access and/or a private tour so you will be able to see more attractions in a shorter amount of time. At the Vatican the day we visited, the line to get in was over 2 hours for the “common folks” while we walked right in.

I’m already thinking about where I will travel on my next adventure.  Croatia, Greece, Southern Italy.  Wit​​h a group tour, the possibilities are endless.  As a solo traveler, I felt safe and was able to try new experiences that I wouldn’t have done on my own.  I had a great time, made new friends and got to do what I love to do.  I call that an all around win!  Who wants to join me?

 

Sara is the owner of Platinum Travel. She customizes seamless, stress free vacations for people who want to see the world and all things Disney.
She also owns Autism Friendly Vacations where she helps families who have a member on the Autism spectrum get the vacation they deserve. Visit AutismVacation.com for more information.
You can reach her at 414-377-8611 or Sara@PlatinumTravelWI.com to start planning your vacation today.


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