Do You Really Need to Hire a Tour Guide?
by Wendy VanHatten
Ever wondered if you really should hire a tour guide? There may be times when it is well worth it. Ask yourself these questions;
How much time do I have?
With a knowledgeable guide who can give a laser focus to any sightseeing visit, this might be the time to hire a guide. If your time is limited, why waste it looking for things to do. Or, check out the highlights and figure out what you want to see in detail next time you’re here.
Am I traveling somewhere considered to be chaotic?
If your destination has a reputation for unpredictable street life, hiring the right tour guide can not only save you time, but also keep you safe and out of tight spots. This is especially true as we travel in these times.
Am I visiting an extremely popular location?
If so, it helps to know the best hours to visit attractions, to know when prices are best, to know which places you can skip, and how to avoid rush hour. Your guide may have special rates, as well
How long am I staying?
Let’s say you’re going to be in one location for several days or a couple of weeks. Think about hiring a guide the first day or so to find the overall flavor of the place, to figure out what’s the most touristy, or narrow down where you want to spend more time.
Am I going to historic destinations?
If the place is rich in historical or cultural significance, think about hiring a guide. Usually, an educated tour guide can offer a depth of experience and knowledge to which no guidebook, audio guide or plaque-reading will come even close. You probably will learn the stories behind the complex carvings on an Indian temple, or veer away from the canned history you might read about.
Am I taking an adventure trip?
On a safari or a white water rafting? Even if you’re an expert, hiring a guide might be the best thing you can do. Local guides know the area, what to do, and how to get the best photos.
Can I get by speaking English?
If you’re visiting a place where English is not spoken and you don’t know their language, hiring a guide is not only smart. It’s necessary.
Do I want to drive?
Maybe you’re wine tasting, maybe you don’t want to get lost, maybe you can’t read the road signs, maybe driving on the other side of the road confuses you… These are all good reasons to hire a local guide.