When to hire a travel guide

When visiting new countries it can be difficult to know whether you should be brave and tackle the destination yourself, or if you would be better off hiring a travel guide.

Here are our suggestions for when hiring a guide would be the better option:

1. If you are visiting a dangerous or troubled area, a local guide will be invaluable in ensuring your safety.

2. When touring historical sites or places of cultural significance, a specialist tour guide can offer in-depth knowledge, and also usually share interesting anecdotes and little known facts about your destination.

3. If language barriers are an issue and locals are unlikely to speak your language.

4. When you have a limited time at your destination, a local guide will have you blitzing through the must-see sites and experiences. This is especially true for those visiting ports on a cruise as you usually only have a matter of hours, rather than days at your destination.

5. If you plan on visiting extremely popular locations such as the Colosseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a tour guide will know the best times to visit to avoid the crowds. They may also have access to special rates or restricted areas.

6.When you are staying for a long period in one destination it can be helpful to hire a guide for the first day or two. That way you can get your bearings as well as pick your guide’s brain about the best places to dine out, shop, etc.

7. If you always holiday in the same spot every year why not consider engaging a tour guide to show you something completely different? Many holiday spots now offer tours by Segway, bike or kayak. This will help you to see a familiar location from a different perspective.

8. And without question, the number one time you should hire a tour guide is when you are embarking on an adventure trip. Unless you have years of white-water rafting or mountain-climbing experience, or have been spending the past few decades holidaying with the Maasai tribes on the Serengeti, then hiring a guide could possibly become a matter of life or death!

Have you ever hired a travel guide? Was it worth the money? Did it enhance your holiday experience?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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