When planning your next vacation, you have two options for your mode of travel: independent or escorted.
Group escorted tours generally utilize buses and a set itinerary, while privately escorted tours are essentially independent tours with a guide.
But what does an New Zealand escorted tour mean in practical terms?
Whether you are traveling with a group following a pre-set itinerary or following a customized itinerary with a private guide, escorted tours include the same basic elements.
Your private guide is there to oversee every logistical aspect of travel, from transportation to checking in at each accommodation and activity.
Your guide will help with scheduling, ensuring your family or group arrives on time to each activity and maintains an enjoyable balance betweeen sightseeing and relaxation.
Whether you are traveling in a tour bus (on a group escorted tour) or in a luxury 4WD vehicle or minibus (on a privately guided tour as a family or couple), your escorted tour includes a private tour vehicle.
For some larger group tours, you will have a separate driver and guide. However, for any smaller privately escorted tours, your guide is also your driver.
Due to the logistics of traveling with a guide, all escorted tours follow a pre-arranged itinerary.
If you are joining a group tour with a set itinerary, this will be rigid and unchangeable.
However, if you are traveling with a private escort, your guide will be able to help make last-minute changes during your tour if, for instance, the weather does not cooperate for an activity.
There are countless benefits to an escorted tour.
From convenience to relaxation, an escorted tour is the obvious choice for travelers who wish to maximise enjoyment and minimise stress while overseas.
Here are a few reason to choose an escorted tour over independent travel.
This is the big one.
An escorted tour takes care of every detail, from arrival to departure. When you arrive at the airport, your guide will meet you and bring you to your accommodation, and from that moment on, you will be looked after until you fly out.
As a traveler, it can be easy to overlook some of the hidden highlights, from authentic local cuisine to unforgettable sights that lie off the beaten track.
When traveling with a guide, you will have the benefit of local knowledge. From a stop at your guide’s favorite winery to a detour to a hidden viewing point, some of the most memorable experiences on your holiday will be the ones only a local can provide.
Figuring out transportation while overseas can be one of the least enjoyable parts of travel.
From driving on the opposite side of the road to negotiating complicated public transportation, getting around is stressful and takes a lot of planning.
With an escorted tour, this is no longer an issue. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery without worrying about navigation.
From the friendship of your guide to the companionship of your fellow travelers–if you choose to travel in a group–the company you keep while overseas can be the most rewarding part of escorted travel.
Joining a group of like-minded travelers is the perfect chance for singles or couples to expand their social circle, while families can team up to provide the experience of a lifetime for both adults and children.
Once you choose to travel with a guide, the next decision is whether you join a pre-set group tour or hire an independent guide.
If you want a stress-free vacation with all the flexibility of an independent holiday, a privately guided tour is the perfect middle ground.
Though sometimes more expensive than a group tour, the benefits of a privately guided tour are myriad.
When traveling with a group, you are often locked into a prearranged schedule. The larger the group, the more time allotted to activities such as meal stops and reconvening after an excursion.
If you travel independently, you can change your schedule at a moment’s notice and travel at a pace that suits you.
Whether you travel alone or accompanied by a private guide, flexibility is key to creating the holiday you want.
Pre-scheduled group tours leave on specific dates, and last for a set number of days.
If you can only take certain days off work–which is true for most of us!–it can be very tricky to coordinate with pre-scheduled tour dates.
Booking a private guide eliminates this stress.
Whether you have a specific interest during your travels, or young children whose demands must be accommodated, a private guide will cater to your individual requirements. This personal attention is what makes a holiday unforgettable.
Read more about escorted tours for families.
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