There are all sorts of misconceptions about touring holidays, often because people aren’t aware of the sheer variety of travel experiences on offer. In this article I’ll debunk 10 of the most common myths about escorted tour holidays, and share a few tips on how to find the right trip for you...
Many tour operators build free time into your itinerary, allowing you to balance your guided activities with independent exploration or time spent chilling out. Companies such as Headwater also offer self-guided walking and cycling tours, where you’ll have a route mapped out and all of your accommodation pre-booked, with the freedom to travel at your own pace.
There’s a tour to suit every travel style, from conventional coach trips to more intimate small group tours. A small group typically means between 10 and 20 people, and sometimes less if you opt for a more unusual destination. Luxury tour operators such as Cox & Kings offer tours to destinations including Vietnam, Cuba and India, and the size of your party means you’ll enjoy access to exclusive events and venues that can’t accommodate larger groups.
An escorted tour doesn’t have to mean unpacking and re-packing your suitcase every day. Many tours focus on a single city or region, allowing you to really get under the skin of your destination. There are also operators such as Back-Roads Touring who take you on the road less travelled, avoiding motorways and proceeding at a more relaxed pace.
One of the advantages of travelling with a local guide is that you’ll meet a fascinating array of characters, from accomplished artisans to community elders. Luxury operator Kuoni includes a host of local experiences on their tours, from meditation lessons with Burmese monks to camping in the desert with Bedouin nomads.
Adventure specialists like Explore! and Exodus travel to some of the most exciting destinations on the planet. If you’ve always dreamed of ticking the Inca Trail off your bucket list or trekking to Everest Base Camp, a small group tour is a great way to do it. And adventure doesn’t have to mean climbing mountains; how about cycling across Belarus, exploring the desert cities of Uzbekistan, or coming face to face with gorillas in Uganda?
While touring holidays are understandably popular with older travellers, who value the security of having everything taken care of, most tour groups are comprised of people from all walks of life. Usually you’ll find that your companions are well-travelled, like-minded and interesting people, regardless of age. And companies such as Contiki and Geckos Adventures cater specifically to a younger crowd, offering everything from high-octane adventure holidays to in-depth cultural tours.
There is a tour to suit just about every budget, and companies such as Intrepid offer more basic accommodation to keep costs down. But it’s also worth considering the incredible value that an escorted holiday offers: your price includes accommodation, transport and the services of expert local guides, and usually most of your meals. Operators such as Tauck offer exclusive experiences that aren’t available to the general public, while Titan Travel even include chauffeur-driven transfers from your home to the airport.
Coach touring has come a long way since the 1980s, and companies such as Leger Holidays offer a vastly superior level of comfort on their fleet of modern coaches. But escorted touring is about so much more than just coach holidays: on the TourHound website you’ll find everything from active cycling holidays to guided walking tours to Antarctic expedition cruises!
You might think that travelling in a group means you’ll be staying in big, soulless hotels and eating bland buffet food every day. But in fact there is a huge amount of choice on offer. You might opt for a tour that focuses on characterful guesthouses and homestays, dining at street food markets or sharing delicious home-cooked meals. Equally you can travel with high-end operators such as Luxury Gold, staying in five-star hotels and enjoying the finest of fine dining in the world’s top restaurants.
There is an astonishing array of specialist tours on offer, from battlefield tours to food-focused holidays to wildlife expeditions. Cultural tour experts Travel Editions offer enriching itineraries with distinguished speakers, exclusive events and dinners in unique locations, while solo travel specialists Just You bring together groups of like-minded single travellers with shared interests.
Still not convinced? Take a look around the TourHound website and you might be surprised by what I can sniff out for you. We have thousands of tours to suit every taste, and it’s easy to find a trip that’s right for you - simply Search, Compare, Select...