If you’re typically a go-it-alone traveler you may wonder why anyone would choose to travel with a tour company or a local guide. After all, technology has made it easier than ever to preview countries in microscopic ways and to book excursions and transportation with ease.

 

We understand it sometimes takes a bit of convincing if you haven’t tried a guided tour before, so here’s 10 of the most common reasons our travelers tell us they love having a local guide along:

 

1. Guides do the driving and parking for you. If a local is taking care of the private transportation, think about the off-the-beaten path places you can access without the hassle and the stress of roundabouts, train schedules, red zones, one lane mountain roads, and foreign language signs. You can simply relax, catch up on your emails, or visit with a fellow traveler.

 

2. Guides make sure you get your questions answered, accurately and in real time. What traditional dish should I not miss here? Where can I take a morning run? Where are the cleanest bathrooms? What is the history of this area? Nothing is too trivial or expansive.

 

 

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Choosing the best dish on the menu is easy when a guide is along who can read the language and has tried the food.

 

 

3. Guides plan for and navigate the unexpected (and there can be many in travel). Everything from roadblocks and train strikes to police checkpoints and bad weather, your guide has you covered with a Plan B.

 

4. Guides prepare you. Because everything has been vetted and organized in advance, guides know where you are going, how you will get there, what you should wear, when you will be eating—when you don’t. This can save you embarrassment, frustration, time and money.

 

5. Guides are the cross-cultural experts. They understand your culture and how it differs from their own. You are not only getting an enjoyable vacation, you are getting a first-hand education on cultural competence. It’s life changing to gain understanding of the world in this way and, in some cases, it can keep you out of trouble.

 

 

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Guides answer your questions, even the ones you didn’t know to ask.

 

6. Guides ensure you get the best price. As a tourist you can be targeted in a number of ways, no matter how savvy. Guides know what things should cost and they’ll make sure you get treated fairly. Taxi fares, souvenirs, hotel rates, even inter-country airline tickets are all places where locals can negotiate better prices for foreigners.

 

7. Guides know the language. Google translate is an amazing tool, but if you rely on it when you travel and in your interactions with people you’ll miss out on a lot of the local experience.

 

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Anyone read Thai? Niteo’s local guide does.

 

8. Guides keep the peace. If you’ve ever felt frustrated from spending way too long discussing where to eat or how best to get somewhere quickly, or if you’ve ever mulled over what to do with that one person who is always late, you will likely appreciate what a guide brings to the travel experience.  You don’t have to make the hundreds of daily decisions that can lead to crabby or uncomfortable interactions.

 

9. Good guides can become good friends. Guides are unique individuals with unique backgrounds and personalities of course, but the good ones share a lot of traits in common. They are enjoyable, knowledgeable and sociable people who easily make friends.

 

 

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This traveler and her guide spend time on the trail building a friendship.

 

 

10. Guides ensure you have the best possible experience. They work very hard, even before you arrive, to make sure that every day, every hour, and even every moment of your trip is the best it can be with the goal of you falling in love with their country.

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