A few years ago my family decided we should take a European vacation. My cousin was living and studying in the Loire region of France and our family (3 generations!) decided we should go for a little visit. I would never turn down an opportunity to travel, so off to France I went with the family! The plan was to arrive in Paris, take the train to meet up with my cousin and then set out by car to tour the history rich Brittany/Normandy regions of France. While we didn’t have a set daily agenda, we did have some hotel reservations and definitely had a list of places to visit.
This trip turned into nothing less than a disaster. We spent more time getting lost, getting frustrated, finding attractions closed, arriving very late at night to our hotels and peering in the windows of closed restaurants. We spent very little time actually relaxing and enjoying our time in France and enjoying our family vacation. Looking back now I can find some humor in the whole thing, but that trip really got me thinking about guided vacations. If we would have gone with a guide my grandmother would have actually had time to savor her coffee and a delicious dessert in the gorgeous villages we sped through. My grandfather would have actually had time visit Utah Beach. Our meals would have been filled with delicious food, smooth French Bordeaux’s and conversation rather than meals filled with zombie like stares and frustrated silence. While we saw some amazing things on our comical European vacation, we wouldn’t have missed so many things and there would have been much more family harmony if we would have traveled with a guide. We can finally look back on our family adventure vacation and laugh but it has taken years. Years!
So here are my top five reasons I highly recommend traveling with a guide. These are lessons learned the hard way!
Top 5 Reason’s You Should Go with a Guide
- No Getting Lost. We spent countless hours backtracking, looking at maps, attempting to read road signs in a foreign language and finally finding our way just in time to miss out on whatever we were trying to find. When traveling with a guide all that is handled for you. The guides are experts and not only do they speak the language but they know the best routes, the best coffee shops or attractions along the way.
- Insider Knowledge. Whether it is pointing out some history of the area, telling a local story or simply knowing where the cleanest bathroom is located guides have the insider knowledge on local sights, culture and hours of operation. With years of experience there is no better way to travel than with an experienced guide.
- Best Food. While you are bound to stumble upon delicious food in many places, when traveling with a guide you know you are experiencing the best food the area has to offer. In many cases the guide you are traveling with is a personal friend of the restaurant owner or has become friends over the years of doing business together. You are going to get the best service, the best table, the best reservation time and the best food!
- More Relaxation, Less Stress. When traveling with a guide all of the details are handled for you. You get to truly enjoy your vacation and the time with your loved ones. It truly makes your vacation a time to relax and take it all in!
- New Friends. Not only is your guide going to be your local expert, driver, daily planner but by the end of the trip they will be your friend. Guides love what they do and they love getting to know people from all over the world. Going with a guide will give you an experience like none other.
You will never go at it alone again, trust me.
Your Friendly Travel Consultant,