The 6 rules for a good guided tour: the key to a perfect holiday
In recent years, we have seen that one of the most requested activities by tourists from all over the world is undoubtedly the guided tour and the reason behind this choice is generally one: visiting a new place without knowing anything about that place might make you miss interesting things, and often does not make you fully understand the meaning of what you are observing; having a guide with you makes the experience complete and leaves you with a stronger holiday memory. For example, when I lived in the south of France, I could see the difference; when you are young, you tend to see new places on your own, often because you can’t afford a guide; however, visiting Toulouse with a guide was far more instructive than visiting it alone. As interesting as a tour can be, it is not always satisfying, so let’s see what are the 6 secrets for a good tour and what are the tricks to recognize them:
- The first rule, and perhaps one of the most important, concerns the guide’s language and culture. If a guide is good, the tour works, if they are not, well, the tour may become boring. The linguistic preparation of the guide, as well as the cultural one, is one of the reassurances that our foreign guests ask all the time; whether they are English, French, Spanish, German, they fear that the guide may not be up to the task. This fear probably stems from a prejudice: Italians do not know foreign languages. An idea that in reality is neither true nor false; take for example English, today about 43.5% of Italian students have at least a B2 level, of which only 19.7% have a high knowledge of English (C1). Consider that many guides have at least a basic C1 level, but the level can also be higher, just because they do it for work. PlacenPeople in particular selects guides according to their abilities, and in case of language not perfectly fluent, the guide can pass the selection only if able to compensate with other particularly marked communicative skills.
- The second rule can only be the cost. It is not said that an expensive tour is a satisfying tour, often in fact the cost of a tour depends on other factors, such as the lack of guides (in Italy), the time of year in which it takes place and the location. It is obvious that a tour in Rome cannot cost as much as a tour in Monopoli, because in addition to the different history behind the two locations, the demand, compared to the number of guides, is certainly higher in the capital. So, how to tell if a tour is worth the expense? The only advice we can give is to read the reviews of the portal that offers the service, because, you know, the reviews today are extremely critical and true.
- The third rule is flexibility. Who has never been on one of those group bus tours where you had to stay at the times and rules decided by the guide and the drivers, according to the needs of another 50 people? We all tried it and we could see that the result was not the best. The lack of flexibility does not allow you to experience the journey with serenity, so one of the secrets for a good tour is to guarantee guests free time, to allow them to enjoy the places they visit without rushing between one location and another. Does this mean that the best choice is a private tour? Not necessarily, just choose tours with small groups that will allow you to fully live the experience.
- The fourth rule for a good tour is transport. Especially when the destinations to reach are little served by public transport, to avoid losing precious hours waiting for buses or trains, some tours offer a lift to guests. It’s often a very efficient solution, considering the day is not endless. In fact, you are not always in the place where the tour takes place and sometimes choosing a transport that, between slowness and possible delays, takes 2 hours to go and 2 hours to return means giving up almost half of your total time available.
- The fifth rule of a good tour is duration. Generally, guided tours can have different duration depending on what you visit. The distinction is between a full day tour (about 7-8 hours), a half day tour (about 4 hours), a single location tour without driving (about 2 hours). The first two cases involve a trip by car or bus, the third case refers to a tour of the place where you stay or can reach on your own. Always pay attention to the duration and if there seems to be something strange, ask for clarification.
- The last rule for a good tour is the sympathy of the guide, because let’s face it, personality makes everything better. Guides generally like to be in contact with people and love to tell, however they might not be nice. Sadly, sympathy is not a requirement to become a guide and you will know if the guide is nice only when you meet them! Also some may like a more friendly and playful tone, others prefer a more professional tone. Help here can come from the clarity of the request to make to the tour operator: teams like PlacenPeople in fact do their best to suggest the right guide according to the guest’s request. Small reminder for all those who do not know: in Italy, tipping is not mandatory, so it is up to you to decide whether to give it or not.
As you will have understood from the previous paragraphs, it is not so difficult to understand if a tour is good or not, just pay attention to some details, read the reviews of those who have already done it (ask the organizer himself maybe where to read them) and understand if the organizer is attentive to your needs or if he considers you only a number among many. Otherwise booking a tour is not that difficult, often you do not need to contact classic agencies, but just click on a smart portal. So pack your bags!