Amongst the gazillion logistics that need to be taken care of while planning for a tour, one key decision that people usually find themselves resistant to is hiring a guide. It wouldn't be wrong to say that many people think investing in a guide is money wasted, which can otherwise be used for travel expenses. In fact, it is common to think that we can figure it all out by ourselves. Well, the online platforms do seem to give that confidence to people! However, what is often ignored in the beginning end up becoming a necessity in the mid of the trip or definitely a guilt post-trip.
In other words, yes, the need for hiring a guide may somewhat be negotiable when you are travelling inter-country or to smaller places. However, if you are travelling intra-country or, to be more specific, to a different place and culture, the need for a guide undoubtedly becomes non-negotiable. To elaborate more on this, here are the top 5 reasons why you should hire a guide (without a second thought!) if you are travelling this year.
Safety in times of COVID
According to the UNWTO's latest World Tourism Barometer, 'international tourism increased by 182 percent in the first three months of 2022 compared to the previous year.' Although the earlier placed travel restrictions are getting uplifted, what cannot be ignored is the fact that some countries are still battling with increased cases of COVID-19. According to the data on Kayak (as of 25.09.2022), for people travelling from, say, India, 21 countries still have closed borders, 3 countries have rules of test and quarantine, and around 20 countries require Indian travellers to submit a COVID-19 Negative Test result upon arrival.
Therefore, in such cases, hiring a guide is the best option to learn about the ground reality of COVID cases and COVID hotspot areas you shouldn't explore. Especially, you get to know about the government-laid travel advisories and logistical support in case you are required to go for a COVID test. Moreover, even in non-pandemic situations, it is better to hire someone who can keep you safe in case any political and social instability or natural calamity arises mid-journey. This not only puts a well-structured plan in front but also prevents any last-minute chaos for you and your dear ones.
Exploring from the eyes of a native
No matter how much information is at your hands, the truly authentic experience of exploring the places, learning about the secret stories of people who walked on those lands, understanding their contributions and struggles, and not forgetting the impact that history continues to have upon the current generations is something that can only be learned with the help of a person who himself has lived on that land; somebody who grew up walking through the old walls and hearing the stories from their ancestors. Moreover, while travelling, who will answer a thousand questions popping up in your curious mind?
Hiring a native guide allows you to learn and fully immerse into the culture and history of the place by answering your questions and planning the best travel itinerary, which contains all the 'must-try' and 'must-visit' places to make the most of your vacation.
"We went on a 10 km amazing walking tour around the city. What made it so fantastic was Lee's knowledge of the city. He shared things you would not get to know from any tourist books."
Regardless to say, one of the biggest problems that people usually find themselves in while planning a trip abroad is how they will communicate. How will they ask for direction? How will they interact with the natives?
Moreover, (considering English is a widely-spoken language), language does become a barrier, especially in countries that do not share English as their first language. For instance, if you are visiting from India to El Salvador in Central America to explore its hidden spots, you will not be able to communicate and navigate easily. It is because El Salvador is a Spanish-speaking country with very little English-speaking population, and that too is limited to its major tourist areas.
Therefore, language not only makes travelling harder but also limits the scope of exploring. In such a case, hiring a guide well-versed in the native language of the travel destination acts as our support stick.
"He made sure that we saw everything important and spoke our language (Greek), which is very difficult, fluently. We are completely satisfied with our choice, and we mostly believe that we also made a new friend."
Another perk of hiring a guide (definitely the best for the lazy ones!) is that guides do all the homework. If you navigate through the travel itineraries provided on the tourHQ's website, one thing that you will find common across most of the itineraries is the frontend and backend support provided by the guides. In simple words, from fixing the travel dates and booking the international flights to your meal, accommodation, and transfers, including the airport pick-up and drop-off, are some of the additional services provided by the guides.
You can just imagine how much time it saves you! Moreover, other simple yet significant benefits provided by the tour guides are skip-the-line and prior reservations at popular tourist sites and restaurants that are hard to get hold of.
Yes, you read it right. Hiring a tour guide does save money. How? Well, the answer is simple, and it's something that you have already experienced or seen somebody experiencing. For example, whenever a tourist is spotted on the street or market, local shopkeepers try to lure the tourist into shopping in their particular shop. And because the traveller does not know the market price of the x or y thing, and they fear that it is something they won't be getting again, they buy it at a high price. So, when you add the entire trip expense at the end, the number just doesn't make sense. That's simply because such tourist traps can only be recognised by the locals.
"Amir was an erudite, very attentive person. He guided us in Luxor and organised our Cairo trip with another impeccable guide. He was always on time. Helps us everywhere to not be scammed. And his knowledge of Ancient Egyptian culture and architecture is stunning."
~ Istvan (client testimonial- tourHQ)
Therefore, if you look at the bigger picture, hiring a guide ensures safety, saving money, important logistical support and local recommendations. In one line, it allows you to make the most of your holiday affordably and efficiently.
"Hiring a guide becomes not an investment in the guide but an investment in yourself."
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