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When is Hiring a Tour Guide the Right Travel Choice?

You’ve goggled your heart and getting ready to travel out with a list, which is becoming overwhelming and still aren’t sure if the choices are authentic, interesting or the overall best places based on your time and budget. Sounds familiar?

Meeting with a local tour guide, having extensive knowledge of the area, the people and the history can be a great advantage to learning about a country like India when travelling. In addition on the local culture they can offer you an insider’s perspective.

How to hire a guide will depend on your budget, what you hope to gain out of your trip, and how much time you’ll have while travelling. In a dilemma and not very sure when you need and hire a guide? No worries we are there to suggest you when to hire a tour guide and when to go it alone.

When is it Right for You to Hire a Tour Guide?

1. When you have very little time and still want a meaningful experience
Sometimes in one small trip because of getting overambitious we try to pack in too many stops. The cities on a little map which look so close together, in actual it will often take a lot of moving, carrying bags, and waiting around to get from point A to B. A tour guide comes in handy when you arrive in one city and realize you’re leaving in mere hours with so much to see. Without the fuss of getting lost and confusing destinations he or she can show you exactly what you wanted.

2. When the language barrier is, simply put, a barrier
During your trip a guide can act as a link between you and the people, street vendors, local market places and everything else wonderful you’ll want to experience. By overcoming the language problem the guide will help you move along in so many places and get rid of the frustration of confusion that often comes when travelling away from your country.

3. When you are visiting a dangerous and chaotic place
A local tour guide can help guide you through places that otherwise would be a trap for an inexperienced tourist by knowing the local language, roads, transportation, customs and cultures. Again hiring a good tour guide can not only save your time, but also keep you safe and out of tight spots ---if your destination has a reputation for dangerous or unpredictable street life.

4. When you are on a long stay somewhere
In the same location when you are staying for more than a few days -- let's say in Varanasi you have a two-week vacation rental -- for the first couple of days to help you get your bearings early in your trip ...consider hiring a tour guide or perhaps merely to get all the touristy stuff out of the way. When you have exhausted most of the obvious attractions and want to seek out a deeper, more informed or more intimate knowledge of a place then in that case alternately, you can hire a guide late in your stay.

5. When you are on an adventure trip
Life-saving advice on adventure trips are offered by the tour guides especially if they are indigenous to the area. Unless you are an absolute expert at your chosen adventures like safaris, scuba diving, mountain climbing, deep-sea fishing, white-water rafting ..., hiring a guide may be a matter of life and death. It’s still a good idea to hire a guide who knows the local area and can help you navigate an unfamiliar place even if you are an old hand at the particular skill in question.

6. When visiting a popular destination
For visiting popular destinations do hire a guide as a good tour guide will always know the best hours to visit attractions, when prices are best, how to avoid rush hour, which places you can skip, what is closed or under construction, and any number of tricks and tactics that will help you get the most out of travel to a heavily visited location. If the guide has special access or rates that also you can inquire. Early in the morning before the crowds arrive a good guide might bring you to the Ganga Aarti, or arrange for a private, after-hours tour of the city of Varanasi.

7. When you’re on vacation and want to relax the entire time
Hiring a local guide can lessen the time and stress it would take to otherwise do so if you don’t feel like putting in the effort and time it takes to plan all the places you’ll want to see.

8. When visiting historic destinations
An educated tour guide can offer a depth of experience and knowledge to which no audio guide; guidebook or plaque-reading will come even close about the places that are exceptionally rich in historical or cultural significance. Behind every historical places or the complex carvings on an Indian temple or monuments there is a story and these stories can be easily explained by a good guide.

9. To hand off the logistics of travel
If you are on vacation and don't want to have boring tasks like making reservations, obtaining tickets, checking operating hours, figuring out options when you have problems on your plate while travelling which is an easy stuff to a good tour guide, in that case hiring a tour guide may be a good option.

10. When you don't want to drive
If you don’t want to drive while travelling just because you don't want to spend your vacation getting lost, you're not confident driving on the opposite side of the road, you can't read the road signs, your spouse is a terrible co-pilot and you just want to have fun instead of arguing -- hiring a tour guide to do the driving for you can save you a lot of headaches and unwanted distractions.

When Does a Tour Guide Become a Liability?
When you give over your trip to a tour guide, you have to trust that you’re in the right hands because if a good guide is an exceptional travel asset; a bad guide is a unnecessary liability. In several cases it has been seen that there are guides who are taking in kickbacks from the places they steer you and at the same time there are cases of some dishonest guides who can steer you to overpriced restaurants, shops and vendors than can double or even triple the cost of your trip. If a guide is overly persistent that you go to a particular place, consider that a red flag and don’t second guess every selection, but know that you have every right to decide that you don’t want to go somewhere, or ask for an alternative.

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