Debunking Myths about Escorted Tours

Deal Expert, Los Angeles
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For most people, part of the fun of traveling is actually planning the vacation. Learning about the culture, studying the language and finding hidden gems are all important steps leading up to a trip. If you’re anything like me, you dream big while letting someone else do the planning — which is exactly what I did on my recent trip to Thailand.

Aside from some of the stigmas that go along with the words escorted tour, I was excited to embark on my Asian adventure. In my head I thought long days bouncing from museum to museum in a single-file line following the a guide waving a bright yellow flag. Instead what I got was 13 days of rich culture, a “fast pass” to the front of the line for all main attractions, luxurious accommodations and an incredible Thai tour guide showing me the best of his country. I wouldn’t hesitate to book another escorted vacation or encourage anyone to do so — it’s my newfound favorite way to travel the world!

Here are some common misconceptions of escorted tours and the reality:

Myth: Escorted tours are expensive

Reality: The price of an escorted tour may look higher than other trips, but in reality it is a perfectly pre-packaged vacation designed to take the planning piece out so all you have to do is show up. These prices are “all-in” so to speak: hotels, flights, entrance fees to main attractions and most meals are already included in the total price. If you were to try and piece all of the elements of an escorted tour yourself, most of the time the cost will be substantially higher than going through a tour.

Escorted tours are a simple and cost-effective way to see a new country — which is what I think is one of the main selling points.


Myth: There will not be any time to explore on your own

Reality: Sure, escorted tours have long itineraries filled with action-packed days, but the reality is that you can do as much or as little as you’d like. Not to mention, most tours include at least one free day in every major city, if not more.

Nights are typically on your own (or you can add on a tour/dinner) leaving plenty of time to explore on your own. Take advantage of your tour guide and ask for recommendations on those free days — my tour guide was nice enough to even plan out transportation for my friends and I to get around when we were on our own.


Myth: You’re stuck on a cramped bus all day

Reality: Time spent on the bus is very minimal in comparison with the rest of the trip. Most tour operators have travelers on a luxury motor coach with ample leg room, TVs, air conditioning and plenty of room to store your belongings.

For longer jaunts of the trip, it’s common for tours to include intra-country flights, train rides or boat/ferry rides for another way to view the country. You get to sit back, relax and enjoy the sights while someone else whisks you from city to city.


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Myth: Tours are only for retirees

Reality: Escorted tours come in all shapes and sizes: tours for 18-25 year olds, family-friendly tours, or tours geared toward the adventurous. Chances are you will have a melting pot of people all different ages and from all walks of life. One of my favorite parts of my escorted tour was having the chance to get to know so many different people who shared the same curiosity about the world that I did.


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Show 2 Comments
  • Nate Lynch

    I agree with all of the above. My only caution is to make very sure the tour guide speaks your language well. My wife & I have had tour guides “fluent” in English who we could not understand at all, because their accent & pronunciation was so bad. It was their 2nd or 3rd language, and definitely not learned from an English speaking teacher.

  • TravelingOne

    I’ve done a few escorted tours, in countries where it was almost impossible to get around easily on our own. Personally, I think every one of those so-called myths is very true. Another is forced shopping, where they take you to overpriced jewelry stores, and there is at least one person who stays in the store for an hour or more. And strongly disagree, sorry, but there is NO WAY doing it on your own is as expensive.