In a world of adventure, no matter what country you travel to there is always something new to explore. How you experience this destination makes all the difference. Would you prefer a self-guided or escorted tour? Let us explore; the differences between self-guided and escorted tours to determine which option is the best for you.

Escorted Small Group Tours

older couple-escorted tour

On small group travel or escorted group, trips are what might generally be called packaged trips. Trip dates are already determined for this group.  There is a specific itinerary that you follow. Furthermore, you have a guide throughout the trip as well as a group of travel companions.

About The Itinerary

The itinerary is structured for you, including transportation logistics, boutique B&Bs, and hotels, curated culinary experiences. Also included are tickets and entries for activities. Ideally, itineraries should balance planned group activities with time for independent exploration.

What Does Escorted Mean?

tour guides

The escorted portion means two things a host, someone who is with you throughout the trip, ensuring logistics run smoothly, and acting as your liaison as you navigate your travels. Secondly, local guides offer a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, architecture, food, and nature.

Group Sizes

Small groups are generally 8-15 people. Traveling with expert hosts in small groups gives you access to unique experiences. With this option, you can travel with people who share the same interests in an intimate setting.

Advantages 

Because the group sizes are small, there is flexibility and independence to enjoy lesser-known routes and immersive local experiences. Travelers who typically join small escorted tours are solo, couples, or friends. In the end, travelers make new friends because they share incredible experiences with like-minded people.

SMALL ESCORTED GROUP TRAVEL IS BEST FOR:

  • Those who would rather not devote the time or energy to planning the details.
  • Solo travelers who want to join an adventure with like-minded travelers
  • Those who want a deeper understanding of the destination through expert guides
  • Travelers who are nervous about traveling on their own
  • Travel destinations that might feel intimidating or where you don’t speak the language

INDEPENDENT OR SELF-GUIDED ITINERARIES

self guided tour

Self-guided itineraries give travelers more flexibility with dates than small group escorted tours. Designated escorted tour dates may not always work with your schedule. You may also prefer to travel with your partner, family or friend only. In that case, self-guided tours are ideal!

About The Itinerary

Self-guided itineraries follow a somewhat similar format as the escorted tours.  Your route is customized based on the locations and sites you want to see, stopping at iconic, hidden, and favorite spots.

Accommodations & Activities

In addition to accommodations and meals, itineraries could include cooking classes in Italy, wine tastings in Spain, and hiking in the Azores.

Transportation

transportation by train

Transport options vary: you can opt for train or private vehicles or rent a car if not included in the package price.

Advantages

There is no host on a self-guided tour. However, you can book a local guide in places where the translation is required. In addition, optional activities and add-ons are available for a more personalized experience.

SELF-GUIDED ITINERARIES ARE BEST FOR:

  • Those who choose their travel dates and want the logistical details handled for them.
  • Family or friends who wish to have an itinerary created for them.
  • Those worried about social distancing and would like to take extra precautions.

Ready to start planning your trip? Schedule a free consultation today.