BY EHM Feature Writer Ainslie Young
Over the last ten years I’ve enjoyed a significant amount of travel and I’m a huge fan of letting loose and exploring under my own steam. But I’ve also learned that when you’re travelling for business, gallivanting around a city solo isn’t always the best option. Recently I’ve briefly visited cities across Asia including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul and I’ve experienced many benefits of jumping on guided tours, which I share below.
1. Save Time
Wandering the lovely lanes of a city does have a romantic and carefree vibe about it, but let’s face it…it’s not practical if you’re short on time. And if you’re anything like me you want to maximize your travel time! Joining an organised tour of a city or a specific destination saves you valuable time by not having to worry about catching public transport all around the city. Plus tour companies use their local knowledge to schedule activities to avoid peak hour road and tourist traffic so you get the most out of your experience.
2. Sit back and relax
Similarly to saving you time, jumping on an organised tour saves you precious ‘brain power,’ as someone has already done the planning for you! You don’t have to worry about putting together a detailed itinerary and working out when and where is the best place to visit. You also don’t have to worry if you need to translate your destination to the taxi driver and whether you must line up in the mile long queue outside the Taj Mahal! Your tour guide has done the thinking for you and you can enjoy the exotic sites hassle free. Sounds good to me!
3. Get Educated
Yes, you’ll learn about your exciting new destination if you have your nose stuck in a guidebook, but nothing beats a well-versed tour guide. A great tour guide can be your golden ticket to unlock unique cultural and physical experiences that you could otherwise miss out on if you’re touring alone. A good guide shares stories and relevant snippets of history that add depth to your experience. Plus you’ll get the chance to learn by asking your guide questions on the spot – this means when you share your travel experience with your clients/customers/audience you’re more likely to report the facts!
4. Stay Safe
If you’re not keen or confident to explore a new city alone, then a guided tour is the perfect option for you. Being a part of a group reduces the risk of being a victim of petty crime, plus you won’t have to worry about getting lost! Depending on what type of tour you’re doing, your guide should be trained to keep you safe and healthy. I was keen to explore Bangkok by bike and I’m extremely glad I had our tour guide to help navigate the crazy traffic AND keep us alive!
As rewarding and exciting as solo business travel is, it can also be quite lonely. Taking in the wonders of a Thai temple or sampling authentic Korean BBQ isn’t the same when it’s done alone. Being a part of a guided tour offers you the opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded people and share in new life experiences. It’s quite likely that not everyone within your group will be your cup of tea, but even if you just hit it off with one person, they may turn into a life-long friend! Priceless!
So why not consider taking a guided tour on your next work trip so you get the most out of your heard earned leisure time!