Private Tour Guide: Why Book One?

Private Tour Guide
Madson: Private Tour Guide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

When should you book a private tour guide?

Booking a private tour guide is an experience that most travelers have not had yet. Tourists usually take group tours, which are generally more widely promoted. Other tourists just explore the destination by themselves. However, there are a number of good reasons to book a private tour guide when visiting your next vacation spot. Here are some of them:

1. Book a private tour guide when you have little time.

When you have only a few hours, a day or even two days in a big city, it is hard to organize the sightseeing yourself (especially if it is a city with many places to visit). There are always things you cannot think of or predict such as traffic, lines, local holidays, and other elements that can consume more time to visit the tourist attractions than you had expected.

That is the moment when a private tour guide can make a huge difference. He can use his local knowledge and experience to pack as many places of interests as possible, saving you time, avoiding headaches and offering you a full-day tour with lots of sites.

Private tour guides usually have their own means of transportation such as a car, a minivan or other, to get you to the attractions faster. In other words, you can cover more ground in less time, and in a more comfortable and private way.

2. When you don’t want to take care of the logistics.

Maybe you work a lot and/or have already a lot to think of at work, so when you go on vacation you just want to hand over the excursion and touring logistics to someone else. Here is when a private tour guide can come in handy.

A professional private guide knows as the palm of his hand the attractions worth visiting. He can plan and organize all that is related to a private city tour: transportation, tickets, when and where to stop for good food and refreshments, opening hours, safer routes, best time to start the tour, best time to end the day, how to beat the crowd (if possible), and more.

No matter how much you have read and how many videos you have watched about the destination and its tourist attractions, it is unlikely that you will be able to organize the logistics in a way that a local private tour guide can.

3. Hire a private tour guide when you want to feel safer.

Some large metropolitan areas are famous for not being safe. So, if you value your safety, you should definitely consider booking a private tour guide. Local tour guides know when, where and how to go from A to B in a safe or safer way.

Reading as much as possible on the Internet, or asking the hotel staff, or studying maps and travel guidebooks, none of those can match the expertise of a private guide who does the same job day-in day-out for years. A private tour guide is, in general, the most indicated person to make the right decisions concerning your safety during the tour.

4. When you are a solo traveler.

There are pro’s and con’s of travelling alone, and you can minimize one of the con’s (solitude) by hiring a private guide for a half-day, or for a full-day tour. There are several advantages, besides having a company for the day. When a private tour guide has a group of only one person, he can, depending on the tour, move faster and pack more attractions into your private tour. In addition, he can show off-the-beaten-path sites he would not otherwise show for a bigger group. There are even cases when the private guide and the tourist become friends, and end up meeting again for a drink or a night out off-working hours.

5. If you are planning a long stay in the city, hire a private tour guide.

Maybe you are considering relocating. Maybe you just want to spend a whole month as a local. Maybe you want to practice the local language. Whatever is the reason of your long stay, a private guide can be very helpful if you book him for a day or two at the very beginning of your stay. Instead of showing you the major tourist attractions, he can instead, show places that locals go and give you dozens of tips on exploring the city at a slow pace, on how to live like a local, and on how to network. A local private guide can even introduce you to some of his friends and open doors that you would not otherwise open yourself.

6. Book a private tour guide when you want to learn the local culture.

If you are the type of person who likes to make questions, learn about the local culture and customs, and to interact with other people, than a private tour guide might be perfect for you. Private guides, in general, love speaking and listening, telling stories and interacting. A tour guide is essentially a people-person. If you are one too, that’s a match!

Private guides are used to answer almost all types of questions and they usually take proud in knowing the answers. Tour guides love learning and passing on their knowledge. So if want to learn, don’t hesitate in booking a private tour guide in your next vacation.

7. If you like special treatment.

If you don’t want to feel like you are one more on a bus full of tourists and that you are part of the crowd, then taking a private tour might be the perfect choice for you. You will have undivided attention from your tour guide for as long as the tour lasts. Besides, private guides go the extra mile to please their clients. So, in general, you will receive special treatment in a number of ways that will vary from tour guide to tour guide, and from private tour to private tour.

8. Book a private tour guide when visiting popular tourist attractions

You should definitely consider hiring a private tour guide when visiting a city with extremely popular tourist attractions. Iconic tourist attractions are usually very busy from opening until closing time, especially during the peak season.

Depending on the tourist attraction, it is not always easy to beat the crowds as a regular tourist. In many cases, money doesn’t talk either. The bottom line is you may be just another tourist visiting an attraction that receives thousands of tourists a day. But when you hire a private guide, things can be different. Experienced private tour guides usually know how to speed up the process of getting in, visiting it, getting it out, and moving on to the next attraction.

9. When there is a language barrier

There are many countries whose locals don’t speak English. During your stay, your hotel staff and your private tour guide may be the only people you come across with that speaks English fluently. That can be an issue: you may not understand the menu at all at restaurants, you may not understand the signs at all, and you may not understand anything at all that is written! In addition, in many places of interest there are no information in English whatsoever.

Fortunately, in the hands of a private guide these problems are solved. English-speaking tour guides can give relevant information at the tourist attractions; can translate menu, and much more. Accompanied by a local private tour guide you may not feel a language barrier at all during your stay.

10. Would you like to set your own pace? Hire a private tour guide.

Maybe you don’t want to see the major tourist attractions, or if you want so, you don’t want to do it at the pace of the big bus tours. Maybe you want to see more of the REAL city, the everyday life, and blend in with locals. Maybe you want a combination of non-touristy, lesser-known sites with major attractions. Well, then, hiring a private tour guide might be the best solution for you. Be aware, though, that not all private guides offer such a service.

11. Are you on a cruise? Book an independent private tour guide.

If you have taken a cruise before, you already know that cruises offer their own guided tours. The major advantage of taking them is that if by any chance the tour is late back to the ship, the captain usually won’t depart without the tour participants (because the cruise ship sold the tour).

On the other hand, cruise tours tend to be expensive. At some cruise ports there is no other way other than taking the cruise ship excursions to explore the area. However, in big cities there are a number of reputable private guides easily found online who can show you not only the major attractions as well as the lesser-known sites and still get back to the ship on time.

Of courses, there is some degree of risk of not getting back to the ship on time. However, if you hire an experienced guide, you minimize your chances of missing the ship.