Thinking about taking a guided tour through Eastern Europe or parts of Eastern Europe? There are disadvantages and advantages to booking a guided tour. The following advantages and disadvantages may help you in making a decision about whether or not you want to join a tour group or explore Eastern Europe on your own.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Advantage: Set Price of TourBooking a guided tour through Eastern Europe may be the most cost effective choice for you, especially if you know you only have a set amount of money to spend. Most tours will advertise their prices according to the dates you would like to travel through Eastern Europe; dates that are at either end of the typical tourist seasons are usually priced at lower rates. This can help you decide when to travel according to your budget, as well.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Disadvantage: Surprise SurchargesIf you're going to book a guided tour through Eastern Europe, be sure to read the fine print that comes with the information about your tour package. Surcharges and taxes are often not a part of the adverised price of the guided tour, and these can add up to be significant chunks of change, especially for those travelers on budgets. Always make sure you know exactly what you will have to pay outside of the basic cost of a guided tour so you aren't hit with surprise surcharges.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Advantage: Traveling in a GroupFor women and senior travelers (and sometimes minorities), traveling in a group can offer safety, comfort, and companionship. It can also be an opportunity to make new friends and share experiences with people who may have different perspectives. Traveling in a guided group tour is often what gets first-time travelers' appetites whetted for more travel, and gives them confidence to explore Eastern Europe on their own.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Disadvantage: Lack of FlexibilityOf course, when you travel with a guided tour through Eastern Europe, you'll have a schedule to stick to. You may travel through countries or cities that you have already seen en route to new locales, or you may find that you would prefer to attend an event or see an attraction that is out of the way for the guided tour. Check the schedule of the guided tour and do some research if you are at all in doubt about your satisfaction with the schedule of sights and events planned.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Advantage: Groups Can See MoreGuided group tours to Eastern Europe may offer travelers opportunities to see a greater area of Eastern Europe than would be convenient or practical while traveling alone. While you may spend less time in one location, you'll see a greater range of sights that you probably would traveling on your own for the same length of time.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Disadvantage: Not Enough Time in One AreaGuided tours through Eastern Europe generally move pretty quickly from one location to the next. This may prevent you from really experiencing specific areas of Eastern Europe.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Advantage: Knowledgeable Tour GuidesIf your guided tour has a knowledgeable and personable tour guide, your experience may really come alive. After all, practiced tour guides know inside information about the stops along the route of the tour, and if you have a good tour guide, you'll be able to ask plenty of questions so you understand what you're seeing and why it's significant.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Disadvantage: Guides Vary in QualityA bad guide versus a good one can make the difference between a rotten guided tour and a great guided tour through Eastern Europe. I8t's true that you don't know what kind of guide you'll get until you are actually on tour, so you take your chances with guided tours' guides.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Advantage: No Worries about the Language BarrierTraveling with a guided tour through Eastern Europe means that you don't have to worry about the language barrier. Access to attractions and transportation will be facilitated by your guide, who will know the local languages as well as English. While the language barrier is becoming less of a problem in Eastern Europe, some travelers may still find it to be intimidating to negotiate exhanges with locals who speak English poorly.
Eastern Europe Guided Tour Disadvantage: No Opportunity to Mingle with LocalsGuided tours through Eastern Europe keep travelers isolated from the locals to certain degrees. Because travelers do not have to negotiate for rides, dine without the help of fellow travelers, or expose themselves to events and attractions of their choice, travelers on guided tours through Eastern Europe will still maintain a Westerner's perspective of this region. Not having the opportunity to mingle with the locals means that a certain understanding of culture and society will not be gained by travelers who choose guided tours.