Guide: Tips for Hiring a Guide

Guide, or no guide….that is the question.

Well, Shakespeare would disagree, but who asked him? LOL!

Is a guide right for you?


Guides can be very valuable. They can give you background on the sites, history, culture, and take you down paths you didn’t know existed. They can help out before hand with arranging the trip of your dreams. To decide whether or not a guide is for you you need to ask yourself a question:

What type of traveler are you?

  1. I’m on vacation! I don’t want to research.

You like to go and experience with no previous research. You want someone to meet you at the door and take care of all the arrangements like how to get there, how to get in without standing in a line, and take you around explaining everything.

2) I’m on vacation! I can do all the research I want!

You like to research everything and do it yourself. You have read the books, refreshed your memory about the history of the area and have learned the difference between sultan and king. You know a few words in the local language and are prepared for the dress code in mosques and churches. You know where a backpack is allowed and where you will have to check it at the door. Is photography allowed? With or without flash? You know the answer! You have a spread sheet showing the times and dates everything is open including when the busiest times are and which day it is closed.

But….What what if you prefer to travel in the middle?

1) Use a guide to get the feel of things.

You like to use a guide for a little while. Perhaps the first day you get to a new location, hire a guide to give you a lay of the land. They can fill you in one the local customs and get you ready to pursue things on your own.

2) Use a guide so you don’t miss out on something really important.

Use a guide for a really big and important sight like the Vatican. When you have a spot that is so big entire college courses are taught on them, a guide can be a great idea to help you narrow down the information. They also answer questions!

3) Use a guide to learn even more.

Use a guide if you have been to a sight before. When we visited Pompeii, part of our group had been before and thus had already scratched the surface of this destination. We hired a guide who was able to give us an even deeper understanding which made it fun and interesting for the entire group!

If you are a planner before hand and need or want help – Give me a shout! Ebooks for the kids are a great idea no matter your traveling style!!

kids in Spain

Happy travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist



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15 Responses

  1. I have never used a guide but I am beginning to really like the idea of it. It makes things a lot more simple and you learn things you would not learn otherwise. I think I will try it next time

  2. Ha Truong says:

    I haven’t hired a guide yet, but I use free walking tour when I travel. It’s way better to explore places with a guide since I can understand about it more.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Those are great options, too! The price sure is right! We love to walk and see things but have not tried a specific walking tour…now that you say that…I need to look into it! Thanks for the tip!

  3. stace16 says:

    I do allot of research before my trips! So im usually ok to go it alone. Sometimes having a guide is nice so they can tell you stuff the locals know that you may not find in a guidebook!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I agree! Sometimes I choose a guide for one important site..for example, the colosseum or a mosque in Turkey to add to the research I’ve done. You can’t beat the locals giving you their opinion!

  4. Excellent question 🙂 Love your perspective. I always think that most of the times you need a guide as a local who’d help you not with the research that you’d get on google anyway but the local flavour that you can get. The interactions are priceless! 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Thank you! It is very personal in terms of how you absorb information and the culture. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. yukti says:

    I have always used google as a guide. But from last two trips I am usong local guides. These local guides are helpful in mixing up with locals and culture

  6. Kevan says:

    I certainly fall in the middle. There is some really good advice here. I especially agree they are great for not missing something special. It’s their job to have inside information.

  7. I prefer to have a guide or join a group. They are very helpful especially if you want to maximize your time. They also share good travel stories and tips in finding nice local restaurants. However, I cannot afford to have guides always. I try to do things on my own as much as I could.

  8. asoulwindow says:

    Haha, love the way you started the blog with a joke. I personally feel that a guide is very important. I have visited the same monument twice, once without a guide and once with a guide. I prefer the human guides better than those audio guides though. The tips you have shared will help me choose my guides in a more useful way henceforth.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I’m with you on the audio guides being less than a human. I find the audio ones to be a little dry. AND you can ask questions of the human!

  9. I always like to do my own research, but I think certain historical sites – such as Aushcwitz (for example) should always be visited with a guide. Where there is so much to take in, it is better to have someone with a lot of knowledge to help you wade through it all and get the most from your visit.

  10. I believe that knowing about a place before going there is very important, Natalie! I really enjoy when we have a local guide!

  1. April 12, 2017

    […] you ever been to a museum and hired a tour guide? Did your eyes glaze over when they began to drone on and on (and on and on and on) about the […]

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