Local tours come in different durations and sizes. Some travellers prefer short programs, targeting a specific set of sights or activities, while others would rather an agency take care of the whole experience. One option does not trump the other—it boils down to travel style.
Likewise, tours can be private or open. Smaller guide-to-follower ratios often cost more but provide refined, intimate experiences. Regardless, tours of any kind will be more expensive than going it alone, so you must consider the pros and cons to determine if they’re right for you.
Guided tours remove travel stress. Your group leader will know the sights and the history, plus he or she will settle the logistics long before you depart. This means less time booking events and arranging transportation. It may also mean greater access to attractions and behind-the-scenes opportunities.
Group tours often visit places of broad interest. Unless you book an activity-specific tour (i.e. art, adventure, leisure), then expect somewhat of an eclectic tour. Sometimes, this is great—you discover new things and feel completed as a traveller. At other times, though, you may find yourself at destinations you would have otherwise not cared to see. In fact, this is the largest complaint with tours: they often go to touristy and commercial areas.
Group tours provide ample opportunities to make new friends abroad. That said, they demand more compromise. Not everyone will get his or her way, and the rest of the group must remain open-minded about the activities. Furthermore, you may not get along with everyone in the group. For introverts or those with confrontational personalities, this may lead to discomfort or conflict.
Lastly, group travel moves along at a set pace. You have little time to stop, rest or detour. This lack of flexibility frustrates some travellers.