tallinnWhether you want to dine on Peking Duck in China, or sample red wine at a vineyard in Tuscany, there is no easier vacation than an escorted tour. Here are the top reasons to consider an escorted tour for your next vacation experience.


Escorted tours are a fantastic value. Your hotels, guided sightseeing, ground transportation and some meals (and wine) are all included. This saves you as much as 40 percent off the price of planning an equivalent itinerary on your own, and reduces out-of-pocket expenses.


You travel with a pro. An escorted tour group is accompanied by a tour director. This person helps with everything from coordinating hotel check-in and baggage handling to giving advice on restaurants and pointing out hidden gems. The tour director has a deep knowledge of the destination and can really help you understand its history and culture. In foreign destinations, he or she can help with any language barriers.


There’s safety in numbers. For many travelers, a guided tour is the preferred way to visit the safari countries of Africa, the ancient wonders of Asia or an unfamiliar city anywhere in the world.


Someone else does the driving. Tour guests travel in comfortable, air-conditioned motor coaches, trains, riverboats or other small ships. There’s no need to worry about manoeuvring a rental car along foreign roads while grappling with maps and attempting to decipher unfamiliar road signs.


You’ll bypass long lines. Tour itineraries often include entrance to top museums and attractions, so you won’t have to wait in line or pay admission fees. Instead, you’ll walk right on in. Plus tour companies are often able to offer exclusive access to otherwise restricted sites.


Guided tours offer experiences that you may not be able to have on your own. Many tour operators incorporate unique cultural opportunities into itineraries. Your group may visit a local family in their home, take a cooking class at a restaurant, get a behind-the-scenes tour of a noted attraction, or enjoy a private performance of traditional dance and music.


Coach tours are no longer the sole preserve of the octogenarian traveler – honeymooners, multi-generational groups and late-boomers in their 40s and 50s are enthusiastic converts. Families are another emerging group as parents look for unique travel experiences to share with their children. Trafalgar offers “Family Experiences” in Europe, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, the U.S. and South America. You and the kids can zip down Oregon’s Rogue River in a high-speed jet boat, meet llamas and make pottery in Peru or visit a chocolate factory in Switzerland. In Italy, your child can make pizza in Rome, decorate a Carnaval mask in Venice, enjoy a gelato tasting in Florence, and enroll in Gladiator School. Knowing that adults and kids vacationing together might like to spend a little time apart from each other, Adventures by Disney has developed trips that include separate activities for children (games, scavenger hunts and screenings of Disney films) and for adults (wine tastings and quiet dinners), but most of the fun is meant to be shared together on this high-end family tours.


And today’s touring styles range from the traditional snapshot panoramic trips to in-depth regional explorations and leisurely journeys with multi-night stops and a combination of free time and escorted sightseeing. A quality coach tour operator will put you in a centrally located hotel, close to the action in major cities. Most tours include daily breakfast and about half of the evening meals, with some featuring local cuisine and cultural entertainment.


No matter what part of the world you want to visit, a guided tour can take you there in comfort and style. Whether planning a honeymoon, a family vacation, or a once in a lifetime adventure, there have never been more options and possibilities in guided touring. Coach touring is a low-hassle, high-enjoyment way to explore the world and meet new friends. With the details handled by tour staff – you don’t even have to carry your own bags or make restaurant reservations – you’re free to relax and absorb the sights and sounds of your destination. And if you’ve ever tried to drive in Rome at rush hour, you’ll be glad to let someone else take the wheel. Contact me to find the perfect guided tour for you.


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Lisa Taylor TPI is an independent owner, affiliated with TPI.