Backpacking vs. Guided Tours: Modern Travel Style Combines the Best of Both


When travelling abroad to an exotic location, it can be difficult for some tourists to decide how to balance their vacation between relaxation, exploration, and information. While it can be extremely rewarding for tourists to kick back and relax – especially on the warm beaches of the Caribbean Sea – it might not be as enriching of an experience as a tour guided by professionals and experts on the history, wildlife, and recreation of the area.

Though happening upon the wonderful aspects of a foreign culture is a fantastic challenge to experience in one’s life, it is certainly rare to be able to find all of the joys and gems of a culture without the advice and guidance of a professional.

The Benefits of Backpacking: Exploring a Culture from the Local Perspective

Backpacking affords tourists a unique vantage point while on vacation and travelling. This mode of travel embraces the spontaneity and whimsy associated with discovering the best parts of a location by wandering the streets, experimenting with tourism books and maps, and talking to the locals themselves. Backpacking can be an incredibly frugal option for those who are travelling on a limited budget, especially in the cases in which tourists take the time to consult from travel experts and do adequate research beforehand.

Perhaps the biggest benefit afforded by the backpacking approach to travel is freedom. Without a tour group or guide suggesting plans, tourists can make their own choices and follow their interests while travelling. Like in most situations, however, that freedom comes with a price: lack of expert knowledge, and the increased risks that come with unsupervised travel.

The Advantages of Learning from a Local: There’s More to Touring than Meets the Eye

Though backpacking allows you to experience more about local life, gastronomy, culture, and customs of your vacation destination, today’s tour guides use methods that allow their tourists to have authentic experiences. Guides who offer tours of Cuba, for instance, are able to offer a more hands-on experience for their groups, and allow the tourists to have a glimpse into a world that is often obscured from the eyes of visitors.

The independence that many backpackers crave can lead to mistakes in terms of planning a route, especially given all of the unwritten rules within unknown cultures. Tours also take a lot of the guesswork out of planning, which can be difficult when language and cultural barriers get in the way of your aspirations.

While backpacking, it is not uncommon that backpackers see very different sides of a city than the typical tourist. That being said, travelling as a backpacker can result in many uncomfortable, unpleasant, or even dangerous situations.

Without the supervision and guidance of a tour guide, many backpackers find themselves in trouble abroad because of, among other things, miscommunication or faulty advice/directions. Some travellers simply regret that they were not been more informed about the location they were visiting, and often they crave the ability to ask questions of an expert while on location.

The Best of Both Worlds: A Modern Approach to Guided Tours

When planning your next trip, engage in some online research in order to explore the guided tour options offered, especially those offered by newer tourism companies who are committed to designing events that meet the needs for freedom and independence of the modern traveller.

Though backpacking is often less expensive, many different package options are available from these companies at attractive price points, making it possible for tourists of any budget is able to take advantage of their services while exploring a new country abroad.

This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer interested in topics related to travel, health and business. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.


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