By Qi

Traveling is always a great way to spend your vacation. People can visit new places, learn new cultures, and meet new people. Not only can we explore the world, but we can also explore ourselves. There are basically two ways of traveling: in a group led by a tour guide and independently. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. By traveling in a group, you will enjoy the companionship, comfort and safety of group travel, and gain more information about the site from a tour guide; while traveling independently, you can have a flexible schedule and be free to go anywhere you would like to go. From my point of view, traveling in a group led by a tour guide is a better way.

To begin with, the main reason that I choose to travel in a group with a tour guide is safety concern. The tour guides are usually individuals who have been living in this city/country for many years or who have came to this city/country many times with advanced language skills. Hence, they are very familiar with the local laws and rules and can have a good communication with local people. They will inform tourists where they can and cannot go; what they can and cannot do. Tour guides can help tourists avoid dangers and unnecessary troubles. For example, Chicago is famous for its architecture, art &science museums and culture, but the south side of Chicago is dangerous for tourists, particularly at night. You may encounter mugging, violence and gunshot. Hence, it is important to know in advance where one can go. Another important thing the tour guides can help you with is to be aware of local customs and manners. For example, for women who would like to travel to Muslim countries, they should wear appropriate clothes. Wearing a mini skirt or shorts can cause some troubles, especially for single women. In addition, when entering a mosque, non-Muslim tourists should stay respectful. Hence, the tour guide will be very helpful in giving you guidelines.

Secondly, traveling in a group led by a tour guide can save money and time. Travel agencies would book tickets and hotels for tourists, so it is possible that they can get better discounts. Some travel agencies have their own doctor. If tourists have an urgent medical condition, the doctor would provide first aid. Even if the doctor could not handle the problem, the tour guide would be able to take tourists to the nearest hospital. Besides, the experienced guide will plan the schedule and select the best route. They know what vehicles to use, how long to stay at an attraction, where to dine, where to go shopping and so on. If tourists are in a group, they may get express entry, while individuals have to wait in a long line. Besides, tour guides can make sure you do not miss any important spots. When I travel alone, I often spend too much time on one site and fall behind my schedule. In addition, the escorts have extensive knowledge of the local culture and history, so they can tell you stories that you will not hear when you travel alone.

Last but not least, traveling in a group can provide more fun and joy than traveling alone. Tourists can make new friends and share their experience. They can chat with each other while waiting and play card games in the hotel. I still remember the happy time I spent with my group member when I traveled with a group, though it is difficult to keep in touch with them after the travel.

To summarize, traveling in a group led by a tour guide is a good choice if you would like to save time and money. You can enjoy your trip without worrying about the schedule, transportation, and accommodation. However, if you are quite familiar with the place you are going to visit, traveling alone might be more suitable for you.