5 Fantastic Reasons to Book an Escorted Tour to Australia
Australia is a country that has to be seen to be believed. Its pristine beaches, endless deserts, and lush rainforests, combined with its laid-back towns and trendy urban neighborhoods, make it one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. And it’s an easy enough country to get around on your own. But with so much to see over such a large area, if you’re limited on time, what’s the best way to make the most of a trip to Australia? A guided tour may make all your dreams down under come true.
I’ll admit: I used to be skeptical of escorted tours. Why choose a tour when I’m fully capable of planning a trip on my own? But several day tours throughout my travels proved to be phenomenal experiences, and the next thing I knew, I was blocking out three weeks of my 2016 South America trip for a tour through Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. When that trip proved to be three of the best weeks of my entire life, I knew I’d long been underestimating the value of guided tours. Here are a few reasons seeing Australia by escorted tour is a fantastic option.
Save Time Planning
Personally, planning travel is one of my favorite hobbies. However, now that I’m working full-time again, I realize how quickly my time gets eaten up. I’m left with minimal time to plan in as much depth as I’d like. And even when I was backpacking between jobs, after several months of non-stop travel, I was desperate for a break from researching and booking every step of my adventures. This is where great tours really came in handy.
Whether you’re short on time or just don’t want to get bogged down in all the details, escorted tours can be a real time and effort saver. Rather than worrying about figuring out which transcontinental flight will afford you the most sleep, how to get from Sydney to Melbourne, where you should stay when visiting Uluru, and what you should see in each destination down under, you can sit back, relax, and focus on the journey itself. Plus, contrary to popular belief, escorted tours can actually save you money by making sure you’re getting the best deals on all transportation, accommodation, and tickets, all without the pain of negotiation.
See Something Different
One of the biggest reasons travelers avoid escorted travel is they’re looking for freedom to do what they want when they want. I do believe that a certain degree of flexibility is essential when traveling, and most tours do provide quite a bit of options and free time so that you can make the trip your own. I’ve found, though, that having my itinerary partially dictated by someone or something else—whether that be travel buddies, tight schedules, or a guided tour—has actually led to some of my very favorite travel experiences. Sometimes the best moments of them all are cities, museums, restaurants, or activities you would have never chosen on your own but that wind up exceeding expectations.
Escorted travel also allows you to see spots that may be inaccessible on a self-guided trip. Had I toured South America entirely on my own, for example, I would have hopped from one major city to the next. I likely still would have fallen in love with the continent, but I would have missed out on some of the real highlights that would have been difficult to reach by planes, trains, or coaches. Camping in the Argentinean countryside or exploring an abandoned Bolivian mining town were some of the true highlights of my trip but would have been near impossible on my own.
On that note, when it comes to Australia specifically, it’s a huge country that visitors often underestimate. It’s not a country that’s easy to get around, and some of Australia’s best sights can only really be reached by car. And driving in another country can definitely be stressful. Road rules differ, and, depending on where you’re coming from, driving on the “wrong” side of the road in Australia can be quite the challenge.
Escorted tours save you the hassle of having to rent a rental car and get around on your own. For overland travel, some tours book tickets on existing train or coach journeys, while others offer a private bus that will transport you throughout the entire trip. And when air travel is ideal because your next destination is just too damn far, as is often the case in Australia, an escorted tour removes the stress of booking the right flights and getting to and from the airport.
Learn from an Expert Guide
Whenever I travel, I love to soak up as much information as I can about everything I encounter. Picking up phrases in foreign languages, learning historical facts in museums, and hearing locals’ or fellow travelers’ perspectives are things I absolutely eat up while on the road. But there’s also a lot of fascinating information you miss out on when traveling on your own.
Guides on escorted tours can make any destination come to life by sharing history, insights, and other tidbits each stop along the way. They also serve as translators, can recommend restaurants away from the tourist traps, and share an understanding of local culture that you may have never otherwise had access to on your own. If you want to learn as much as you can about a destination even with limited time there, there’s nothing like having a guide to show you the way.
I’ve traveled with groups small and large, and I’ve traveled solo. I’ve met other travelers along the way, and I’ve stuck to myself for days at a time. I love experiencing varying degrees of socializing, but I can also safely say that some of the very greatest people in the world I know are those I met while traveling. There’s nothing like the adrenaline and awe of being in a foreign destination to bring people together.
My personal favorite reason to take an escorted tour is the built-in group of friends that come with one. You wind up getting to know people from every walk of life, all with one important thing in common: a passion for travel. Some of the people I’ve met on tours provided entertaining conversation or amusing anecdotes for a day before we parted ways, while others will probably be in my life forever. Either way, those trips wouldn’t have been half as incredible as they are without the people who made them special.
When it comes down to it, I’m an advocate for any kind style of travel, as long as it gets you out in the world. For those looking to get the most out of a trip, though, escorted tours can be an excellent option that will save you time, stress, and sometimes money while making your journey even more memorable. Just be sure when you go to tell Australia that Kirstie says g’day!