It is almost unheard of that a large group comes to Israel without hiring a tour guide. But when you are coming with your family or a small group of friends or work colleagues, you might wonder if you really need a tour guide.
After all, with the social media, google maps, cell phones and all the other tools available today, how much can a guide really add to your experience, right? In fact, most people planning a trip never think of hiring a guide. However, there are some huge advantages to doing so and some huge disadvantages to not. The saying “Time is money” becomes especially relevant when traveling. The cost of flights, accommodations, transportation, entrance fees & meals can make any travel experience costly. Especially because of that, it is important to get the best value for your time and money. A private guide will add to that cost, no doubt, but you will gain so much more. Here are the best reasons to why hiring a licensed tour guide makes a difference:
Even an average tour guide will save you TIME, your most valuable commodity on a trip. When you take any tour guide, you will not waste time getting lost, arriving at sites that are closed or trying to find your way around. Can you imagine what a great one would do? Whether helping plan your trip before you arrive, getting from place to place while you’re here, or utilizing their familiarity with various sites all over the country, this is a huge time saver. On average you will see twice as much in any given day with a guide than you will on your own and it will be stress free.
Any licensed tour guide in Israel goes through a two-year training in all aspects of Israel’s history, topography, geography, religions, minorities, culture, flora, fauna and much more. With a great guide you will always get answers to all your questions and you will actually understand what it is that you are taking a picture of.
A knowledgeable tour guide will introduce you to places and people that you would never have even known existed on your own. Believe it or not, not everything can be found on world-wide web. A great guide can transform your trip from one of “sightseeing” into that of “insight seeing” through their understanding of who YOU ARE.
When you have a great tour guide, everyone knows that there is a professional in charge. In any family trip or small group there is a moment that all of a sudden a conflict over who is in charge occurs. If any small thing goes wrong the arguments start and each member knows exactly how to proceed and where to go (or do they?). With a great guide, a family vacation stays a time to enjoy each other and spend time together and does not become stressful and unpleasant. We have seen numerous times how drastically this can change the entire dynamic of a family trip.
If you want to start early, late, take time off- these personalized preferences become a reality. Flexibility During the Tour is crucial as things may change. A great guide’s ability to flow with the changes or your desires can transform experiences into highlights, allowing more time to be spent and focused on your interests. Even if you agreed on an amazing tour plan, with a great guide, you don’t have to stick to the actual schedule. The tour is totally flexible to any change you wish to make as you go, apart from pre-set and pre-paid activities, of course.
A great guide can really feel like a guardian angel, as they provide you with a sense of protection, in unfamiliar places or from unfamiliar experiences. In the Middle East almost everything is negotiable and that can be incredibly uncomfortable for most westerners. A great tour guide will make sure you got a better deal on everything. You may find that the guide’s fee is actually paid for in this way. You are probably spending thousands of dollars a day on your family trip to Israel, between airfare, hotels, restaurants, shopping etc., a great guide will make sure you get as much value out of your trip as possible.
And when issues come up along the way? it is the guides responsibility to deal with them while you take it easy. Often people comment that the days they toured with a great guide were the best part of their family vacation, even if only because everyone finally got along.
Last, having another adult with you sounds uncomfortable, and sometimes it can be. That’s why you shouldn’t go with just any guide, but with a great guide! Look up their reviews on TripAdvisor and see what type of experiences people had with them. A great guide becomes almost like a family member, definitely most leave feeling they have gained a new friend.
There are numerous additional advantages to having a great guide with you but those are the main ones and they are things you should seriously consider when making your decision about whether or not to hire a tour guide for your trip. Even if you decide not to hire a great guide for the entire time, you may consider a portion of your visit. You will thank me later 😉