Tours & Trips

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Guide to Tours and Trips

You’ve been waiting for this moment. You finally have free time to travel overseas and the entire world is your oyster. You can just imagine the amazing food, magical wildlife, and stunning beaches. And yes, you will finally get to practice speaking another language with locals!

Sometimes you want to see the world and don’t even know where to begin. Yes, you’ve heard of the ten most popular countries to visit this year, but still… if you are like most new travelers, you have no idea how to visit those places on your wishlist.

If this sounds like you, then guided tours are about to become your best friend. Booking tours for your trip is a stress-free way to experience new places -- and tours these days don’t sacrifice cultural immersion. They’ll show you the hottest places to travel and even include local insight tourist guidebooks fail to mention.

There’s nothing more awesome than dreaming about all your bucket list destinations and having a tour finally help you see them. If you have more questions about guided, self-guided, and independent trips, we have an entire section of guided tour articles on Go Overseas.

Types of Travel

What is the difference between guided, self-guided, and independent travel?

A guided tour is usually booked through a program provider or tour agency and are usually all-inclusive group trips that follow a dedicated itinerary. This type of tour is perfect for first-time travelers, or vacationers seeking a hands-off planning process. These tours also offer the most value, thanks to special group rates.

Self-guided tours are usually itineraries commissioned through a travel company that are carried out by the traveler. These tours do not include a guide on the trip and offer a hybrid both independence and expert advice. They are perfect for exploring well-beaten routes with adequate signage.

Independent travel is often seen as the most adventurous way to travel the world, although not necessarily because of its challenging tours. The true difficulty comes from having to plan every last bit of your trip -- which can be confusing and exhausting. Independent travel is best suited for people looking to build an itinerary on a budget with flexible scheduling.

Read more about the difference between these three types of travel tours.

Why Book a Guided Tour

If you are looking to adventure abroad but don’t know where to start, the first thing you should do is decide whether you feel comfortable planning and leading your entire trip. If not, a guided tour might be the best fit for your adventure.

Guided tours will take the stress away from coordinating logistics and travel plans, so you can spend more time experiencing and less time worrying. They are great for travelers on a limited schedule who want to make the most of their trip, solo travelers who thrive in group travel settings, and off-the-beaten-path destinations that prove dangerous to explore without a guide.

Holiday Tours

Travel can get quiet hectic in cities and countries known for their holiday festivities, year-round. Booking a guided tour to experience the holidays overseas will allow you to secure high-season hotel rooms, day tours, and insider knowledge about local traditions. You might even score extra perks thanks to your tour guide’s connections.

If holiday travel is on your radar, consider these holiday festivals worth traveling for. Events like the Holi Festival in India, Oktoberfest in Germany, La Tomatina in Spain, and Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria are some of the best.

Budget-Friendly Tours

It is no surprise that a large portion of guided tours are pricier than the average backpacker budget. Don’t give up hope yet, there are still plenty of ways you can book a budget-friendly tour to travel to your favorite countries.

Independent travel affords you the privilege of shopping day tours that are a better fit for smaller budgets. Search for affordable hostels and dining spots on your own to save money during your trip, and seek less costly half-day trips for guided tours. Usually budget accommodations advertise tours that offer pricing in line with their room rates.

Here is a list of things to look for when booking budget-friendly guided tours. Remember to keep an eye out for pricey “extras” and marked up experiences.

Preparation

Trips and tours abroad may seem glamorous and exciting, but a robust tour itinerary can quickly become taxing. In order to survive the adventure overseas, a bit of physical fitness will help.

Consider your upcoming itinerary and the activities lined up along your tour. Will there be multi-day treks or long days of walking? Will you visit high-altitude destinations or be required to hold a heavy backpack of camping supplies?

Before your trip, get supportive shoes that fit the tour’s upcoming activities and break them in with constant walking and hiking. You’ll slowly build strength and endurance -- and your body will thank you for it later.

How Go Overseas Works

Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor of abroad programs: here you can browse and discover high school abroad programs to your heart's delight. Just like a trusted travel buddy, we want to help you find the right information and feel excited and confident about your first or next culturally immersive trip overseas. We know sometimes having an abundance of options can be overwhelming, so we have a few tips on how to use Go Overseas to find the perfect transformative travel program for you.

  1. Browse 16,000+ programs: Narrow your search results by using filters, such as program type, location, and length.

  2. Read 35,000+ Reviews: Real people have gone on these programs, and have experiences to share. Read alumni reviews on any program that interests you to get an idea of what it's really like to be on the ground, overseas.

  3. Read 5,700+ Interviews: For any program that really sparks your interest, read personal stories and in-depth accounts from travelers like you. If you'd like to reach out and hear more from the traveler who left an interview, let us know and we'll help connect you.

  4. Browse community photos: Pictures of food, accommodations, adventures, and people (oh, the friends you'll make!) in program community galleries will help you visualize yourself abroad.

  5. Wish List 💙: Not ready to commit to a program? Click the Wish List heart icon to bookmark programs and save them for later. Then, compare programs side by side.

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