We’re answering your questions and diving deep into one of our favorite topics: Guided tours! We have done several prix fixe vacations using guided tour companies like Gate1 Travel, Alpaca Expeditions, and Viking River Cruises. We are BIG fans of guided tours!
A listener messaged us asking to do an episode on guided tours – how to find them, how to determine if a guided vacation tour is a good price, recommend a few travel tour companies, and dedicate a whole episode to the pros and cons of this style of travel.
We have made great friends on these trips, we have seen amazing places, and we have learned interesting bits about the local ancient history and modern culture from our tour guides. This is a really unique way to travel where you don’t have to plan a single thing and you are truly taken care of throughout the trip. It’s also a great way to explore a country where the language is hard to grasp or its on the more dangerous side. The tour guide and pre-planned trip make it easy on you to enjoy new countries without worrying about safety, time, or how to get to another place.
Best of all with a guided travel tour you get to experience locals-only places to experiences you otherwise would not realize were there! In Xi’an China on one of our guided tours we danced and sang in the park with senior Chinese locals and that was one of the most magical experiences we’ve had. We will never forget that. Had we done China on a self-guided tour we never would have thought to go there and would not have had the same experience even if we did go.
We have episodes on the guided tours we’ve done, check them out there:
Guided Tours – Episode Transcript
Hello fellow travelers
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today, we are giving you the low down talking all about Guided Tours.
1 (1m 6s):
I love Guided Tours, you know, at first, when Jamal was like, Hey, let’s go on a Guided tour guys. I was like, Hmm, I don’t know about that. I just like to plan things. And I just like to have things organized in my own way, but I was willing to give it a shot and I am so glad I did because I am obsessed with booking Guided Tours. Now
2 (1m 26s):
I also love me a good Guided tour. After going on that first one to China, I realize there is so much to love about just showing up and enjoying the trip. Now don’t get me wrong. I do love to plan, and I love to get excited and research things and explore. And you can definitely still do that with Guided Tours. You, you do wanna do the research on the itinerary that they give you, but you don’t have to worry about how to get to the airport, how to get from the airport to the hotel or from city to city, how to translate, where to eat, what to eat, they plan all of that for you. They take out all of the hard work of travel, so you can just enjoy the relaxing and the nature. And, and just the fun part.
2 (2m 6s):
3 (2m 7s):
You know, a lot of people really ask us like why Guided Tours? And I do feel like, and we’re gonna dive into this obviously in depth throughout this episode. But I feel like a lot of places really lend themselves to be conducive for Guided Tours. Whereas there’s some places where I’d be like, you know, I really wouldn’t do that as a Guided tour. I want do it on my own. So we’re gonna touch upon that in a lot more things of like what makes a good value for the Guided tour, which ones are better than the other things like that. But again, loves doing things on my own, but absolutely Guided Tours come in clutch.
2 (2m 37s):
And I do wanna thank Annie Munos Cameron for sending in this request because she actually had DMed us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast and asked if we could do an episode specifically dedicated to Gate one Tours. We thought we’d expand it to Guided Tours and really show how we find them and answer all of the questions that she had asked in RDMS.
1 (2m 59s):
Yeah. So thank you Annie, for that. And if any of our other listeners have episode ideas, please go ahead and DM us with those because we do take that into consideration and we may base the whole episode off of an idea. You give us,
3 (3m 12s):
As soon as we saw this one come in from you, Annie, we knew we were like, yeah, we’re gonna do this episode and we’re gonna do it soon. So here it is for you
2 (3m 19s):
Excited about it because usually we plan out our episodes pretty far in advance and this one came in and within days we had outlined and booked it in to record today.
3 (3m 29s):
Well, I mean, you hear us repping Gate one all the time, so we’re gonna touch about Guided Tours in general, but quite honestly, most of our Guided tour experiences have been Gate one. So we’re gonna talk about it again. This is unsolicited by Gate one. This is all our own free talk and advice and everything, but we really, really do love it. And I hope we inspire you guys to really give the Guided tour a thought, especially for certain places in the world.
2 (3m 51s):
Speaking of that Gate one, you should go ahead and send this episode to Gate one because they really should be sponsoring us at this point. They really should.
1 (3m 59s):
They should. So as always, we’re gonna start with some tips for this episode.
2 (4m 4s):
Great tip to get good deals on Guided Tours is to sign up for the company’s email newsletter Gate one does a really good job of sending out notifications. I think weekly with different sales they’re having,
1 (4m 16s):
Yeah, they do have weekly sales and then sometimes for holidays, they’ll also have a holiday sale. So just keep an eye on those and watch the prices.
3 (4m 24s):
Speaking of that, I’m a little disappointed because our most upcoming Guided tour that we’re taking is going to be a gorilla Trek with Gate one in Uganda. And as soon as we booked it, maybe like a week later, they had a discount price for the tour and I’m just like, oh, we missed it. But they are always sending those good promos. So you gotta keep an eye out for it. We just happen to jump the gun. If you will,
2 (4m 46s):
Did you happen to call them and say, oh, I just booked this. I saw this sale
3 (4m 50s):
I did. And you know, we always rep Gate one, but it’s one of those things where, you know, If you book it beforehand, you book it beforehand. It is what it is. They don’t really go back into it. Yeah, absolutely.
1 (5m 1s):
Another tip we have for you is to know the cancellation policies for Guided Tours. We’re not just talking about Gate one, we’re talking about any Guided tour. You wanna know what their cancellation policies are. Gate one has a pretty flexible cancellation policy, especially after COVID typically you put down like a deposit and then you’ll have your trip booked. You do have to pay by a certain time, but If you choose not to pay, then you can decide to book and just use the deposit for another trip in the future.
3 (5m 30s):
Right? So again, with any company you are gonna potentially be going with, look into that, like you said, is my deposit fully refundable in cash. If I don’t pay by the final due date, or if it’s not fully refundable back to me and cash, do I have that full amount for a different trip that I want to take if I’m not going on this one? So definitely be sure to read the fine print on all sorts of things regarding it. But I don’t say that to intimidate. It’s just one of those things you should do in general. And it’s good to know.
2 (5m 57s):
Fine print. Yeah. Very important. I think one little thing about a lot of Guided Tours, including Gate one is that the prices per two persons per room. So they’re assuming that you’re gonna be sharing a room with someone else and
3 (6m 10s):
If almost like a cruise.
2 (6m 11s):
Exactly. And if you’re not, there is usually an extra fee for you to have your solo room.
3 (6m 17s):
One person supplement another really good tip is look into the travel insurance. I mean, these are Guided Tours. Lots of things can potentially change. Now if something changes on their end, for whatever reason trip gets canceled, especially in the day and age of COVID. A lot of times, you know, at least with Gate one that happened to us for Morocco, our money, even though we didn’t buy the travel insurance was fully refunded back to us because it was out of their control. But anything for you, you get sick, you can’t go, something comes up in your personal life, always look into the travel insurance. And I guess that plays into reading the fine print on the cancellation policies. And they kind of go hand in hand together and make sure and decide, is it worth it for you given the circumstances.
1 (7m 1s):
And as we’re talking about insurance in general, you may also wanna look to see if they offer any travel health insurance. You can always buy that out of pocket. Jamal actually sells that. So we just buy it directly through him. But one time, Jamal, Jamal chipped his tooth in another country and he could have taken time out of our tour to go get that fixed because the travel health insurance did cover that
3 (7m 24s):
I’ve had a client who’s been traveling internationally, bought the travel health insurance from me and utilized service. So it’s all encompassing like travel medical. Don’t think this is trip cancellation. Oh, I lost my bag. This is completely God forbid something work to happen to me. I need to go to the hospital, fill a prescription, see a doctor or even something as trivial, as Brittanie said, go to the dentist for whatever reason it is covered. I know we have a link on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, where you can access the travel insurance and purchase it yourself from our website. And I highly recommend, even if you’re not doing a Guided tour, whenever you go internationally, it should always be something that you buy.
2 (8m 7s):
I would also recommend it. And it is available on our website. It’s also really cheap. I think, depending on your trip, your age, it can be like 20, 30 bucks. So really low cost for a lot of protection on one of our Guided Tours, actually with Gate one in China, in China, yes, someone did get sick and I don’t know exactly what happened to her, but she ended up having to stay in the Chinese hospital and not leave with the
3 (8m 30s):
Group. Yeah. She missed her flight home. Her and her husband stayed behind while she was admitted to the hospital. So people do get sick on trips and obviously accidents and injuries happen. So don’t go without it.
1 (8m 41s):
And the last tip we have for you is a tip that we use. And it’s when, when we pick a place to go with a Guided tour, it’s usually because we think it may be difficult to get around or that it, there would be a huge language barrier. And so, so that’s how we end up picking our trips. And so If you can get around and do the trip your own, we may not recommend a Guided tour for that. But if you’re worried about language or transportation or safety, for whatever reason, then a Guided tour would be great for you
2 (9m 10s):
Also really good If you are not as mobile, there’s a lot of on the Gate. One Tours, older generations that join these Tours because they don’t want to, or they can’t walk as much. So it’s really great for that as well. Or just, If you wanna kick back and relax,
3 (9m 25s):
I was gonna say, you know, Brittanie mentioned the reasons why we do it for a lot of locations, but let’s not kid ourselves. We talked about it. One of the best things about it is there’s no thinking you just show up and everything’s planned for you. Don’t have to figure out where am I eating tonight? What are we doing today? Choosing the itinerary it’s chosen for you. And I know that might not be conducive for a lot of people, but sometimes especially If you travel a lot, it’s really nice to just kick back and relax in a sense it’s highly active, but you don’t gotta do the legwork to get to that activity.
1 (9m 53s):
It’s less prone for freakouts. You know how many times people freak out when you have to pick dinner and everyone has a different idea. Miss
2 (10m 1s):
Your miss, miss your train to another place.
3 (10m 4s):
I don’t think I have freakouts on Gate one. I’m just, just
2 (10m 6s):
Chilling. You manage to still have freakouts. Jamal.
3 (10m 9s):
It’s just part of my awesome personality. You know, we all talk trash about it, but we get a good laugh at the end of the day as we are now talking about.
1 (10m 17s):
So Jamal just has less freak out on this. These types of trips, we’ve done a good amount of Guided Tours. A Squad did a Guided tour to China. We also went to Ecuador in September of 2021, Jamal Zana. And I went to Africa with some friends and we did a Adriatic coast Guided tour, just Jamal and I for one of our anniversaries. And that went to like Albania, Monte Nero, Croatia, and Slovenia. So that was really cool. We’ve also done a Viking river Cruises, which is a different type of Guided tour in a way.
3 (10m 51s):
Yeah, you would think, okay, I’ve been on a cruise before. I wouldn’t call a cruise, a Guided tour, but the Viking river Cruises is really are because you actually have your tour guide at every port and something is included for you to do tour wise. So I would put it in that category. Absolutely. As a Guided tour, or you could just choose, Hey, I don’t wanna do whatever they’re doing and do whatever you want yourself at port, but nothing to do or think about other than just show up on that Viking cruise.
1 (11m 17s):
Another Guided tour we’ve done, which is kind of also different is we all hiked the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. And that was a Guided hike. And that was really cool. And that was our first big trip together. And Kim’s first time really going internationally, right?
2 (11m 32s):
Yes. We used Alpaca Expeditions. They were fantastic. I mean, on Guided Tours, they always arrange your transportation and where you’re gonna stay, which of course they did on this hike as well. They set up your tent, they made all the food. They even carried a lot of your stuff, right? Five star,
3 (11m 49s):
Five star and fairness though, to hike the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. It is required by law that you do have to have Guided Tours and porters. Now, if you’re just gonna take the easy way out, which no judgment and show up via train to Machu Pichu, and just be there for the day, clearly you don’t need it to be Guided, but our hand was kind of forced in having to do the Guided tour. And I’m just gonna throw this out there. Anybody thinking about doing the Inca trail to macho Pichu definitely do Alpaca Expeditions. When we did all our research on tour companies, we pretty much figured out from reviews and other things that Alpaca was the best. And then we did it and saw how our tour was versus other Tours on the trail at that time.
3 (12m 29s):
And I can attest to that for sure. Five star Alpaca Expeditions for the Inca trail,
1 (12m 34s):
You know, for the most part for Guided Tours, we’re probably the youngest group on the tour and I really wanna encourage younger travelers to go for it. You know, we actually have met some younger couples, not a lot, but we have met some and it could really be beneficial for all ages. And we don’t see a lot of the younger generations on here, but it could be a very enjoyable trip for
2 (12m 55s):
You. And I will say the younger people that we have met on Gate one Tours have become some of our best friends,
1 (13m 2s):
Kasha and Ryan,
2 (13m 3s):
Billy and CJ,
1 (13m 4s):
Billy and CJ. And then, yeah, we also met Lincoln and Cynthia too.
3 (13m 9s):
Right? So, I mean, you definitely do meet the younger crowds on there, but If you are thinking to yourself, oh, I’m young. And you know, these things sound fun in terms of the Guided tour, but I really want more people who are young. We did have a podcast episode with Elise and Alex who are the owners and creators of here and now travel. And they are a travel tour company that specifically specializes in doing Tours with the younger generation, more adventurous Tours. So we hype up Gate one a lot, cuz we do love it. But if you’re looking for that more adventurous and most people in your same age category, definitely looking to here and now
2 (13m 50s):
They cater more to the 2030s crowd and I’m dying to go on one of their Tours. It seems so fun. And they’re so nice. And they actually join a lot of the Tours too. And I really wanna take them maybe to Greece or Iceland.
1 (14m 3s):
Yeah. They even have one, I think to Columbia, which looks really interest.
2 (14m 6s):
Oh yeah. And that’s a great country for a Guided tour because people worry about safety there. And If you don’t speak Spanish, that that could be an issue. But I would love to go to Columbia with them. We actually have a promo code for the Squad is out there. If you wanna book with here and now travel, you can use code Squad 1 25 and get $125 off of your booking.
1 (14m 25s):
That’s awesome. So we’re gonna dive right into the episode. And first we’re gonna talk about flights and for Gate one in particular, you can actually book your trip with lights or just the land portion only. But the one really cool thing about If you do book flights with them is they will have a specified city where they recommend you leave out of maybe it’s New York, for example, but you can actually change the departing city. There might be be a fee, but it may be beneficial in the long run. Maybe it’s not that much more expensive. Maybe it’s just a convenience landing closer to home, anything like that. And so that is an awesome feature to look into,
3 (15m 4s):
Right? So for example, If you see them say promo out of New York and as a good example, we flew to Africa on our tour with Gate one out of New York. It’s because it was the lowest cost that was available. But If you want, you can definitely alter choose a different departing city. And as Brittanie said, maybe there will be a supplement charge more often than not. There actually will. And a lot of times too, If you want to go in a day earlier day, late leaving or a little bit more time, you can choose the dates of arrival and departure. And if it’s out of the city where they have the promo, it may not be much more if any extra cost at all to leave on a different day and you can extend the trip.
3 (15m 45s):
As a matter of fact, when we did our Ari coast Guided Tours Gate one, which again, Monte Nero, Slovenia, Croatia, our flight was actually out of Venice, Italy. So we said to ourselves, why, why are we gonna leave out of Venice and not spend a day in Venice? So we had them have us leave a day later and there was no cost difference for us cuz we were already flying out of Venice. So you can actually get extra days doing it through the Guided tour when you book it properly.
1 (16m 13s):
And not only that for that particular trip to the patriotic coast, we decided let’s look at what the supplement fee would be. If we flew outta San Diego and it was only $200 more round trip per person had, we flown out of New York, for example, we would’ve had to buy that flight from San Diego, Diego to New York on top of that. And it wasn’t gonna be $200 or less per person,
3 (16m 36s):
Right? So do your research and really see is it worth it for me to find my own independent flight or book it all part of one package choosing a different supplement city.
2 (16m 45s):
I think this is really cool. If you’re going to do a Guided tour and meet people there and you’re all coming from different cities, I can fly out of Austin. You can fly out of San Diego. Someone else could fly out of New York and we can all meet in the same place at the same time.
3 (16m 59s):
Right? You might arrive a little bit differently, same day, but maybe different times, but you’re all gonna meet up right at the hotel to start the tour together. Right? So it’s really awesome.
1 (17m 8s):
And If you choose the flight option to include in your tour, they will pick you up from the airport, meet you there and take you all the way to your hotel as
3 (17m 17s):
Well. Right? And If you choose the option, at least with Gate one where you don’t have the flights included, you just pay for the land portion, which includes the tour. Then If you want them to pick you up, it’s expensive. It’s like a hundred dollars each way that they take you. So sometimes I do think it is better to just do the flights through the tour company. Because a lot of times, If you are delayed for whatever reason and maybe the airline itself, then the tour company is more willing to negotiate concerns with you versus, oh, you booked on yourself. You’re supposed to arrive here. I can do nothing about it.
2 (17m 49s):
It’s super clutch to put the flight in with your booking because there is no better feeling than getting off your long travel and having someone with a sign waiting for you. On the other side, they’re expecting you. They’re like waving you down. As soon as you pop through, they already kind of know who you are based on their list of people they’re waiting to pick up, right? And then you get to meet people that are on your tour and everyone’s like jazzed up. And it’s funny on Tours too. When you first meet people, everyone’s a little like quieter more to themselves. And the more you spend it to several days with these same people, you guys are buddies at the end, hugging them goodbye and getting their Instagram log. You know, it’s, it’s awesome.
1 (18m 25s):
I know for here and now travel, they don’t include any flights on their Guided Tours. So you do have to book that separately. So it is, you know, dependent on the tour guide company. So make sure you look into that to see if it’s an option.
2 (18m 37s):
It’s nice too though, with Gate one, at least I know with here now, it’s probably just easier on them to not have to work the airline, but well,
3 (18m 45s):
They’re just starting now. I’m sure as time goes on, they are gonna integrate their Tours with the airlines.
2 (18m 50s):
Right. That totally makes sense. But I think what’s awesome about the Gate one though, and having the flight included is that if anything happens to your flights delayed or canceled, for whatever reason, they’re going to work to figure it out for you, they’ll get you there on time. They’ll adjust the schedule. You don’t even have to think about it really.
3 (19m 5s):
Right. And that’s kind of what I was saying. And I think you articulated it in a better way than I did when I was talking about it. Let’s say your flight is still going, but you’re delayed and you’re gonna get there the next day, day two of the tour while I landed. And let’s just say in Rome, Italy, but the next day they’re in Venice. For whatever reason, somebody with Gate one is gonna work to get me from Rome to Venice to catch up with the tour. Whereas if I was to book my own flight, I’m on my own, trying to meet back up with the tour.
2 (19m 34s):
And then on the flip side of that, If you don’t include your flight and you wanna book that on your own, some people do choose that because there was actually an 83 year old lady on our Ecuador trip who was just in Columbia, on a Gate, one tour and then did not purchase the flight with Gate one. So she went from Columbia over to Ecuador for another Gate, one tour. So you can add onto your trip, extend it, make it longer, go somewhere else after, and you don’t really need the flight.
1 (20m 2s):
Also if you’re booking your flight with points and you don’t wanna spend money on a flight, this would be a good way to do that as well.
2 (20m 8s):
Oh really? Fuck. ’em hard. Really?
1 (20m 10s):
Fuck them higher already getting a great deal. Just get an even better one.
3 (20m 14s):
So that’s the flights let’s get into the nitty gritty in terms of the planning. And let’s talk about how we decide when is the best time to go and do things for Guided Tours.
1 (20m 23s):
So I really like shoulder seasons. I don’t like when it’s super crowded. I don’t like the summer necessarily, cuz it can be really hot. So I personally like shoulder seasons, but what really bases how I decide when’s the best time to go is what do I wanna do at the destination? For example, you know, if my goal is to see cherry blossoms in Japan, I know that they blossom in mid-March and mid. And so that’s the best time to go. So I would pick a tour that encompasses that particularly
3 (20m 53s):
Well, not only that I think the best value that you’re gonna get in terms of the Guided tour is shoulder season already. I feel like there are better value because If you really think about it, tour companies work with vendors and hotels and even have relationships with the airline as well, where they’re not paying full price for that airline ticket. They’re not paying full price for that hotel room. So the tour itself, If you were to pay for everything all on your own is already cheaper than it would be. Then you add it on top of shoulder season where less people are traveling and there’s already better deals. You’re gonna get a better deal that way and more bang for your buck. If
2 (21m 26s):
You do it. What else is interesting for Gate one is that they don’t have Tours available in times where it’s very undesirable or you simply can’t experience the things there. I know there was an India tour we were looking at doing, and you guys have certain months of the year that you liked to do these big trips. And there was one time of the year. We could not do it because Gate one didn’t offer it. And that’s because it would be like there was something with the weather,
1 (21m 52s):
It would be like extremely, extremely, exceptionally
3 (21m 54s):
2 (21m 55s):
So that’s an added perk.
3 (21m 57s):
Oh yeah. So they know the good times to go. I mean the last thing that they want as a company is maybe somebody’s first trip somewhere and it’s a disaster because the weather’s bad that time of year or you can’t do certain things because of it. So they make sure that you’re really not planning a trip during those least optimal times to visit a country, whatever location that may be.
1 (22m 18s):
I know that when we went to Africa, for example, we were told that we should take some malaria pills for the mosquitoes. And when we got there, our tour guide basically said, I can’t tell you what to do. It’s your choice, but there really are no mosquitoes right now. So take that for what you want. And sometimes when you go to interesting countries, you may wanna look at, is this a time where a lot of bugs will be out? What is malaria an issue at this point? And when you’re going to Africa, are you going there for safari? Are you trying to see baby animals, baby lions, other things. So you’re gonna wanna base your time to go based off of like the breeding schedule of animals and when they’re gonna be born,
2 (22m 55s):
That is hilarious. But you know what? There is a trip I’m planning off of the breeding schedule of animals
1 (23m 0s):
Right now for the turtles in Mexico.
2 (23m 3s):
3 (23m 3s):
It definitely happens. I mean, there’s a lot of times where people go to tropical places and you could swim with whale sharks, but that’s only during certain times of year. So right. Believe it or not, people do plant trips based off of optimal times for animals, whether it’s breeding season, swimming season, whatever it may be migration season. So do keep that in mind, the Tours are gonna go at least to those places regardless. But yeah, the example that you gave of India is great in terms of, you know, weather, but make sure you know that stuff going into it.
1 (23m 33s):
Hey travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our traveler Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip Itineraries one week in Kauai, an
2 (23m 44s):
American Southwest weekender road trip,
3 (23m 46s):
A weekend Yellowstone and grand Teton, national parks,
1 (23m 49s):
A road trip adventure featuring all three of Washington state national parks,
3 (23m 54s):
Big island, Hawaii, and an Arizona road trip that features all three of Arizona’s national parks.
2 (23m 60s):
We are obsessed with these. These Itineraries are 20 to 30 page PDF PDF guides with every detail of the trip laid out. We’re talking where to fly into the exact route to take where to stay park entrance prices, where to eat and driving distance between attractions plus what things to see and do even the hikes we recommend and their mileage and the time to all allow for each one and so much more.
1 (24m 21s):
We have story highlights on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, where you can see the full guides. We’ve done all of the research and have taken these exact trips, taking out all of the guesswork from the planning. So all that you have to do is show up and have
3 (24m 34s):
Fun purchase your comprehensive Travel Squad Podcast, itinerary on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, best of all, they’re on sale right now for $30. So travel on over and get yours today. Hey travelers, let’s take a quick break to tell you all about live. Let Rome podcast
2 (24m 52s):
Ever dreamt of quitting your job, selling your stuff and slow traveling the world. Check out live, let Rome a new travel podcast that will educate and inspire you to plan your own adventure off the beaten path.
4 (25m 5s):
It’s hosted by Christie and Eric expert travelers and a married couple who are currently navigating the world as full-time travelers
3 (25m 12s):
Follow live, let Rome, as they explore the art food and unique local stories from the road. Curious about what it’s like to explore the vibrant city of bill bow or Rome across Eastern Sicily and search of the best pasta on the planet.
2 (25m 26s):
Tune in to live, let Rome to experience and learn the howtos of travel from a fresh new perspective. Episodes are available now on Spain, Sicily and Dora with Albania and much more to come.
4 (25m 39s):
You can subscribe to live. Let Rome podcast that’s live. Let Rome on apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast or head directly to live. Let rome.com for the full experience.
3 (25m 52s):
Let’s talk real quick about our sponsor Anchor. We didn’t start out as professional podcasters. So when we started, we chose Anchor because it’s The easiest way to make a podcast.
1 (26m 1s):
There are so many perks to using Anchor first off, it’s free and we love to save a dollar, which means we could put more money towards traveling. There’s also creation tools that allow you to record and edit your podcast right from your phone or computer
2 (26m 16s):
Anchor also distributes your podcast for you and you can schedule out episodes in advance. I love this feature. As soon as the MP3 is uploaded on the platform, you can publish it instantly or a schedule it for a certain day. And then it’s automatically distributed to Spotify, apple podcasts, and everywhere. Podcasts are listened to
1 (26m 33s):
You can make money from your podcast with no minimum listenership.
3 (26m 37s):
It’s everything you need to make a podcast in one place. And we love tracking our podcast statistics and seeing which episodes you guys like the most
2 (26m 45s):
Start podcasting now by downloading the free Anchor app or going to Anchor dot FM to get started.
1 (26m 51s):
So another question we got in regards to Guided Tours was what makes a trip, a good value. And I think that’s a really good question. And what you really wanna look at at first is what’s included for example, Gate one, we know that the flights, hotels, transportation entrance fees to either national parks or museums, other attractions, they often have included excursions, some meals, those things are all included. And
3 (27m 19s):
So your transportation within country for that matter.
1 (27m 22s):
Yeah, that’s true. When we were in China, it included our flight from Beijing to Shanghai,
2 (27m 28s):
As well as all of your entrance tickets to every experience you’re going into.
3 (27m 33s):
That is very true. Now do keep in mind and we’re gonna get into this a little bit later. Gate one does have different Tours. We’re talking about the classic tour. We’re pretty much everything is included, but they have other Tours where let’s just say, okay, we’re gonna be going to Greece as an example. And they know that we’re gonna go ahead and take us to Athens. And then Mika now and Santorini basically, you know, there could be one, that’s the classic where your transportation’s included hotels Guided Tours, or you can just do one where it’s not included. You’re gonna be going to those locations and they’re gonna take you, but there’s no Guided Tours. So you have the free day to yourself. But If you wanna do one of their Guided Tours at those places, then you could pay like the supplement.
3 (28m 15s):
So they have so many different options to choose from. So when you’re actually booking and see the price, make sure that you’re looking there’s the classic off season value deluxe. And I don’t wanna take too much time going over everything, but the classic is the one that is the all inclusive. So just make sure If you are looking at the Gate one or any other tour company for that matter, cuz a lot of them are that same way, what you’re actually getting. And I guess that goes to the tip, read the fine print, know what tour you’re booking.
2 (28m 42s):
I can honestly say that for the Inca trail and the two Gate, one trips that I’ve done, I have felt like this is a steal. I don’t know how this is so cheap that it includes the flights, the hotels, all the experiences. It, it is a really, really good deal in my opinion.
3 (28m 58s):
Right? And so kind of do the breakdown. A good example will be China. When we went, it was eight days for $1,300 per person. We already said what that included, that included flights, that $1,300 could just be roundtrip flights internationally to Asia. Quite honestly, If you were to look online, right? But it included pretty much 90% of our meals breakfast every day, all lunches, most dinners. It included the Guided Tours that had entrance fees to it. Our hotels.
1 (29m 26s):
Yeah. We went to the zoo, we went to the great wall of China. We did a lot of different things and all of those entrance fees were included. We went to the Imperial palace,
3 (29m 36s):
Right? And so for 1300, for eight days, that breaks down to $162 and 50 cents a day. You tell me If you can book a trip internationally and to China cost average that down to $162 and 50 cents per day. And that’s a good way to really figure out, okay, what value am I getting for this trip?
2 (29m 54s):
Not only that in non monetary value, you get the locals perspective on the city. You get to see experiences that only locals know that you would never get to find. If you were doing this trip on your own, you have a lot easier time ordering in a place like China, where you do not understand the menu, which
1 (30m 14s):
Is really funny. Cuz the first night when we were in China, we were actually on our own for dinner. And we went to a restaurant
2 (30m 22s):
Right by the hotel,
1 (30m 23s):
Right by the hotel and we ordered and the food was okay and we ordered something super, super spicy. We really didn’t understand what we were working
2 (30m 31s):
Extremely spicy. And I think we had shrimp in something which was so gross. We definitely wouldn’t done that on
3 (30m 36s):
Purpose. It was good for us roast camps. Kim is picky, but yeah. So point being, it was difficult, but then everywhere else that we went with Gate one, when everything was included, they knew what to order for us. They knew what spice level they knew, which restaurants are better than the other ones. And that’s all integrated into the tour.
1 (30m 54s):
Also. I’ve never been disappointed with a Gate, one hotel, like
2 (30m 58s):
No me, neither.
1 (30m 59s):
All of the hotels have been really, really nice. And you know, typically when we’re booking trips, finding a hotel for less than a hundred dollars a night can be pretty difficult. And as Jamal said, for the breakdown of this, it was $162 about a day. And so just think of that. If you were to book your own hotel and it was a hundred dollars, you only have 62 extra dollars per day to a lot for meals and flights and transportation and all of
2 (31m 23s):
That. Thinking back to the food though, everyone that we talked to about China or every blog I read, people said the food wasn’t good.
3 (31m 31s):
Yeah. They’re like, it’s not like the Chinese food you’re gonna have here in America, which I guess makes sense. Right. But
2 (31m 37s):
I, I think it was Gate one, the food was amazing. Amazing. And we got to try things that they recommended that we wouldn’t have picked on the menu.
3 (31m 46s):
I loved it. I still think about how awesome the Chinese food was when we were in China. Everyone said like, oh, like you said, it’s not gonna be good. And I was really expecting it to kind of be different and it blew my mind and in a much, much better way. But we keep talking about China in terms of the value. It was one of the least expensive ones that we did. But here let’s give another good example on what makes a trip, a good value. When we went to Africa, that one was what? A 14 day. It included at least three different safari. We went to three different countries, South Africa, Swazi land. Now east SW Zimbabwe. It included our safari hotels trip to Victoria falls, transportation, transportation, everything like that.
3 (32m 31s):
Open bars, open bars at a lot of, yeah. Thank you for reminding me of that Cruises. Open bars. Yeah. Sunset Cruises on the MBZ river with open bar. And let me tell you something, it was an expensive trip. I’m not gonna lie, but If you take into consideration the flights and if you’ve ever looked into doing a safari on your own and finding your guide and how much they cost and charge just for a day and you’re in remote places in Africa to do safari, how are you gonna get from a big city out there? The value comes into that also, right? It’s probably going to be cheaper, but even if it’s not cheaper, it’s gonna be really hard to logistically put all that together. And that alone also makes a good value outside of the monetary aspect.
1 (33m 13s):
So Jamal mentioned earlier, Gate one has different types of categories. The classic is the one we normally book. That’s kind of like our go to staple. Most things are included, but they do have an off season one it’s a little bit more affordable, fewer crowds because of that, I would personally book that as well because it’s the same as the classic. The only difference is it’s in off season. They also do have value. Sometimes a value price does get me. They will be cheaper in price, but then they don’t include a lot of the meals and they don’t include a lot of the excursions and you can add those in individually. So then when I start thinking about like how much it would cost to add all those excursions, I’m like, no, I’m, I’m really gonna look for a classic.
3 (33m 51s):
Right. But if you’re looking for a laid back experience, also, you don’t wanna like do so so much, but you want to go to these places and kind of do things on your own. The value is
1 (34m 1s):
Good. Yeah, absolutely. If you wanna do more things on your own, the value could be really good. We’ve never booked a deluxe, but that is more upscale accommodations and like culinary experiences.
2 (34m 12s):
That’s Kim in our forties.
3 (34m 13s):
That’s Kim in our forties boogie
1 (34m 16s):
Kim. Yeah. I would love to do some of those. We did just book our first small group and small group is also interchangeable for discovery groups. So they have less travelers on it. There’s like a max of 22 people where normal Gate one Tours typically have about 40 people on it.
3 (34m 32s):
Right. So discovery is pretty much the high end of Gate one, if we’re gonna make an analogy there’s gap and then what banana Republic above and then like, oh, so just think of it kind of in, in that sense of things. So it’s the same thing, just like a higher line. So discovery, we just booked this for that gorilla tracking one in Africa. They
2 (34m 51s):
Not just that it’s, it’s higher end, but it’s a different experience. It’s slower,
1 (34m 58s):
It’s more intimate, right? More boutique hotels. And you typically, when it’s discovery, you are doing a little bit more exploring in the area. You might be hiking
2 (35m 8s):
1 (35m 9s):
A lot longer. For example, we’re doing that gorilla track and we could be hiking for up to seven hours to find the gorillas in the day.
3 (35m 17s):
So I’m really, really excited about that. They have options galore for you. And again, I would highly recommend going to Gate one’s website and seeing what they have all regions of the world. They go to south America, Australia, Asia, Europe, they have it all. They even have river Cruises with Gate one, but I’m not gonna lie. You know, I really liked our Viking one and I would do a Viking one again.
2 (35m 39s):
So when you book a Guided tour, there’s a lot that’s already planned for you and included. But then there are some days where there are optional excursions or experiences that you can add on. So for example, after dinner, you can either have a leisurely night to yourself or you could add on something like in China, we went to a Chinese circus
3 (36m 1s):
Acrobat show or the river Cruises, or when we were in Ecuador, when we were in the Ecuador and Amazon, we got done with our tour of the jungle and hike that day. But it was like, oh, do you wanna do a ropes course? Do you wanna go to an animal rescue? So these are the add-on type things that were actually talking about for you. So everything is included, but sometimes if the turn only has something for half the day, you have the option to do one of their paid up extra excursions or take the day at leisure to do absolutely nothing. Or do none of those excursions and do something on your own.
2 (36m 33s):
I think the best one we ever did was an Ecuador we added on in the hot Springs, in the Andes amazing hot Springs experience with the massage. Ooh,
3 (36m 44s):
1 (36m 45s):
Kim, I think that’s how I got you to agree to take that trip. Cause like, look at these hot Springs, we’re gonna go to Kim. We can book a spa day and Kim was like sold.
3 (36m 53s):
Right? And I think that goes to show another value of Guided Tours for that matter. And specifically talking about the they Papa yata. That was the name of what it was called, right when we were in Ecuador. So if you’re gonna go to Ecuador, you’re probably gonna go to Galapagos. You’re gonna be in keto the capital and see kind of a few other places. These Guided Tours really took us all around. And we went to this one region in the Andy’s mountains where they have like spa, retreat, hotel type place where there’s natural thermal hot Springs. They incorporate the hotel all around it. And then they had a spa experience that we got to do on that. And I feel like that’s something, If you were to go to a country on your own, so off the beaten path that you wouldn’t even find something like that, or it’s like, it’s too much effort to get myself there.
3 (37m 38s):
And so that really opens it up to a lot of unique experiences. And I mean, you’re in the Andes, it’s a high mountain chain. It’s volcanic, it’s part of the area. So it makes it even more unique because it’s not just like, oh, I’m going to a spot. It’s part of the region and the thermal activity that’s
1 (37m 54s):
There. Yeah. So they online, they have a list of all of the excursions. They’ll break it down by day. And so there may be more than one excursion for a day. And it will say, If you pick this excursion, you also can’t do that excursion cuz they might happen at the same time. So just read the description and see, you know, what really appeals to you. And if you’re going as a group or if you’re going on your own, it’s okay that your group splits up because there are other people that are gonna take these Tours from your group and you’re gonna get close to them. And a good example of that is Jamal and I, and Zena did a ropes course and Kim decided she didn’t wanna do the ropes
2 (38m 28s):
Course. I don’t know how Brittanie even tricked me into booking this excursion. But when I found out what it was, I was like, hell no, I wanna lay by the pool. I didn’t, I was willing to forego whatever I paid for that excursion like 30 bucks because I was not about it.
3 (38m 44s):
The pool at our resort in the Ecuador and Amazon was awesome. But you ended up doing the animal rescue and the chocolate tour because they harvest like, what is it called? CA cow and it’s natural form. Yeah. And you did that. So there’s lots of cool stuff that could be anything from adventurous to educational. And you know, I know we keep talking about China, but that’s really the first one we did and what really hyped us stuff on Gate one and all of them are great, but they had a free day in Shanghai. We had our Guided tour, no doubt, but we spent two days in Shanghai. And so on the free day you could either do something on your own or they had a full day paid up excursion to do we chose to go to Shanghai Disney. So a lot of times too, I think we kind of already had this question.
3 (39m 24s):
How do we pick the Tours? Well, sometimes we pick it based on, okay, we wanna do this. The Tours will be nice. Do any of these have free days in a specific location? And China just happened to have it in Shanghai. And we wanted to go to Shanghai Disney. So a lot of things really play into the value and how we decide and what is maybe even best for you.
2 (39m 42s):
One of my favorite excursions that we did was an addon 17 different types of dumplings in Shon, China. That
3 (39m 51s):
Was awesome. I’m ready to go on the China trip again. When China opens up for COVID, I would do that same itinerary again. I had so much fun in China, but I would do any one of the Gate, one Tours that I’ve done again. And they just have so many to choose from that. You’re not gonna be disappointed with the options to do. We actually had our Morocco trip canceled from Gate one because of COVID again, not their fault. And I’m ready to go do that too. But there’s just so many, it’s like hard now that that was canceled. It’s like, are we gonna reschedule that or do one of the other ones we want to
1 (40m 20s):
Do? I know. And so you can almost always book these excursions online when you book a tour or you can sometimes add them on in person. And we did do that when we were again on our China trip, we weren’t originally gonna do a river Cruises at night, but we were talked into it. We were able to add it on, but just keep in mind that sometimes you can’t add things on, for example, when we were in Ecuador at the spa, that was something we pre-booked, some people hadn’t. And when we got there, all of the slots were taken up and so they couldn’t experience that. So just keep that in mind that sometimes you can’t add things on and sometimes you can’t because of limited capacity.
3 (40m 58s):
And I really think that goes to doing the research cuz a lot of people thought to themselves, oh, like spa experience, whatever. But then they got to the hotel and really saw what it was all about. And they were like, oh it changed my mind. But we knew right away. We’re like, oh spa, what’s this. And we Googled that hotel. We Googled everything. We’re like, oh no, we gotta book it. So do keep that in mind. You, you may want to just bite the bullet and book ahead because you may not get that opportunity. Especially if it’s something that you know, would have limited window of opportunity to do
1 (41m 26s):
Another thing that Guided Tours really do well is preparing travel documents for you. The travel documents typically have your, your hotel information, your tour guide information, it’ll include what you need for passports and visa requirements. If you happen to need those in advance or how you pay for them. When we were in Africa, one of the visas we had to pay for in American dollars, you couldn’t pay in the local currency. You had to have American dollars to pay for that. And so they really break it down in those travel documents. They even have currency recommendations and electricity. What type of plugs you need and what type of clothing right. They recommend due to based on the climate and If you need vaccination.
1 (42m 8s):
So it really, really breaks it down. Gate one has a nice printout. It’s pretty simple, but my dad just went on a Guided tour with his girlfriend and they were mailed a luxury booklet that was binded and was very beautiful.
3 (42m 23s):
Well, they’re going like on a private safari tour in Africa. So I mean they’re beyond our discovery tour of what we’re doing in that sense. More like high end catered. So yeah, they’re gonna give a better document in terms of the presentation, but still all the information is really in there of where you’re gonna be and all those recommendations. The only thing is if visas can be purchased upon arrival, they’ll tell you exactly like they did and Hey, you need it in local currency, us dollars. But if it is a location where a visa is required and you actually have to pre get it and you can’t purchase it upon arrival, you are left to your own devices. But the travel document will tell you where and how to obtain those documents.
3 (43m 6s):
So you’re not left doing all that research for you online. A good example is our upcoming trip to Uganda. Uganda does require visas. You have to get them ahead of time and you just purchase it online and they tell you where to go online and how to do it. So leaves a lot of the guesswork out of it for you
2 (43m 23s):
When it comes to vaccinations, especially in this COVID world, we’re still in, on our most recent trip to Ecuador. You did require a COVID test before flying back into the us. And so Gate one had actually arranged for us to get back to our hotel. By a specific time, they already had people waiting there to give us all COVID tests. We went straight in there, we got our results back handed to us from our guide within like an hour and everything was prepared for us. We didn’t even have to think about that, which was also a huge relief.
1 (43m 56s):
Yeah. And sometimes vaccinations are required to get into a country. Some countries require you to have like, let’s say a yellow fever vaccine. So they’ll let you know what we’ve always done in terms of vaccinations is Jamal. And I actually call a local travel clinic. That’s included in our insurance. And so they ask us where we’re going, how long we’re gonna be there, what regions we’re gonna be in. And they tell us which ones we we need. And they’ll book an appointment for us to get our vaccinations.
2 (44m 20s):
You can always look on the CDC website for the country you’re going to and what vaccinations they recommend. And also medications. They recommend you bring, I did not have the same travel clinic included in my insurance. Currently the one you guys are talking about is Kaiser. They are killer. They’re so good with that. Their
3 (44m 36s):
Travel portion of things is real awesome.
2 (44m 39s):
Yes, but my insurance currently was not as awesome. So I actually had to call my doctor’s office and tell them exactly what I needed. They were like, you need yellow fever. They were like, I don’t know if we, we even have that. And then also some vaccines are optional. Like yellow fever was optional. I did not end up getting it. And so you can kind of make your best judgment on what you wanna do.
3 (45m 1s):
Yeah. There’s recommended or required. Some countries require you to have certain things and we’re not even just talking COVID vaccine, we’re talking like true vaccines and some places they recommend, but aren’t required and it will give you that breakdown.
2 (45m 13s):
There is one medication that’s not required, but I would recommend you always, always bring it.
1 (45m 19s):
What is that? Kim
2 (45m 20s):
Cipro. You already know
3 (45m 22s):
You need to have an antibiotic that is for sure. You’re traveling to another country. You don’t want an upset stomach or let’s just not get ourselves diary to ruin your trip. So you definitely need that antibiotic and bring some Imodium also for your tummy to lock it up a little bit. So you don’t ruin your trip, but definitely must bring
2 (45m 41s):
Our first technical Squad Guided tour on the Inca trail. I did have a situation where the Cipro came in handy and you’re on a Guided tour. So you’re on a schedule. So on this particular day, it was up at 3:00 AM. So we can hit the gates of Machu Pichu by 5:00 AM get be the first ones in. So at 1:00 AM, when business broke out, the Cipro was like clutch to get me back on track.
3 (46m 6s):
I’m glad we had the Cipro for you.
1 (46m 8s):
Another question that’s always asked is how do you know what to tip for the guides? And again, the travel documents will really break that down. They’re really affordable. For example, a lot of our trips, the tour manager were usually tipping about $6 per person per day. They will do local guides for specific cities. That’s about $3 per day. And then the driver is also about $3 per day. So pretty reasonable per person. And you’re really getting a lot of value and information out of them. And they’re really treating you like almost like family. So I do recommend tipping them. The suggested
2 (46m 40s):
Amount. They take care of everything for you. Like when we’re in Ecuador, the driver of the bus got out of the bus. Every time we stopped gave us his hand called me princess. And when you get back on the bus, he gave us all a SQUI of hand sanitizer. Every single time we stopped
1 (46m 57s):
And they deal with some shitty people. You know, you wanna think that everyone on your group is like-minded and can be polite and well behaved. That’s not always true. They’re dealing with some people that give America bad name.
3 (47m 9s):
There’s one on every tour. There’s one on every tour.
1 (47m 11s):
Yeah. And it’s not everyone again, it’s just like one person, but you see them deal with that. And like how gracefully they deal with that? And you’re like, yes, you do deserve this tip.
3 (47m 20s):
So some of the last things that we want to talk about here in terms of the Guided tour aspect is obviously there’s pros and there’s cons just like there’s pros and cons. If you were, were to do a trip on your own. So let’s talk a little bit about the pros of the Guided Tours. I mean, we’ve touched upon some of these highlights, but let’s really kind of break it down first and foremost. I’m just gonna say it at least with Gate one fucking breakfast buffet, man. Woo. Every day, that is one thing that a Gate one tour will include again, unless you’re doing like the value where no meals are included, there will always be a breakfast every day, rest assured that way you could hit the ground running. And it’s a great fuck. ’em heart. I love a good breakfast.
1 (47m 58s):
You know, we mentioned this earlier too. You really, when you do these Guided Tours, you really get a local’s perspective history of the city history of anything that you’re doing in the area. And there’s really nothing like that. A good example is when we went to, to, we went to teach inza. If you booked just to go there by yourself, you would get no history on it at all. There were no signs. There’s nothing telling you about the site. We booked a guide and he told us all about the culture, the history, everything we needed to know and more things that we didn’t even think about. And it was amazing.
3 (48m 30s):
Well, I’ll give a good example when we were just in Ecuador. When we were in keto, our tour guide gave us an awesome, awesome breakdown of a church that they had in the historic colonial area. And I learned so much about it made me appreciated even more. And then we were in awes Caliente, which we had a tour, but we had a lot of time to roam around ourselves. And there was a very famous church. As you said, you should go here. It’s one of the highlights, but this was a portion of the tour was set up to, you had about an hour, hour and a half on your own to just kind of roam around the city. We saw it and I don’t even know anything about it. And I think it was prettier than the one that we even saw on Keith though. But I was less impressed cause I knew nothing about it. So that locals perspective and the true history that you get with the Guided Tours makes you appreciate what you’re seeing even more.
2 (49m 15s):
And you’re maximizing your time because the guides are talking to you while you’re on the bus, moving from place to place. They’ll point out things on the side of the road and say, this is what that is. Or If you have questions, like a lot of people were like, what is this tree we keep seeing? They’ll tell you what the tree is and the whole history and cultural significance of the tree. It’s kind of crazy how much they know.
1 (49m 36s):
Yeah. Another thing is everything’s, pre-planned all you have to do literally is show up
2 (49m 42s):
And it’s really cost effective, actually. Not just because of the price and the value, but for a lot of Guided Tours, you can make payments on it. So you pay your deposit with Gate one. I think it’s around 200 bucks. And then up until 90 days before the trip, you can pay it off. So it makes it really affordable to budget for it. If you pay in cash with Gate one, you get 5% discount.
1 (50m 5s):
Hell yeah. You know, I’m paying in cash.
2 (50m 7s):
Oh yeah. So it makes it much more accessible.
3 (50m 11s):
I just wanna say to your point on the deposit, for the most part, it is some Tours do require you to put your flights down from the get go. And by that the airline that you’re going with requires upfront payment. So in those cases, depending on those Tours, the deposit is more, but for the most part, right, it is just that little bit of a hold and very minimal and a great payment plan option like you were talking about another pro is, I mean with travel anywhere, I it’s fun, but with the Guided tour, it’s just more plain fun. You’re really meeting a whole bunch of different people. You’re having a good time. You don’t have that stress of planning things yourselves, it’s just all around fucking fun,
2 (50m 50s):
Could be really, really great for solo travelers too, because you do have a captive audience to hang out with and talk to.
3 (50m 57s):
I feel like every Gate, one tour that we’ve been on there has been somebody at least traveling solo. There’s always one. So like we said, there’s always that one problem. One, there’s always that one that’s traveling on their own too.
1 (51m 7s):
It’s also a great way to visit destinations that are hard to navigate due to language barriers or being able to navigate the city. So just keep that in mind as well. And that’s a lot of the pros and we’ve been really hyping up Guided Tours, but you know, there are a few cons that we wanted to discuss with you. Two first one is not, everyone will get along. We’ve we did kind of mention that and there can be problem people that you might have on your Tours. So just keep that in mind, like not everyone’s gonna be for you on this
2 (51m 35s):
Trip. There were these two Ukrainian ladies on our China Guided tour and me and Brittanie, you know, we dressed cute for the pictures and there was one day we’ve wore matching dresses. And every time we showed up to the breakfast buffet, they were just given a side eye, like they were kind of bitches to us. They were bitches.
1 (51m 55s):
2 (51m 56s):
The other thing is, as a con you know, you are on a schedule, so this could mean it’s a demanding schedule. It could be exhausting. I know when I go on these trips, every time we get on the bus, I fall asleep. Like without fail, there are so many pictures of me sleeping. I can’t even keep my eyes open, especially as the trip gets towards the end of it.
3 (52m 17s):
Right? So you may be really tired because you’ve had a big day before, but the schedule tells you, Hey, we gotta be leaving here by 6:00 AM. That means your luggage out the door by five. So we have enough time to pack it onto the bus or put it in the van if you’re going to the airport. So do keep that in mind, that’s a con like you can’t really take a leisure day because you are on a schedule and you want to be respectful to everybody else who wants to keep to the schedule.
2 (52m 41s):
So look at the itinerary. If you’re going to a place like Ecuador, where almost every day we were going somewhere else, you know, that’s gonna be kind of exhausting China. I feel like we had at least two nights in each place. So a little bit more leisurely.
1 (52m 53s):
Another con is sometimes you have limited time at a particular site. When we were in Montera, for example, we went to one of these national parks and I would’ve loved to stay more and really like explore the area, hike maybe a little bit, but really we were only there to go and like, look out. We had maybe about 30 minutes to enjoy the sites. And so had we done it on our own. We would’ve spent more time there, but we’re on a tour. So the timing is a little bit more particular, a little bit more limited.
3 (53m 21s):
And what I think the biggest con that we can all agree upon is sometimes they do things that you really don’t care about. And I feel like very minimally that comes into actually seeing the sites around the city or the location that you’re in. But what we’re really talking about here is a good example. You know, when we were in Ecuador, Ecuador is a very famous region for cultivating roses and sending them like internationally. We went to a place where they did that, or we saw an old Inca farm where a lot of people are still true natives, where they haven’t really mixed with any of the Spanish colonizers. So their blood is still a little bit more pure. And we saw like how they actually farm and do things in their area. It’s cool. It’s very informative, but I would’ve felt like our time could have been better elsewhere.
3 (54m 3s):
When we were in South Africa, they are very famous for their diamonds. We went to a diamond factory tour area and it gives you history. Didn’t really care. Granted, I did end up buying something out of there for Brittanie, but that’s neither here nor there. It could have been something that I could have just done without. So a lot of times they do have these little things that you really maybe don’t care about, but just go along with the flow. But that I would say is the worst con
2 (54m 29s):
We’re wrapping up our Guided Tours episode. But before we go, I know we’ve shared so much. Any final thoughts left.
3 (54m 34s):
I actually really do have a final thought here. And that is a lot of people. And we touched upon this can be timid about the Guided tour aspect. Even If you think you are a rugged explored, do it on my own. I am telling you, Guided Tours will really open up your mind to the different way to travel. And I love it. You know, I still love to do things on my own, but I think Guided Tours are really underrated. And I think everybody should at least do one in their life. If not more
2 (55m 3s):
Totally support you on that before we let you go, we do have a couple of questions of the week.
1 (55m 17s):
Question number one, has anything crazy ever happened on a Guided tour? Ooh, this is a really good question. The one instance that I can think of in particular was when we were in Africa, we were on the bus dried from one part of the country to another. And a lot of people were dozing off kind of sleeping against the window. And all of a sudden we hear a big bang and crack. And there were these children on the side of the rose throwing rocks at the bus and they hit and smashed open the back window that like completely shattered. And they had to have everyone from the back of the bus, move forward, sweep out the bus. And then we were like, are we gonna get a new bus right now?
1 (55m 57s):
And our tour guide was like, you know, it’s actually safer to keep driving. If we stop on the side of the road, something could happen to us. And so we had to drive with the busted window. And when we got to a, our destination for a night, they drove in a new bus to switch us out on.
2 (56m 12s):
That is crazy. But it, it does show how, If you were doing that on your own, you would be freaking out.
1 (56m 18s):
2 (56m 19s):
And Gate one really does take care of you
3 (56m 21s):
For the inconvenience. They gave us free drinks that night night at the lodge, Kim. Oh yeah, I know. How can you go wrong with that? And we touched upon it earlier. If someone got sick, when we were in China and by sick, they had to stay and miss their flight home. And I guess that’s not anything of the tour. That’s one person, but anything could really happen on, I would say the craziest thing that comes to my mind, we’ve talked about this in another episode is when we were in China, ladies just started taking nudes of each other in the spa.
2 (56m 48s):
That was crazy. But I actually remember one from Ecuador on our first day when we were walking around keto, one of the guys had his phone in his shirt pocket and someone came up and tried to steal it. He actually grabbed it out of his pocket and this guy was quick and he grabbed the guy by a choke hold and got his phone back. But because of that, there was also some kind of event going on, where there were a lot of police out. Our tour guide went up to one of the cops and told him what happened. And now after that, we had a police escort for the rest of the tour through keto.
1 (57m 20s):
I do remember that. That was, that was very interesting actually.
3 (57m 23s):
And we saw the president of Ecuador that day. He was out in this speech, that little event. So, you know, lots of crazy things can happen on tour.
1 (57m 29s):
Our next question is, do you have any other tips related to Guided Tours?
2 (57m 34s):
Oh, hell yeah. We have one tip here. So you can really fuck. ’em hard with this one. If your tour guide is booking your flight, you will know what airline you’re gonna be going with. If you have a membership account with that airline called them and have your account number added. So you get points for that flight.
3 (57m 52s):
And at least with Gate one, it allows you to put in your frequent flyer number depending on the airline for you in there. So it’ll do it. If it doesn’t give you that option, then yes. Do exactly what Kim said, who doesn’t wanna get free points that way. I mean, yes, you’re flying and paying for it, but really it’s not like you booking it. So get the points and do it.
1 (58m 12s):
Another tip related to this is you can actually go on these websites like Gate one, for example, and you can see the breakdown of their itinerary and you can use that itinerary to plan your DIY trip. Like you can look at the same hotels. You can look at all of the excursions and things to do. I actually did this when we went to Japan, I saw where they were going in Japan and what they were doing. And I made sure to add all of those onto my list. Then I did a little research about which ones I did care about most and which ones are kind of the, you know, the Jade shops of the day, where you may not wanna go and go to the Jade shop or a museum particularly that maybe I don’t necessarily care about for this trip, but using other Itineraries to plan your own is also a, a solid tip.
1 (58m 58s):
If you wanted to go to that country on your own,
3 (59m 0s):
Speaking of Itineraries to plan your own, I gotta plug our Itineraries that we have now go to Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. We have a whole list of Itineraries. Most of them granted our national parks here in the us that we’ve actually done, but we kind of lay it out for you in that sense of things, where to go, what hikes to do, where to stay, what food to eat in there. So we’re working our way and getting into the travel business game a little bit and helping you out with those Itineraries. We
2 (59m 27s):
Do have Tulum international baby.
3 (59m 30s):
2 (59m 31s):
Woo. All right. And our third and final question here is when will the travel Squad be doing Guided Tours?
3 (59m 37s):
Well, I guess me mentioning that itinerary was a perfect segue into that. I didn’t realize that was the third question, but I know you ladies have been hammering this out amongst yourselves more so, so why don’t one of you ladies, take this on that and tell the Squad is where we’re at.
2 (59m 50s):
So we’ve actually been thinking about, and starting to plan weekend Guided Tours, you know, we’re big on weekenders exploring your own backyard. We love hidden gems in nature, like hot Springs and really cool hikes
3 (1h 0m 4s):
Or even rooftop bars downtown. Ooh,
2 (1h 0m 6s):
A little mix of everything. You’re going to see these on our Guided weekend Tours. We’re gonna have breakfast buffet.
3 (1h 0m 12s):
2 (1h 0m 13s):
We’re gonna have transportation included. You just have to show up there really cool, hidden gems. And of course there will be experiences like the rooftop bar type of thing. Maybe some hackathon thrown in there
3 (1h 0m 24s):
Gotta throw in Hawkathon.
2 (1h 0m 26s):
So we’re planning these right now. We’re hoping to launch towards the end of the year with our first go around at it and gonna be starting with smaller groups and then, you know, figuring out the kinks and expanding from there. So if you’re interested and you wanna see where some of our first trips will be going, you can hit us up on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, or send us an email and let us know you’re interested and we’ll get you on the signup list when we announce it. All right, Squad is thank you so, so much for tuning into our episode this week, keep your adventures going with us on Instagram and TikTok now at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in those questions of the week.
3 (1h 1m 0s):
If you found the information, this episode to be useful, or If you thought we were just plain funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,
1 (1h 1m 15s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more exciting adventures and tips in store for you.
3 (1h 1m 20s):