You Choose – Private Guided, Group Guided or Self-Guided Tours

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After a long year of waiting for your holiday to Western Canada, you’ve got to decide where to go and how to take explore the area. Choosing where to take your next holiday is going to take some research. With multiple tours around Western Canada, your first decision will be where to visit and, our website can help you determine this. Deciding on how to visit Western Canada can be just as difficult as choosing where to travel. To help you decide, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of each type of option; guided, self-guided or private guided.

Overview of tour types

If you want the freedom to go where you want and when you want, then perhaps a self-guided tour is the best choice. If you enjoy travelling with other people who have the same interests as you, and you want to make a few friends, then a guided tour might be the best option. Your third choice is the private-guided tour. This is for people with a higher budget, who want to travel on their own or with just friends or family but also want to travel with the utmost safety as well as the knowledge of one of our awesome guides. These tours are also best if you like one of our standard tours but want to make changes to the itinerary or simply want a completely customized tour. Best thing, we have all three options available! Well, don’t worry, we are here to give you all the details on each type of travel style, so you can make the best possible decision to ensure you have the perfect getaway in Western Canada. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the different types of tours available.

Group Guided Tours

These tours are our specialty. Here, we pick out the best hotels and attractions and arrange transportation and all the other details of your holiday. All you need to do is arrive at the starting point of the holiday and enjoy!

Pros

Convenient No looking for bus schedules or gas stations and no decisions to make about which hotel to stay at. On a guided tour, all of that is taken care of. Insider Knowledge No need to research the area you are visiting ahead of time. Our guides are super knowledgeable about the areas we visit and can answer any questions you may have. We’ve already arranged for you to visit the top attractions of the area and if you want to learn more about the local history, the finest restaurants and the best spot for that perfect sunset photo we can help! Safety Often top of mind for female solo travellers, it’s always good to have that extra layer of safety! While Western Canada is an extremely safe destination, you’re not only travelling with a group of people, but your guide knows the area very well; this means no getting lost. You can also rest assured we hand-pick only the safest and most exciting activities to compliment your holiday. Budgeting On guided tours you pay one price with no extra surprises during your trip, so it is easy to plan your budget ahead of time. The only extra costs you may have are drinks and tips and certain additional activities not included in the price of the package. Fellow travellers On guided trips, you’ll be travelling with others who also want to visit the area and probably have similar interests to you. This is a great way to meet new people, in fact many of our guests often make new life-long friends!

Cons

Set Itineraries On guided tours the itinerary is set each day and sometimes that means an early start to hit the road at 7am! Restaurants and activities are also set ahead of time, so be sure to read through the tour description to ensure you are interested in the activities that are included in the trip. Inflexible Perhaps you will visit an attraction on your tour, like Butchart Gardens, and you’ll want to spend the afternoon there. Unfortunately, on a group tour the arrival and departure time is set in advance so you can’t go early or stay late. Other Travellers While this can also be a pro (noted above) it can also be a con if you are shy or introverted and don’t want to be around other people all the time.

Browse Our Guided Rockies Tours

Self-Guided Tours

Driving

A holiday for the more independent-minded individual. Here, we will arrange your hotels and any attractions you want to pre-book, but you do the tour on your own. We can also arrange a rental vehicle for you if needed as well as give you road maps and a list of things to see and do. All you need to do is choose the destination, pick your travel dates and decide what you want to do when you! Almost as simple as a guided tour!

Pros

Flexibility This is probably the biggest pro to a self-guided tour. Here you can do what you want when you want. Enjoying the sunset during dinner? You can order another glass of wine and sit back and relax for as long as you like. Or perhaps you originally wanted to go kayaking during your stay in Tofino but for some reason you just don’t feel like it when you are there – no problem, you can book the activity for another day. Meet the locals Travelling on your own gives you the opportunity to meet the locals. You can mix and mingle with the locals a little easier on a self-guided tour. Whether you just want to chat to the locals about life in the area or ask for the local hotspot to eat mussels, you never know what might come about from spending time with friendly locals. Freedom to be by yourself If you are a little shy and not interested in meeting new people or being around a group of people all the time, or prefer to do activities by yourself then a self-guided tour is best.

Wine Tasting

Cons

Getting lost If you have never been to the town or region before it can be easy to get lost when walking, driving or taking public transit. While we will give you maps of the area before you travel it can still happen to those on self-guided tours. If this is a concern of yours when you travel, then a group tour would be the best option. Missing out on the best If you don’t have the time to research before you travel, and even if you do, you may miss out on the area’s best attractions or restaurants. With a guided tour, your trip is researched by experts and the guide has the insider scoop on where to eat and what to do. Constant Research If you don’t like having to research everything from the hotels you’ll stay at, to the activities you want to do and which business to book with, travelling on your own can be exhausting. Loneliness Travelling on your own, if you aren’t with friends or family, can get lonely. You also may not be the type who wants to try and meet new people on your own – so you’re by yourself all the time.

Browse Our Vancouver Island Self-Guided Tours 

Private Guided Tours

Basically the best of both group tours and self-guided tours, private guided tours give you the flexibility of being able to customize everything (like a self-guided tour) but still have the knowledge of a guide.

Pros

Knowledgeable guide Like a standard guided tour, you’ll have a tour guide who can tell you all about the area. They have done all the research needed prior to the holiday to ensure you have the best holiday possible. Custom itinerary If you don’t like the activities, destinations or duration found on standard group tours, you make any changes you want. Private guided tours are infinitely customizable – you tell us where you want to go, what you want to do, and we’ll figure out the rest! Private transportation No more large, crowded busses to travel on. On these tours you will be in a private vehicle, just big enough to cater to the size of your group. We have our own fleet of coaches that we use and will ensure that you and your group are matched with the perfect transportation, from functional to luxury.

campfire

Cons

Price Private-guided tours can get very expensive. You are covering the cost of the guide, his accommodation and meals etc. by yourself, rather than splitting that cost with a larger number of guests like on a standard guided tour. This isn’t the case if you have a large group of friends or family that are booking with you. In that case, you may strongly want to consider a private-guided tour. On most of our summer tours, we do have the surcharges listed for different group sizes.

Summary

Now that we’ve outlined the pros and cons of the various tour types, you’ll need to decide what is best for you. Does the simplicity of a guided tour appeal to you or the independent experience that comes with self-guided tours? Perhaps you want the best of both worlds with a private-guided tour where you get the knowledge of a guide with the flexibility of self-guided tours. Whichever you decide on you’ll be sure to have a great adventure in Western Canada with Discover Canada Tours. If you need further assistance to decide what tour type is best for you, or any other information you need to help book your perfect holiday, be sure to reach out to us at hello@discovercanadatours.com or on +1.604-689-8128

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