Let's be real. Planning a trip to America is tough. While open tabs flood your screen, you still haven't decided if you would rather travel to New York from Washington or Boston, take a quick hiking stop at Zion National Park, or chill on one of the many beaches in Malibu.
A million websites and a million ideas are in your head. It’s frustrating, I know. America has over 335 million inhabitants, 3.797 million mi² to explore (roughly the size of the entire continent of Europe!), and the usual staying time of a tourist is 2 to 3 weeks.
With so many options, I’d struggle as well. But there’s hope!
A US tour guide can lift a lot of baggage from your shoulders and make your planning as easy as 1,2,3…but it could also slow you down, depending on what you’re looking for.
So what’s it gonna be? After reading this article, you’ll know the answer.
The Pros of a Guide
Let’s address the elephant in the room: is it worth it to get a tour guide? If you like to hear the words convenient, flexible, seamless, and authentic in the same sentence as travel, then yes!
- Chaos Becomes Structure - Are you visiting San Francisco or Los Angeles first? Is there time for both Yellowstone AND Yosemite? With a local guide by your side, you no longer have to worry about that! Thanks to a tailored itinerary that covers all your needs, your local guide has figured it out for you!
- Speak The Cultural Language - You may speak English, but do you also wonder about the language culture of 50 different states? With a guide speaking the local language, you won't run into awkward encounters, you'll always know when and how much to tip (very important), and you'll feel comfortable.
- Navigate With Know-How - There is a fine line between getting lost in Times Square and entering a neighborhood you maybe should not enter. Your local guide knows the difference: saving you from getting lost at confusing spots while giving concrete advice on what to avoid.
- A Peak Behind The Curtains - "I know New York. I've seen all the episodes of Castle and CSI: NY ''. Well, America is way more than overly dramatic crime shows or biased blog posts. A local guide will give you an authentic feeling of what it's really like to live in the country.
- Your Time Is Respected- Let's be honest: A trip costs money and time. With a local guide, you'll save both before AND during your journey. Don’t want to get caught in the hick-hack of making dinner reservations or hunting down tickets for the museum you are dying to see? Your guide has got you covered.
Expectation vs. Reality - Normal Guides vs. GWG:
Maybe the last tour you attended felt something like this:
- Annoyingly large groups
- Uninteresting sites
- No time for questions
- A horrible time schedule
First of all, I’m sorry. Maybe you think, “I'm just not a guide person”. Well, a GoWithGuide tour runs a little differently.
What do I mean by that? Let's do the test:
If you believe a guided tour means…
- Enduring large groups - where you are often one among many, and this one person keeps asking repetitive questions, leaving no room for others to ask theirs.
- Going to places you don't like - Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge is cool and all, but you’ve seen this site a million times before (and another million times on Instagram)!
- Constantly running out of time - Trying to see all of Manhattan in half a day leaves you room for a couple of pictures (at best) but nearly no time to deeply experience the places you’ve visited.
- Stress, stress, stress - The tour starts at the most inconvenient time, goes for way too long, doesn't feature the things you'd like to see, and leaves you exhausted. Puh!
Thankfully, our GWG tours…
- Are all about you. It's up to what you want to see and when you want to see it! And if you're still unsure, simply brainstorm some cool tour ideas with your guide. They have plenty!
- No need for sharing. You decide how big the group is on these tours. The only thing you will share is the fantastic memories along the way.
- Do you have any questions? A private tour gives you time to talk with someone who really knows the country. Every conversation is a chance to learn more about the culture, history, and secret spots of the country you’re visiting.
- Exclusive, personalized, insightful - A GWG guide fuses all the good things about traveling: convenient planning, stress-free sightseeing, and insightful moments.
Travel Tip: Still trying to figure out where to travel in the States? Then check out our USA Tourism Statistics article!
When a guide might not be for you:
America is huge, so the different ways of exploring it are numerous. Depending on your personality and your specific plan of traveling, a guide may hinder you if:
- You're a Solo Traveler - Doesn't matter if you are exploring the urban jungle of Salt Lake City or putting on your hiking shoes to wander the Grinnell Glacier Trail of Glacier National Park. If traveling alone is your thing…a guide only stops you from having fun.
- You Know The Country - If you're an American, have lived there for a while, or call yourself a local, there's no need for another local to tell you what's happening in the country.
- You're A Planner! - Planning my trips is a thin line between going crazy and being crazy excited - but that’s just me. Suppose you consider yourself a person who takes pleasure in planning everything meticulously and doesn’t take any chances. In that case, a guide takes away much of the excitement.
- You Don’t Match! - If you are putting your precious time (and hard-earned money) in the hands of a tour guide, it should be one that you are on the same page with. If the vibe's not right during the planning stage, that's definitely a problem.
Picking The Right Guide - Step-by-Step
…which is why choosing the right guide is essential! And it's super easy to do it. Let's walk you through the steps real quick:
- Head over to the USA local guides page, and choose a guide of your liking - look out for reviews, their bio, and their availability (important!).
- Check the tours & see if there's one that sounds cool to you. Did you find one? Fantastic! If you have additional ideas to spice the tour up even more, hit the "Message" button on the right-hand side of the profile.
- Let your guide know when and for how long you will stay there. Also, let them know all the essential details they should know before (food allergies, specific concerns, special needs), sync your timelines, and book your tour! See, it wasn't that difficult!
Do's and Don'ts When Hiring A Guide:
There’s a first time for everything. If you don’t know how to behave in front of your guide, here are some guidelines.
Travel tip: Visa application and passport validation should be checked on your side! It doesn't take long, I promise!
USA Tours To Try
You’ve decided! A tour guide is the way! Now, let's look at all the potential journeys you could jump on:
- Big City Life - Strolling Through Central Park, getting to know San Francisco, and walking through Bourbon Street in New Orleans. These are some of the endless possibilities that open the door to the urban grandeur of America. Our local guides hold the key in their hands and are ready to share the knowledge.
- US Art & History Tours - From discovering street art in Brooklyn to learning about the history of Prohibition (while having a drink) - there are plenty of ways to experience the beauty of this country through its creative and historical side.
- The Beauty Of Hawaii - Snorkel in crystal clear waters, stroll alongside volcanoes and waterfalls or take a bicycle to explore the beauty of Honolulu, O'ahu, and Ala Moana.
- Exploring America’s Natural Mosaic - Hiking tours through National Parks like Alaska State Park will let you forget the city's trouble. There’s no better way to escape from urban life than this.
Ready to make that American adventure a reality? Then hit up our US tour guides today and start planning your itinerary!