22 February 2018
A good guide a can make or break a holiday and no one knows this better than Europe Travel Expert, Louise. She tells us the importance of having the insider’s scoop when it comes to travel and how not to fall into the classic tourist traps…
Many visitors to a city feel that they can buy a guide book and read it page by page as they stroll around. Only to realize, with a painful thump, that their health is at risk. As you walk past a wonderful view, busily scanning your page for the snippet of information that will make you appreciate the view, you are likely to walk into someone doing the exact same thing. Fellow travelers are full of things that hurt- cameras, caps and foreheads. It can be a painful and embarrassing experience, leaving you both trying to apologize for the collision in each other’s language while rubbing your sore head and bruised ego. No one has a story that starts “My fondest memory of Rome is the time I broke my nose… “
Don’t get me wrong, I love guidebooks and have a shelf full them with well thumbed, highlighted and bookmarked pages. I love to read about a destination in the months leading up to the trip, but I have found that there is a much better and safer option than trying to use them while exploring.
Using a local guide can take all of the hazards away; they are adept at navigating the busy streets and canals, steering you away from the bottlenecks that form when tourists are left to wander unattended and helping you gain access to the places that others don’t know about. It is a skill worth its weight in gold. The backstreets and alleyways that they can confidently take you to will often give you a glimpse of the authentic way of life a city has rather than the well-trodden paths of polished and over exposed sights the masses only see.
Recently I spent time in Italy and Greece and was lucky enough to explore many cities and villages under the expert guidance of our local partners. They were truly experts and had a level of knowledge that no guide book could give. My guide for a tour of the Acropolis in Athens had a PhD in Archaeology, the same was true in Rome and Florence. Not only did these guides have a wealth of expertise in their field, but also had an ability to make it relatable and relevant to their audience. Gauging how much we wanted to learn was a key to keeping us interested and engaged and it took real skill to do this effortlessly while dodging around crowds, negotiating traffic and finding shade for us
Scott Dunn works with some excellent guides, with access to hard to get tickets, private viewings and the ability to skip the lines, they also have the type of knowledge that only someone who lives and breathes the place can gather. Our partners will make you feel like a VIP, not just another tourist, and you will return with a wealth of memories, interesting information and local stories.
A great guide can really take the headache out of a visit, we can help you to make the most of your time in a city and fill your head with wonderful memories rather than bruises.