Travel Guides to Enhance Your Adventures

Travel Guides

Imagine landing in a bustling city, where every street sign is in a language you don’t understand and local customs are a mystery. This is where a travel guide can be invaluable.

For some, the concept of a travel guide takes a bit of getting your head around—isn’t the idea of travel to make discoveries on your own? Isn’t the element of surprise half the fun?

The answer is it depends on where in the world you are going, and what you hope to get out of your trip.

Travel is the ultimate learning experience, but even the most seasoned traveler needs a hand sometimes. In places where travel can prove complicated (significant language barriers, civil unrest, or serious cultural differences), a guide is a wise investment. Ironically, you may get to see more of the ‘real’ country with a guide, as they know all the local spots.

Choosing the Right Guide

When choosing a guide, research carefully. Professional tour guides, local residents, digital guides, and self-guided apps each have their own advantages. Travellers who use guides regularly offer this advice: “do lots of research on your guide and their company. Once you arrive at your destination, let them do their job, but before you leave, be very specific about what you want to see and do. You are the guide until you arrive.”

If you don’t do your homework and set out clear boundaries, you may just be shown around generic spots. Most guides will have certain shops or restaurants pay them a commission for every tourist they bring in. This may not be in your best interests. If you don’t want to spend countless hours in bazaars and cafes, say so clearly. If you are interested in something specific, like antiquities, make it clear before you go so they can seek out interesting spots. Send all your requirements in writing to keep the lines of communication clear.

Maximizing Your Guided Experience

In some countries, independent (non-guided) travellers may have less access to certain locations, or you may have to wait for long periods to be admitted to attractions. If you only have a few days in a new country, waiting in line for hours can seem like a serious waste of time.

Once you arrive, listen to your guide’s advice. If they say something is not safe, take heed. If they point out something you may be doing unwittingly to cause offence to the locals, make adjustments to your clothing or behaviour. Not all countries are as relaxed and liberal as New Zealand, but they are all fascinating to visit.

Guides are not only for planning and transport—they are a mine of useful information and history. Make the most of the ability to learn from a local. Use translation apps or learn a few key phrases in the local language to enhance communication.

Health, Safety, and Etiquette

When you are traveling to unusual places, discuss any specific needs you may have with your travel guide – they should enrich your experience measurably. Take necessary health precautions such as vaccinations and insurance, and familiarise yourself with local healthcare facilities.

Travel guides can significantly enhance your travel experience by ensuring safety, providing deeper cultural understanding, and making your trip more efficient. Embrace the adventure and make the most of your travels with the help of a guide.


  1. Travel Websites: TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Viator
  2. Guide Certifications: World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, local tourism boards
  3. Travel Apps: Google Translate, Guides by Lonely Planet

By following these tips and choosing the right guide, your travel experiences can become richer and more rewarding.