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Top Trip Memories

  • Joining family members in Africa for wildlife viewing on safari .
  • Experiencing the Dalmatian or Turkish coasts on a small luxury yacht.
  • Gaining deeper insights into the indigenous cultures of Botswana and Namibia via one-on-one contact. 
  • Taking private cooking lessons in Tuscany with a small group of friends. 
  • Exploring ancient Egyptian archaeological sites at your own desired pace.
  • Learning how to throw a boomerang in Australia’s outback under the tutelage of a native. 
  • Trekking through the Himalayas of Nepal with an experienced Sherpa guide.
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Tour Tips

  • If you have strong preferences about where to go, what to see, and what to do on a trip, then a private guided tour may be right for you. 
  • Many mostly high-end tour companies specialize in private guided tours, so you may want to check out their offerings first. 
  • While you can generally expect to pay more for a private guided tour than a regular guided group tour, you can help establish the budget as well as the itinerary when you customize your own trip. 
  • If you feel you’re being overly pushed in a direction you don’t want to go – be it the destination, the types of activities, budget, or other considerations – you may want to shop around. 
  • A “private” guided tour doesn’t (necessarily) mean solo travel with a guide; many families and small groups of friends line up private tours so they can form their own group. 
  • Tour companies that arrange private guided tours often offer “sample” tours that you can use as models for inspiration – or, if that itinerary appeals to you, simply choose it.  
  • If you’re traveling to different countries or large regions within a country, you may be matched with more than one local guide, to take best advantage of their varied expertise.
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Private Guided Tours Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.9 out of 5

99%

recommend

211 Reviews

  • Excellent 202
  • Great 7
  • Average 1
  • Disappointing 1
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.9
  • Guide
    5.0
  • Activities
    4.9
  • Lodging
    4.9
  • Transportation
    4.9
  • Meals
    5.0

Tour Reviews

Hotel Altiplanico & Hotel ilaia were both great!

Chile: Patagonia Islands, Ferries and Fjords

5.0
February 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Hotel Altiplanico & Hotel ilaia were both great! Altiplanico has great food and restaurant, very nice rooms, very helpful staff, etc. The ilaia has very friendly staff, great atmosphere, good location, etc.

Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia: Borobudur, Bagan and Angkor Wat

5.0
February 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure. The trip design could not have been better. We absolutely loved the trip! We are even considering becoming Myanmar ""repeaters"", as our guide called those who chose to visit Myanmar more than once.
Out guides understood our interests and often expanded our itinerary to include additional places and experiences. We made an impromptu visit to a wedding just outside of Mandalay. We were warmly welcomed and take to a table where we were offered ice cream and cake. Then the new couple insisted that we were part of the professional wedding photos that were being taken. In fact, all over Myanmar the Burmese people wanted photos taken with us. We also encountered a house building party in Kengtung where we were offered coffee and food. The house owner shared the plans for his new house with us.
Staying at the Inle Princess was perfect! We felt like VIPs. The setting was absolutely beautiful and mystical. The Park Royal was a perfect city hotel with a wonderful breakfast and very cozy bar. All the staff was very friendly. We enjoyed happy hour at the Bagan lodge. Our pool side suite was fantastic! The laundry service was fast and good. The Sala Lodge was a perfect retreat after a hot day of ""temple exploring"" and we loved the staff. We enjoyed our stay at the amazing Kyaing Tong Resort. The Conqueror resort was also a fun stay due to a firework and balloon launch arranged by our guide with the hotel staff partying with us.
Hsu Mon Aung, our Myanmar guide was amazing! She was totally professional in taking care of us but she felt like a friend from our first meeting. She was the best ambassador for her country and through her warmth and compassion was able to connect us with many Burmese people. We entered their homes as welcomed guests. During the full moon festival we were unable to go to Taunggyito to see the balloons, so Hsu organized our own balloon launch at the Conqueror resort, including music and fireworks. She knew that I had really wanted to see the balloon festival. We felt so fortunate to have had her traveling with us, Hsu checked us in at every hotel and airport. Our bags were taken care of before we knew it. At the restaurants she helped us select foods that were Burmese and would keep us healthy. We did a lot of laughing and sharing stories in the car.
In Kyaing Tong we met our regional guide who we called ""Sy"". Sy had a fantastic personality and knew the tribes well. The people were always happy to see him. He and Hsu worked well as a team. At the local school, we donated tablets, pencils, etc., and I was able to teach the children the ""Hokey Pokey"" translated by Hsu and Sy. Su and Hsu brought medicines to the hill tribes. Keo was our guide in Siem Reap. One of his best skills was skirting the crowds at the temples. We often entered through a seemingly remote jungle path vs. the highway. At our request, he also showed us less touristy temples that were not on our itinerary. Our guide Hsu was also very resourceful! At the Pho Win Daung caves the monkeys were very aggressive, so Hsu paid two young ladies with monkey food to keep the monkeys away from us.
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Our Lifetime Experience!

Backpackers Tanzania Safaris

5.0
January 2017
Lights on Africa Safaris
Recommend: Yes
After we made the initial enquiry Peniel got in touch with us and fulfilled all our special wishes. All questions were fully and quickly answered via e-mail, and even when we arrived several hours early in Arusha, he managed to pick us up at the airport together with our driver-guide. We just sent a short message from Daressalam and he organized everything else.

We spent 7 days of wonderful safari on our own with Ray, our perfect driver and tour guide . The roads are sometimes very rough but with Ray we felt save all the time. The national parks we visited (Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire) are really fantastic and Ray presented to us so many more animals than the big five
All the accommodation at the lodges was wonderful, good food and we particularly enjoyed the Sopa Lodges.

We have no hesitation in recommending this safari operator to other travelers.
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I would definitely recommend their services

Buenos Aires & Iguazu Falls – 6 Days

4.0
January 2017
Say Hueque
Recommend: Yes
I really liked the service Say Hueque provided. Everything went according to plan and you and all the staff and guides were very friendly and helpful. You customised my plans in Buenos Aires to meet my interests. The map you wrote on for me is now almost falling apart because I used it all the time and went to most of the places you recommended. Both hotels were very good and well located. I would definitely recommend your services. Thanks very much and best wishes
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All in all, my experience was positive with my guides being very helpful and the experience being memorable

Argentina Highlights 12 Days

3.0
January 2017
Say Hueque
Recommend: Yes
My overall experience of my trip was good. However, just a few comments. My accommodations in Buenos Aires and El Calafate were fine. However, for the level of accommodations I had requested, the hotel in Ushuaia and Puerto Iguazu were a bit disappointing. First, the hotel in Ushuaia was more of an extended stay type setup and the view was almost the back of a building. And, the carpet was very dirty. I did not feel clean in that room. I did not want to bother changing rooms as I was only staying there two nights.

Then, the hotel in Puerto Iguazu. I did not realize I would be staying in an "eco-lodge" type hotel. Again, for the type of accommodations I had paid for, I expected a hotel with a few more amenities and a cleaner atmosphere. There were bugs in my room and I didn't feel too comfortable with that.

Finally, my pick up on my final leg in Buenos Aires did not show up! I waited there for almost 30 minutes. I was tired from my travels and wanted to get to my hotel so I ended up hiring a taxi. That ride cost me $30!! I hoping to get reimbursed for this cost.

All in all, my experience was positive with my guides being very helpful and the experience being memorable. Thank you and if you have any comments, please let me know.
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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Private Guided Tours Trips & Tour Advice

If you aren't interested in a group guided tour, you can still travel with a guide on your own. A number of tour operators will fix you up with a private guide or guides for the duration of your trip. Your tour could either be customized to your liking, or you could choose one of the standard itineraries offered by the operator, so that you don't have to think about where to stay, how long to be gone, when to fly, or any other travel logistics. Private guided tours are, of course, typically more expensive than group tours, but you never have to worry about getting lost in the crowd.

A private guided tour can prove to be one of your most memorable and satisfying travel experiences. You – or your smallish group of like-minded family and friends – have the use of your own guide(s) to introduce you to and immerse you in far-off locales and cultures that you might not feel comfortable navigating on your own. 

A good private tour company and guide should confer with you and your companions as to your preferences on what to see and do, what your energy level is, and how much free rein you’d like during the trip. On a private guided tour, you aren’t just one member of a group, but the star of the show. 

Personalized Service 

Most tour agencies that offer private guided tours are eager to work with you in pre-planning trips according to your individual preferences. For instance, if you and your family have always wanted to see the Great Migration of wildebeest in Tanzania’s Serengeti, they’ll work to make it happen. If you’re traveling with young children, they’ll take that into account. 

But it’s fine, too, to say, “I’ve heard about river boats in France but how can I cruise through Bordeaux with just my family?” The tour company might well suggest a luxury barge trip on a vessel complete with your own private chef, then make all the arrangements so that all you have to do is show up. 

Whatever kind of private guided tour you choose – an African safari, a cook’s tour of Tuscany, a trek through the Himalayas, or perhaps that barge trip through Bordeaux -- your guide will be, for the most part, at your beck and call. But you may well choose to let your guide lead the way, to take best advantage of his or her expertise. Either way, the service should be tailored to your wants and needs. 

Added Flexibility

Regular guided group tours – where most participants typically don’t know each other before the trip – can be a wonderful way to make new friends, and are often very budget-friendly. A possible downside, though, is that you generally won’t have any control over who you’re traveling with, exactly where you’re going and when, at what pace you’re traveling, or, in many cases, the size of the group. 

With private guided tours, on the other hand, you get all the benefits of regular guided group tours – not having to wrestle with logistics or hassle with transportation, gaining the insights and access that good local guides can provide, knowing what the total trip will cost in advance, and more -– with none of the potential drawbacks. It all adds up to more flexibility for you and, if you’re not going solo, your own small group of friends or family. 

Other Things to Keep in Mind

In some parts of the world, guides are expected to eat separately from the tour group, so if you’d like to invite your private guide to dine with you, ask politely -- but don’t be offended if he or she has to decline. 

Even with family members and groups of friends, disagreements can erupt while traveling. Try to work out any potential problem areas before you start your trip, because to take best advantage of a private guided tour, you won’t want to give your guide constantly conflicting signals.   

Private guided tours can be ideal for family travel, since children can be themselves and guides can tailor activities to them and give them more individual attention than in a larger group tour. 

Private guided tours are also good for specialty travel, such as birding trips, photo tours, or wine tasting expeditions in which you have intense interest in one activity and want to spend the bulk of your time on it.

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Clark Norton
 
 

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