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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

213 Reviews

  • Excellent 204
  • 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

A transforming and magical journey to Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali and Java.

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

5.0
April 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
In all our years of travel, we’ve never experienced a more transforming and magical journey than the one Toni planned for us. Her meticulous planning ensured that there would be no surprises during our month in Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali, and Java, and what surprises we experienced were the serendipitous ones that happen when you allow yourself to seize the moment when it happens. Our guides, excellent English-speaking people and very knowledgeable, quickly got to know us and would make adjustments that would allow us to experience an unscripted moment with the wonderful people in each country. It was those unexpected moments that left us feeling like we left each country having stood in the shoes of the people for one brief moment. That perspective made us come back to our own country with new eyes and appreciation for what we have and what we don’t have.


The resorts were all remarkable, each unique, staffed by the kindest people, each attending to our needs, some of them so happy to test their English skills with us, leading to remarkable conversations about their lives. Restaurants were chosen to give us an overview of the food in the country, and the food was always delicious. Ancient temples, historic buildings in cities, beautiful rides in the country, food markets, candlelit dinner at a Burmese village home, boat rides on magical Inle Lake in early morning, watching the fisherman at work, floating gardens and villages, harvesting in the rice fields, 4 wheeling on a volcano, being surrounded by students practicing their English on Borobudur, the list goes on and the memories will never end.


But what set this trip apart was that Toni wanted to make sure we truly understood the people. Juxtaposed to the beauty was a trip to the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields in Cambodia, a heart-rending visit that we initially didnt want to make but realized afterwards that we had to make. It opened our hearts to the horror of what these people had endured and the wonder at the hope they all showed in spite of losing so many family members. Growing up in America, we’d read the stories in the newspapers, but it was only in being there that they became real to us. We’ll never forget the hour we spent on a boat with our Cambodian guide, anchored in the middle of Tonle Sap Lake, listening to his story. We felt such a connection to him and were so moved by his hopefulness and his vision of what his country would be for his children. It was this same young man who managed to make us feel like early French explorers discovering the ancient temples of Cambodia for the first time. We felt like we were truly in an Indiana Jones movie on an adventure of a lifetime. Words can’t describe those four days of discovering the temples of Cambodia. It was hard to believe the vision the Cambodian Kings had, the tenacity and ingenuity of the builders and that these temples are still standing, thanks, in part to the restoration of them by so many countries in the world.


Leaving Cambodia was difficult but Bali called to us and we were unprepared for the natural beauty ahead of us. Not only did we enjoy some beach time, but we quickly headed to the Ubud region and were stunned by the arts there, the countryside, and the people. We took a walk through the rice fields on Christmas day but before the walk we met a family in their home. There was a little 4 year old boy, shy, unable talk to us, but being a musician, I decided to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to him. I made it through 6 notes and he ran to his bedroom and returned with a little keyboard and played a perfect Twinkle on it. I was reminded that music is universal and in that moment we “spoke” to each other through music. That was our common language, as it also was in Burma when we sang nursery rhyme songs with children in a village, or took gamelan lessons in Bali. What we also took away from this trip was an understanding of world religions, since we had a Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic guide in three different countries. We listened to their devotion to their beliefs, heard their family stories of faith, witnessed their reverence of their holy temples, heard Islamic prayers 5 times a day, were blessed by Hindu priests, even had a healing ceremony on Christmas Day in Bali with a man who couldn’t speak English. We began to understand what made each nation tick, what kept them believing in a hopeful future when politics intervened in their lives. We witnessed their smiles, saw their tears when we were in the temples being blessed, and were so moved by their faith. So, if you want to experience a trip of a lifetime, go to Toni. You won’t be disappointed.
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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.
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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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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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