GUIDE VS NO GUIDE, article by Archaeologous
In the effort to save money when searching for day tours while aboard a cruise ship, many, if not most people, make a major mistake by attempting to view historical sites and museums without a professional guide. Having a guide however, is like walking into a totally dark room and turning on the lights. Without light, one does not know at what one is looking. And it can get really boring, right?
TIP: Be careful when hiring a 'sole' driver who advertises that he/she speaks English and knows everything about the various destinations, as there have been many dissatified customers wasting their time and money. The difference between having a professional, licensed guide and a vehicle owner who is from the area you are visiting is tantamount to the difference between night and day.
TIPS: First, unless the person is licensed, they cannot go into the tourist sites or museums with you. By law in both Turkey and Greece, the countries we service, your "knowledgeable" driver must remain outside the site while you are touring the area.
Secondly, the vacation experience is totally different. Licensed guides have such a wealth of knowledge that it makes the statues, icons, etc. come alive before your eyes. Without a guide, unless you are deeply versed in what you are looking at, the understanding of the historic value of sites and relics is just about nil.
It makes total sense to make economically wise decisions. However, in the case of hiring yourself a private tour comprised of only your group as opposed to being herded together with 35-50 strangers, it would be wiser, in most situations, to save your money completely and not even take a tour if a licensed guide is not to be included.
The cost of having a guide is certainly more expensive but, as mentioned, the difference it makes to have somebody who is trained to explain and share what you are seeing is not a little matter. Remember the idiom.. you get what you pay for.