I've just read a thought-provoking post about whether or not to hire a local guide to give you a tour, when travelling.
I have never hired a guide. Here's why:
- Getting lost is part of the experience. Since I joined Facebook, my 'activities' entry has read: "Getting lost in as many different countries as possible, learning languages so I can ask for directions when that happens, trying out as many new things as possible along the way." I really mean this.
- My goal on holiday is to experience a place, not to tick off a hot-list of 'sights' (with the exception of the Great Wall of China!), so if I spend the whole time meandering through the streets and visiting coffee shops, I'll still come home feeling that I've achieved what I wanted.
- By wandering around being friendly, it's usually possible to find some helpful locals - e.g. we were shown some Cuban mountain villages by someone whose family lived there, but if we'd hired a guide we would never have known to ask for a tour there because (with no road access) it is not obvious that the villages exist. Heck, I've even found a friendly local for NYC before I set off!
How about you?