Updated: Aug 17, 2019
There are so many choices when it comes to travel transportation, from renting a car, to booking group tours, to hiring private driver-guides. Of course there are pros and cons to each choice.
Renting a car, allows for complete and total freedom to do whatever you want to do and when. For some, this is the perfect way to see the world. They love getting behind the wheel, navigating unfamiliar territory and, well, the adventure of it. It can really be a lot of fun for those who seek out this kind of experience. But there are some tricky things involved in this choice. Each country has its own set of rules, some of which are not very straightforward and involve cultural knowledge. Police work differently in every territory, and have different expectations in terms of how they want to be treated by drivers. Some rules are just “unspoken” and only understood by locals. It’s also very easy to be scammed when using this mode of transport. The companies often figure out a way to claim that you have gone over the mileage allowance (taking away from the freedom aspect) or blaming you for damage that was already there. It’s also difficult to read road signs when they are in a different language. And then there is the fact that, in a lot of countries, you need to drive on the opposite side of the road from the one you are used to! It’s a lot to deal with.
Group tours help to avoid this. With them you have a driver taking you where you need to go. With a reputable company, ou know that it’s a seasoned professional, and that you don’t have to worry about getting to your destination safely. However, with a group the freedom goes out the window. You are at the mercy of the itinerary, and there is usually little to no room for changes or spontaneity. You watch as the bus goes rushing past beautiful photo opportunities that you can't take advantage of (just as you would when on a bus or from the train). You may find you need to go to the restroom, or are hungry, but you can’t just take care of these personal needs whenever you wish to — you must wait until the designated stopping points are reached, and at times this can be extremely uncomfortable. If you see an appealing road, town or building along the way that seems intriguing, again, you have to tolerate missing out on it. For some this is all OK — they are content just going with the flow of the set itinerary — happy to see what is presented and never concerned about all they are missing. For others, like me, this is tantamount to torture!
My own personal choice is to travel with a private driver-guide, and here’s why: With this mode of transport, you have all the freedom of renting a car without the risks of breaking the rules. And you know you’ll arrive safely at your destination without needing to conform to the restrictions written into a group tour. It’s really the best of all travel transport choices, in my humble opinion. As for the cons, there is only one, which is price. You will pay more for this, but the positive aspects make it more than worth it. What follows is a more detailed list of the top reasons for traveling with a private driver-guide.
1. You are safe and protected.
Travel with a Private Driver has lots of benefits, but the key is finding one that is well vetted! Knowing that your driver comes from a reputable resource makes all the difference. When your private driver is vetted, you know that you, your loved ones and your belongings are in the care of a trustworthy person. It's a great way to avoid the risks of theft and pickpocket incidents that happen more and more frequently on various forms of public transport. And with a personal tour driver, you also know that, in the event that something unfortunate does occur, perhaps when you are outside of the car, you will be helped and taken care of -- you won't be left on your own to figure out what to do. You and your belongings are well cared-for when you have found your private driver-guide from a trusted source like TravelDrivers.
2. You have complete and total freedom.
When you travel with a private driver-guide, you call the shots. You can decide to take it easy and slow, or to run around seeing 25 things in one day if you’d like to! You can start the day later, or earlier, and you never have to wait for others as you might on a group tour (that is, unless you’re waiting for your own companions!). With a personal tour driver, you can spontaneously ask to take that lovely side road you'd otherwise have to pass by, and stop in all the beautiful spots along the way to take photos and gaze at the views, rather than regrettably passing these things by because of a schedule that's set in stone. You also get to stop for the bathroom or a meal anytime it suits you, rather than uncomfortably waiting for “rest time”. When you hire a car with a private driver, you can do whatever you want to do when you want to do it. That’s complete and total freedom!
3. You are with a companion.
For you solo travelers, having an excellent driver-guide means that you aren’t really alone. You can spend as much or as little time with your personal chauffeur as you’d like, at least in most instances. If you do not like having your meals alone, you may invite your private driver to join you (though in these cases it is kind to pay for their meal as well). If you are taking a strenuous hike, many driver-guides will come along with you, leading the way so that you feel safe and helping you in the event of a fall.
4. You can really relax and enjoy the ride.
If you are renting a car, you must know the rules of the road and be able to navigate the streets and terrain, not to mention dealing with driving on the opposite side from the one that you are used to, in some countries, and figuring out what road signs mean when they're in a different language. If you yourself are at the wheel, you must look ahead of you. You can’t really enjoy the beautiful scenery you’re passing along the way, and you end up missing a lot of what travel is all about! In some countries, cars are often stopped by officials and there are specific ways to deal with them that only locals know and understand. There is so much opportunity for trouble when you drive yourself while traveling. With private transport, all of these things are left to the driver-guide. You can sit back and enjoy the ride without a care in the world.
5. You can communicate.
Travel in a foreign country often involves language barriers. If you take public transportation of any sort, for example, from buses to taxis to trains, you not only risk being the victim of dishonesty, thieves and pickpockets, but in the aftermath of such unfortunate occurrences, you'll be needing to tell your story and explain the situation. Language will be key and the communication challenges can cause misunderstandings that can potentially make things worse and even bring your travels to a standstill. But with a private driver-guide by your side, especially when you find him or her through TravelDrivers, you avoid these risks and always have your own personal translator to help you through any and all situations and get you back on the road again.
6. You will have an authentic experience with a knowledgeable local.
When you hire a professional driver-guide who has been screened and vetted, you know that you are with a good person — one who is interesting and fun to get to know. Your time with this private chauffeur allows you to learn more about the country or area that you are visiting, while getting to know your driver as well. You can practice speaking their language during this time, or find out more about the customs or cuisine.
7. You learn about and experience insider secrets.
A quality personal tour driver also has special insider secrets to reveal, and will often take you somewhere unexpected and wonderful to ensure you have a priceless experience during your time with them. They might show you places that aren’t usually in the guide books, or restaurants frequented by locals rather than tourists. It could be a special breathtaking view point or a cake shop with incredible offerings. You never know what it will be until you are there, but these experiences are often what is most memorable about your custom tour with a local private driver-guide.
8. You don’t have to plan.
Private travel transport with a seasoned personal driver provides opportunities to relinquish control. You can trust that your driver-guide will know just what to show you, and tailor it to your specific needs, requests and requirements. You set the tone and he or she will do the rest! If you prefer to avoid crowded tourist areas, let them know and you’ll be taken to calmer places. You are always “in the driver’s seat” when it comes to decisions but with the choice to contribute as much or as little as you desire.
9. Your needs are met.
Whether you have a physical ailment or disability, or certain fears associated with travel, your trusted personal driver will be there to help you. Please note: It is best to express your own special needs during the booking process so that there are no surprises on either end. With TravelDrivers, you can find a driver with experience working with all kinds of people with varying needs. We always do our best to help match you with the perfect person for a smooth and carefree trip! When it comes to simple needs such as water and perhaps an umbrella, a top-notch driver-guide always has such things in the car and readily available. And when you’re hungry or need a bathroom stop, just let the driver know and they will take care of you, always doing their best to find a good place that is clean and well kept.
10. You have a trip of a lifetime!
Keeping numbers 1-9 in mind, with a private driver-guide by your side, the chances of unsolvable problems arising are slim to none. This kind of travel, with personal and custom tour driver, allows for the best possible chance of experiencing a vacation that surpasses even your wildest dreams! And when your driver is a true TravelDriver, everything is possible!
Take the Scenic Route, with TravelDrivers!
c. TravelDrivers 2019