Choosing a tour or travel guide means you’re probably planning to take a tour somewhere or maybe travel abroad. If I were to choose a travel guide, I would make sure that they knew the local language and had experience living or touring the local area. But there are other factors to consider. Let’s take a look at the points to consider when choosing a guide to tour a country anywhere around the world. Let’s take for example, Malta.
In Europe there are standards for travel guides who are “interpreting the cultural and natural heritage” of the area. This is the European definition of tour guiding and the tour guide is required to have a license (CEN) to do this kind of work. The license permits them to conduct tours in all museums and sites in a city and all its top destinations. To get a license, the tour guide has to pass a test in the local tourist authority. But if someone is showing you the nightlife and gift shops in a particular country, then that is not considered part of the standards for tour guiding in Europe and so does not need a license.
In Malta, the local tourist authority will have a list of licensed tour guides to choose from. If you book a tour with a particular company or part of a holiday package deal, the travel company will have employed a licensed travel guide for the group.
Local Tour Guides
If you are booking a local tour guide yourself and not going with the organised tour packages at the hotel or resort, then take into account the following points before making a decision:
- Choose a tour guide that is licensed and recognised by the local tourist authority.
- The tour with the local tour guide will be private so it is with you and the people you choose to be with.
- Guide services and price is per tour and not per person.
- Remember that there may be other charges to the tour like tickets for museum or boat rides.
- The tour guide can pre-purchase tickets for you and your group before going on the tour.
There are many different tours to choose from when booking with a holiday agent but finding a local travel guide and customising your own tour will make sure that you are happy with the choice of destinations and how long you spend at each site. When you book cheap hotels in Malta ask about the local tour guide listing so that you can make your choice and communicate with them personally.
Malta has some wonderful treasures to discover with beautiful beaches, vibrant night life and as a Maltese friend of mine said “an incredible variety of food to tempt the most demanding of foodies”. When touring Malta, it is a must to take a mini-cruise around the other islands of Gozo and Comino and to view the amazing walled fortifications, secret inlets and bays. It will also give tourists a chance to enjoy the beautiful beaches and maybe even take in some water sports with snorkelling and jet-skiing. Malta has a lot to offer as it is steeped in history. Visiting the many Neolithic and pre-historic sites will bring a feeling of awe and mystery to being present on the islands.
There is so much to see and the island is not that big. There are hundreds of churches, chapels and places of worship to visit. Tourists can also make it a mini-pilgrimage getting in touch with their faith as well as taking in the many activities to relax and rejuvenate the body. A very holistic holiday can be organised by getting to know the archipelago.
There are many deals for good hotel accommodations in Malta. It is especially easy to get good deals during the off season when the weather is still good. The best time for off-season is in April/May or September/October. The busy time of the year with lots of tourists are the summer months of June/July/August when the weather is very hot.
Transportation is cheap in Malta so it is possible to travel by bus, taxi, charter boat, seaplane, ferry and car. As transport is cheap, then hiring a car to tour the island is a good idea. You hop on a ferry when you want to and discover little hidden gems on the journey that you may not have found had you taken an organised tour bus. If you want to use a taxi you have to book in advance and agree to the price before you are picked up.
There are taxi-tours that you can organise but it is best to keep it short to 3 or 4 hours to get a flavour for the islands. Book in advance and agree to the price of the taxi-tour and have them pick you up at your hotel. When you search for cheap hotels in Malta, ask about their tips on local tours. It is best to hire a licensed tour guide when visiting historical sites as taxi-tours will not be licensed and many times give incorrect information.
The Real Flavour
So when hiring a tour guide make sure that they are licensed according to the European standards. You can take taxi-tours for short trips and hire a car to see the islands. But remember, hiring a tour guide for a personalised tour is well worth it as you will get a real flavour for the history and culture of the archipelago.
Ariana Louis is a travel journalist with a degree in history. She loves to travel the world investigating new sites and researching into the local history and culture. As a backpacker, she has extensively travelled Asia and Europe. She loves having good conversations with the local folks and writes about them in travel magazines. Right now, Ariana writes for Travel Republic and gives reviews on local food and cheap hotels in Malta.