packaged group tours | good or bad thing?

example of a expertly designed tour offered on the Tauck Tours website

Who cannot relate to the impassioned question posed by a confused traveler on fodors.com.
First, I booked a cruise to Italy. then dumped it. Then I booked a group tour to Italy. Still have that one, but the time for losing my deposit is almost up. 
But through it all I have a friend who keeps telling me it's ridiculous. She says I should get on travelocity and book a flight and some hotels and just go on my own. She says Italy is the easiest place to visit; you can see everything and move around easily with trains.  
That friend speaks fluent Italian, was raised in Italy, and goes back every year with her husband, and they have a lot of money. I am exactly the opposite. I've never been out of the country except to England, speak only English, and going with another woman who has never traveled in her life. Money is an issue. I'm also not sure of all the sites I'd want to see. 
Do you have any advice about which way to travel? I'm already lost and I haven't even left yet!
She probably chose the wrong forum to ask for advice. Fodors is an exceptional resource for travelers who revel in planning every element of their own trip. Go to booking.com, they told her. It's so easy to book your hotels. It's so easy to travel by train. It's so easy to find the best prices this way, they claimed.

But it's also so easy for inexperienced travelers to make expensive mistakes. All of us have made and learned from our travel mistakes, especially professional travel advisors. In fact, the wisdom we've learned the hard way is the very best resource we can offer our clients. We will think about neighborhoods that are safe, attractive, with an easy walk to where you want to be. We will research days on which favorite attractions may be closed to tourists. We will advise when you should buy tickets in advance, avoiding wasting hours needlessly spent in queues.

The most basic travel question is the task of creating an itinerary that makes sense. And that's why, for this particular traveler, a packaged group tour is probably her wisest choice. She'll buy an itinerary that makes sense with knowledgeable tour guides everywhere. She'll probably enjoy better pricing than if she booked everything on her own. Best of all, she will awaken each day anticipating a ready-made experience ... instead of trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Can a travel advisor help if you want a packaged group tour? Definitely, yes! Tour companies are not created equal, and the quality of group tours differs markedly. A travel advisor can point you to vetted tour companies whose group tours offer exceptional experiences, companies like Tauck Tours, Backroads, and Abercrombie & Kent. And, yes, we'll get a commission from the tour company ... but it won't cost you an extra penny to book that tour through us.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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