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The 6 Benefits of Taking a Private Accessible Tour

When traveling through Europe, my favorite part of visiting a city is taking a guided tour with a local.  And it’s not just my opinion…we hear the same thing from our clients:

“…but the best part of the whole trip was the guides. Justin, Rahul, and Patti were simply amazing.

We hit it off with Justin from the beginning. Justin had the most interesting perspective about history in relation to current day politics (and we were all on the same page, haha!). The Pantheon and the Ancient City were my favorite parts of his tour, primarily because of the way he discussed them.

Rahul was colorful in the way he acted out, almost like a performer, the bits of history he pointed out at the Vatican. The Vatican Museum was Andy’s favorite part.

Patti’s tours of Florence were particularly interesting because she pointed out small details in the architecture and streets that conveyed fascinating moments in middle ages history. We also loved her mini-tour in the farmacia at Santa Maria Novella.

All three guides truly made the vacation extra special due to their depth and breadth of knowledge and to their adaptability and patience with Andy and me.

Please let John Sage and everyone in your organization that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are also looking forward to our next trip abroad with you!

Warm regards,
Kate and Andy, manual wheelchair user

One of the first decisions when choosing an accessible tour in Europe is deciding between a private tour or a group tour. A group tour may save a little money over a private tour, but they do not provide the same experiences. The list below is why I like to recommend accessible private tours that allow you to explore sights and create your own memories without the restrictions of large groups.

The 6 Benefits of a Private Accessible Tour

1. Flexibility – You decide when to stop to rest, eat, shop, or explore in further detail, with your guide always ready to give advice.  You can skip sights that don’t interest you, or you can pause to have a coffee in a beautiful place like the Portofino harbor.

accessible lunch in Portofino
A private tour allows you the flexibility to pause for a cup of coffee in a beautiful setting like the Portofino harbor


2. Unique Experiences – Private tours can bring you where large groups can’t go.  The elevator at the Acropolis, a special vehicle to reach the Mt. Vesuvius volcano crater rim, and secret place containing discarded Soviet statues are just a few places that can only be done with a private accessible tour.

Hidden soviet statues
With a private accessible tour, you can visit hidden sights like discarded Soviet statues


3. Conversation Instead of a Lecture – On a group tour, many groups are large enough that they require the use of a microphone and headsets.  Consequently, you get one-way lecture through a speaker system, often with little opportunity to ask questions about the stories that interest you.

On a private tour, you have the opportunity to have a two-way conversation about the sights you are visiting and the local culture.  For example, I’m a big fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones. When I visited Dubrovnik, I learned that my tour guide had met many of the actors during the filming there.  I got to ask all sorts of questions about the filming locations and actors which made my day!

4. Accessibility Customized to Your Needs – When you book a private tour, your guide can choose a route that meets your specific accessibility needs.  For example, if you book a group tour in Kusadasi, you might be brought to the House of Virgin Mary that has a door too narrow for your wheelchair.  If you took a private accessible tour you could have skipped that sight and spent your time enjoying yourself elsewhere.

Also, keeping pace with an accessible group tour can be a challenge…even when you think you’ll have no problem rolling your wheelchair quickly.   During my accessible group tour in London, the elevator near the Millennium Bridge was broken and I got separated from the rest of the group.  I had to race my wheelchair 4 blocks along a route I didn’t know to try to meet up with the group. If I were on a  private accessible London tour, we could have leisurely altered the route while still hearing about the city of London along the way.

5. See and Learn More – Accessible group tours are often short and skip the top attractions. For example, one of the most common places that you will encounter accessible group tours is through a cruise line Shore Excursion Departments.  To make a tour “accessible”, their tour companies usually just pick their shortest driving tour that skips interior visits and add an accessible vehicle.

I took one of these accessible cruise line tours on my Baltic cruise.  I asked fellow disabled cruise passengers how they enjoyed the previous day in Stockholm.  They told me “we saw what we could”.  When I inquired further about what they saw, I found out that they learned one-third as much we did, saw half the number of sights that we did, and went on zero interior visits. They missed out on so much! 

Unfortunately many disabled travelers are unaware of the awesome accessible experiences that are available to them.  Since you are signed up for this newsletter, you don’t have to worry about that 🙂

Accessible Helsinki Tour Helsinki through a bus window

Which of these Helsinki photos might you frame and share with friends and family?  A photo from a private tour (shown on the left) or the photo taken through a bus window arranged by cruise line (shown on the right)?

6. Meet a local! – When you visit the most popular destinations in Europe, you will likely be surrounded by tourists and may not have much opportunity to mingle with the locals.  If you take a private accessible tour, you’re guaranteed to get to know at least one local!

Making friends with locals
I still keep in touch with my friend Hugo who was our private tour guide in Naples. On my last visit he brought me to the best pizzeria in Naples!


Did You Know?

We have a lot of US clients, so I’ve got to mention this.  Did you know that 2015 is the cheapest year for US residents to visit Europe in the last 5 years?  Over the past few years, I’ve been used to paying $1.40 for every €1 that I spend.  That rate is currently $1.19 and expected to fall further!  Read more:

Don’t miss out on the great opportunity
to visit Europe in 2015!

 Contact us today!


Travel Wisely,

John Sage, Founder and President of Sage Traveling

Phone: US: 1-888-645-7920, UK: +44 20 3540 6155

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