The different types of food tours aren’t the same because they work differently. Guided food tours tend to be rigid while self-guided tours are usually more flexible.

Guided Food Tours

This is a ticketed event where a group of ten to twenty people is led through a list of restaurants. A food tour will look like this:

Guests have to book the tour in advance, the same way someone has to buy tickets to a concert, sporting event or other attraction that has a set date and time. The cost will cover food, tips, and tax at the restaurants you visit, and also any transport needed. Keep in mind it doesn’t include the tip for the guide.

The guests usually show up at a given location, which in most cases is the first restaurant of the tour. The date and time are going to be specified when buying the ticket. The guide will be at this location alongside other people who booked the food tour.

The first restaurant is going to serve small portions on the menu items. The restaurants pre-determine the items, which means you don’t know what you are going to eat until you are served. It isn’t customary to add items like drinks at each stop.

When you are done at the restaurant, the guide is going to take you to the next one. It is common to find walking food tours where the restaurants are closely located. Others provide you with a van or bus and a driver.

The guide is going to lead guests through the list of restaurants sampling the food at each of them until the tour is done.

Self-Guided Food Tours

This will let you visit many restaurants, but people have the option of picking and choosing the place they want to visit and when to visit. How does it work?

A guest browses from a large collection of tours. Each of the tours has a broad time window where someone can go to each of the restaurants, and also taste the signature items they can choose from when they arrive, allergy and dietary accommodation, and other important details.

The guests can choose their time and group size when they make a standard restaurant reservation. There are some that will let guests pre-pay for drinks, and they can come at discounted prices. They then have to complete the purchase, which will include menu items and tips, and tax at each of the stops.

The guests can go to any of the stops in any order they want at any valid time. There are no additional guests or guides. The person who booked is going to show the confirmation when they arrive at each of the restaurants.

The part seats and places orders from the tasting menu of the restaurant. The items are cooked to order and they are in larger portions compared to one in a guided food tour, but small enough that you can make multiple stops. You can order additional items when you are on a self-guided tour even though the food you get is more than what you get when you are on a typical meal out.

There won’t be a bill unless there are additional items ordered, which allows guests to go to the next restaurant when they are ready. The guests keep visiting the different restaurants until they are done with the tour. While some choose to go through all the stops in a row, there are those who prefer splitting up the tour, visiting a few stops in the afternoon, taking a break to sightsee, and then completing the rest in the evening.

When to choose a guided food tour vs a self-guided food tour

Guided tours are good for people who want an educational and structured experience, and they don’t mind paying more to get a premium for a guide. Below are some of the benefits of a guided food tour;

Everything has been pre-arranged and you don’t have to stress about the restaurants to visit or what you are going to eat at each of them.

Guides have a good understanding of the area and each of the restaurants, and it makes the experience as much about culture and history as it is about drinks and food.

It includes transport for travelling tours that include driving from one restaurant to another

Having a large group of people allows you to meet like-minded friends, which is great for solo travellers.

There aren’t long wait times at the restaurants because they know when the group is arriving and often there is a table waiting.

Self-guided tours are a good option for people who place more value on the food, and also those who want better customization and flexibility and an experience that is easy and quick to book. Below are more benefits of self-guided tours:

Self-guided tours are less expensive compared to guided tours because guides are expensive.

Self-guided tour platforms have partnered with many restaurants in areas where traditional guided tours cannot operate in.

Self-guided tours can be enjoyed at any time and day, but guided food tours have a set schedule that guests have to stick with.

You get to enjoy your time alone because there are any additional guests present. You can move at your own pace, which makes the experience even better.

You can dine at your own leisure because there is no strict start or end time

Most menu lets you chose two to three items from a list of five to six signature dishes, which adds some flexibility and prove helpful for people with allergies and other dietary restrictions.

It is possible to order additional items at the different restaurants and the menu portions are typically larger. Whatever you choose to do on your foodie break make sure that you are getting the best accommodation and the best locations. Take a look here for amazing deals: Find the perfect base for your break.