Advice for a Solo on a Custom Guided Tour

This item appears on page 17 of the April 2018 issue.

Mazel Pernell of Rockville, Maryland, wrote, “I’ve enjoyed international travel with group tours. All of them had a chaperone or tour director who was with the group for the duration of the tour. In planning my sixth trip to Africa for the fall of 2018, I didn’t find a set tour that I liked, so I’m working directly with a Ghana-based company to customize a 3-week tour that includes Ghana, Benin and Togo. Since none of my travel friends are up to touring West Africa, it looks like I will be soloing. The tour company will provide one chaperone/driver/guide for the duration of the trip as well as local guides in some locations. 

“I would appreciate hearing from any traveler who has been on an extended solo tour. Specifically, did you eat all or some meals with the chaperone? Did you pay for his or her meals? Obviously, in countries where tipping is encouraged, the total tip for the chaperone would be greater on a tour with multiple group members. Since I will be the only person on this tour, what would be a reasonable amount to tip the chaperone for a tour of nearly three weeks? (If a percentage of the total tour cost, what percentage? If a set amount per day of touring, how much? Another option?) What else do I need to consider?”

Subscribers, email or write to Advice for a Solo on a Custom Guided Tour, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. Include the address at which you receive ITN. (Photos, with captions, are welcome.) Responses will be printed in the magazine.