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Private Tours vs. Group Tours: Which is Best for Your Juneau Trip?

a plane sitting on top of a car parked in a parking lot

When planning your trip to Juneau, you’ll want to include at least a tour or two whether you’re visiting by cruise ship or independently. Tours led by locals are a great way to get local insight, but there are some pretty significant differences between private tours vs. group tours in Juneau.

We don’t necessarily like to toot our own horn so to speak, but there really is no comparison to the experiences offered by Alaska Luxury Tours. That’s because there are no other options in the Alaskan capital with such exclusive offerings from luxury, private transportation to authentic Juneau adventures complete with delicious light bites and beverages.

Of course, not all travelers fit the same box. So, to help you make the best decision for your trip to Southeast Alaska, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of private tours vs. group tours in Juneau.

Private Tours in Juneau

Alaskan guide standing next to fallen tree

The Pros

Your own personal pro for local insight

Having your own personal guide means you’ll have expert local knowledge right at your finger tips. You can ask all the questions you’d like without having to compete with others to get your guide’s attention. Oftentimes, it can feel like you’re joining a local friend or famiily member for a much more authentic experience.

With Alaska Luxury Tours, for example, during your hike, whale watch or private land tour, you’ll have a naturalist guide at your side who can provide information on the area, its history, and what you’re seeing. You might even ask about the guide’s favorite bars or restaurants to ensure you enjoy the best eats and drinks. With a private tour, it’s all about personalization for a unique excursion focused on how you want to experience Juneau.

trekkers walking through wilderness

Total freedom & flexibility while exploring at your own pace

A personalized private tour ensures total freedom and flexibility. The itinerary and schedule will be planned around your needs and interests. It’s all catered to particular tastes and the time available. That includes everything from the things to do and the places visited, to the types of activities and even the menu. With a personal tour, there are no rigid pre-planned itineraries. You can explore at your own pace, taking time to savor every moment. You’ll have time to capture those postcard-perfect photos of Mendenhall Glacier, Auke Bay, and Alaskan wildife.

That said, at Alaska Luxury Tours we happily provide suggestions and have our own itineraries in mind to get your started.

a close up of a car

More Exclusivity

While group tours are often taken in larger vans or buses packed with other travelers, private tours allow you to travel by a private car or even your own private yacht. Whether on land, on water, or a mix of both, private tours allow for more luxury as there isn’t a need to squeeze in dozens of people.

Booking with Alaska Luxury Tours means you’ll be treated to luxury Mercedes “Land Yacht” transportation and/or a state-of-the-art private yacht. For a large group tour, that simply isn’t possible. 

a man and a woman standing next to a body of water

You Tour with the People You Know and Love

With a group tour, you never know who is going to be joining. With a private tour you can be sure you’re exploring with someone you know and (assumably) like. It’s an experience just for you and those you’re traveling with, other than the guide and/or crew. We find that it’s perfect for bonding, enjoying special moments away from the constant distraction of electronic devices.

The Cons

Higher cost

While it is hard to beat a private tour, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any cons to the experience. With group tours, there are more people to share in the expense. They aren’t as personalized and usually there aren’t many “luxuries” included. That means that private tours are priced higher, although many feel they are a better overall value.

Do consider that if you’re traveling with your own group of friends, you might be able to split the cost making it more affordable. In fact, booking a private tour can even be more economical than the per-seat cost of individually booking everyone on a group tour. Be sure to compare apples to apples, including the prices and overall benefits.

Not the best option for meeting new people

On a private tour, you’ll be with your own group so you don’t have the opportunity to meet others. While this can be a big plus for some, others want to enjoy the chance to make new friends with potentially like-minded travelers.

Group Tours in Juneau

The Pros

Meeting new people

Technically, meeting new people is both a pro and a con, depending on who those others are. But as mentioned, some prefer the opportunity to make new friends and acquaintances that might come from all over the world. The more people, the more opportunities there are. Of course, that also means you could end up traveling with some you’d prefer not to meet. And, for introverts or anyone else who doesn’t want to share their vacation with strangers, group tours aren’t the best option.

It might be cheaper

Group tours are usually the cheaper option as travelers can benefit from the savings associated with sharing resources. But bear in mind that it does depend on the number of people in your party and other factors. Sometimes the cost of a private tour can be comparable when comparing per-person costs.

The Cons

seal lions battling

Inconvenience and discomfort

With a lot of other people on a tour, the needs of everyone have to be considered. That can make it more inconvenient for some. It starts with transport as group tours typically pick up and drop off travelers which means numerous stops in both directions, potentially. It will take longer for the fun to get going and it might be awhile before you’re returned. In addition, waiting for others to return at an agreed meeting time can be frustrating.

Of course, the transport method itself usually means packing lots of people into a small space which can be uncomfortable. Or, even worse, you could end up with a bad cold.

A strict schedule

You won’t have the freedom to go at your own pace, spending more or less time at certain spots, or enjoy a more personalized itinerary. You’ll have to follow a strict schedule as the goal of a group tour is to ensure the overall group is satisfied, rather than the individual. These tours have rigid itineraries, stop durations, dates, and times.

And, we return back to where it all began. Instead of those cons, with Alaska Luxury Tours it’s all about exclusivity, luxury, and personalization. No cramped rides or strict schedules that have to be adhered to. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll want to book one of our private excursions like the Best of Juneau by Mercedes Land Yacht or a Private Luxury Whale Watch.