Monday, 8 August 2011

Not Another Tour

I have a great aversion for guided tours, not that I have been on any extended ones, just the odd day trip. The idea of being herded around in a group for days on end just goes against the whole idea of travel in my mind.

There are tours that advertise sixteen European countries in 20 days, the mind boggles, it would be the case if it was Tuesday it must have been France. You would see a lot and experience nothing. Just tick off the iconic sites. Seen the Eiffel Tower tick, seen the Arc de Triomphe tick, an hour in the Louvre, seen the Mona Lisa tick and so on it goes. If you are lucky you will have a free afternoon to explore but with such an itinerary and the amount of time you would need traveling you would probably be too exhausted to enjoy a leisurely stroll anywhere other than to your hotel room to recover.

Where’s the fun of wandering around the streets discovering some out of the way place for yourself, spending a leisurely day in the museum or art gallery, lingering over lunch and heaven forbid interacting with the locals, not just the ones paid to look after and entertain you.

I am aware that many people enjoy guided tours but for me the idea of being stuck with 20 or 30 people day in and day out herded like cattle just wouldn’t do. What if there are some people in your group that are totally obnoxious or inconsiderate.  Or have someone ask an inane question or complain about the food not being like back home or some other thing and my patience would be stretched to breaking point. This would be the reason I wouldn’t make a good tour guide, the thought of going on tours herding 20 to 30 people for a living makes be shudder. As far as I’m concerned if people want things exactly like they have at home, then stay home don’t even think about travel even on a tour.

As a free spirit you have time to explore and get to absorb the atmosphere of different places you visit. You stay longer in each place maybe ‘see’ less but feel and enjoy more. This way you won’t see 16 countries in 20 days but travel isn’t just about ticking off the iconic must see sites in as many destinations that is humanly possible in the shortest time.

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