by Nikki McKee
Once upon a time I swore I would never be a tourist and go on a pre-packaged tour. I was proud to be an independent traveller and I turned my nose up at tourists. I was quite clear about the difference between travellers and tourists.
Oh how things have changed! These days I love travelling on group tours – someone else has done all the preparation. The tour operators know the best places to visit, they’ve investigated all the hotels and I don’t have to spend hours researching each place, what I might do and where I might stay.
I’ve also found that tours make for a real holiday. When you step out of departures at the airport someone is waiting there for you with a sign with your name on it. You get taken to your hotel where they are expecting you. The next day your guide and driver collect you and off you go exploring a new place – with someone else leading the way. You get to kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday.
Another bonus is the price. By doing things as a package, with people who know what they are doing and do it all the time, they are able to get things at a great rate. If you were to try and put together the same package on your own it would cost a lot more. They really are fantastic value.
I also had the idea that a group tour meant a packed coach trip with 40 plus people where you had to spend ages getting on and off buses only to be taken back to your hotel at the end of the day exhausted. But I've discovered there are many kinds of group tours – such as small group tours with a maximum of 10 people that use a minivan for transport. Then there are private tours where you get the benefit of someone else planning and preparing the trip for you but it is just you and your group – whatever size that may be.
I so love the new way of travelling that I’ve questioned why I ever was so snobbish about tours.
There is no right or wrong way to travel. Independent travelling is a beautiful way to see the world. And other times it is simply lovely to be a tourist, join in with others and take a tour.
If you haven’t yet tried travelling in a group tour, from a convert it comes highly recommended :)
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