U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 04-29-2011, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,082 posts, read 6,698,836 times
Reputation: 2832

Advertisements

Out of 26 or so countries, I can count the guided tours on one hand. Didn't care for most, but some were okay. I won't say they're bad or good, but right now I prefer to go it alone. Let's see if I can remember them...

There was the walking tour of Berlin. That was the best. Free and we had an entertaining guide. Plus we spent 8 independent days in the city, so we had plenty of time to go re-visit the sights and do our own exploring.

Took a walking tour of Munich, but that was a total waste of time, so we split before the tour was over.

I think that was it for Europe. It's such an easy region to visit, I can't see doing an arranged tour. It's incredibly expensive even for backpackers, so I can't imagine what all-inclusive tour prices must be!

Let's see, there was the guided tour of Taman Negara in Malaysia. Bad food, crummy motel, mediocre activities. I hear it's a tough place to visit solo, though, so we just went with the package deal. It's not as if we care if the food is bad or the lodgings poor, but we prefer to pay what they're worth, instead of inflated tour prices. Plus, you've already paid for the meal, etc, so it's hard to justify taking off and finding more interesting eats.

Ah, Halong bay north of Hanoi. That was a pretty good tour. There was a Vietnamese group on the same boat celebrating their wedding, so we partied with them drinking some really potent rice alcohol, dancing to some wacky music, and eating spiny snails. Unless your boat sinks, I don't think you can have a bad Halong Bay tour. Securing a boat and finding places to stay would've been pretty tough on our own, so that's one good one.

Hired a driver to take us to the Pakistan border in far western China. That was quite an experience, but I wouldn't call it a tour. There were tour busses, but they went to government hotels while we stayed in a local family's yurt. That was during the riots, which was pretty wild. We were wandering around the lake under the spectacular mountains when we saw the tour busses go tear-assing down the road early in the morning. So, I guess that's another plus/minus of tours depending on your perspective. They'll keep you safe, but they really do insulate you from the local goings-on.

I think, as we get older, we might be more open to guided tours. However, you definitely feel insulated from a place when you're on the tour. Then again, if you care about history lessons, being entertained, and such, a tour guide is a useful thing to have to tell you what this thing that you're looking at is.

We wandered all over the temples of Angkor Wat without having any idea what it was we were looking at. Haha, most of my photos are captioned with phrases such as "another temple" "a church" "something" "another something" "a pointy thing" etc. I think it's fun to go see stuff without the spiel (you can always get a book before/after). But if you're the kind of person who really wants to know the deep historical meaning of this or that lump of rock, you'll want a guide. Going without a guide makes the world seem very small, as the day-to-day lives of people everywhere are pretty similar. When you sit down to tea (or whatever) with the locals, they don't usually care to talk about history, but rather about the here-and-now.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-29-2011, 02:56 PM
 
7,046 posts, read 9,790,186 times
Reputation: 7316
Quote:
Originally Posted by eureka1 View Post
I would rather share a bus with "60 jabbering camera-laden Japanese tourists" than with rude and insensitive Americans.
Haha, I see your tag as california? You must really hate your morning and afternoon solo drive to work.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 03:13 PM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 1,331,196 times
Reputation: 1469
Hired a driver to take us to the Pakistan border in far western China. That was quite an experience, but I wouldn't call it a tour. There were tour busses, but they went to government hotels while we stayed in a local family's yurt. - good point sponger42
We hired a driver and guide in Myanmar/Burma through a local guide so we didn't have to stay in government run hotels. Our guide helped us exchange money on the 'black market' and only took us to 'local' places so we knew where our money was going....I'd forgotten that !!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
3,794 posts, read 4,924,215 times
Reputation: 3821
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Haha, I see your tag as california? You must really hate your morning and afternoon solo drive to work.
What's your point? When I was working I had a ten-minute commute, didn't mind it at all.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 04:16 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,851 posts, read 18,097,011 times
Reputation: 19002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Any CD members here been on a guided tour? I'm interested to hear about experiences in different countries, but especially the States. I include all types of tours - luxury, budget, more sightseeing or adventure/eco type tours. I'm going on a Trek America tour and have heard lots of good things about it, wondering if anyone here had been on Trek or Intrepid, Contiki or perhaps Globus, Trafalgar etc. I've been on a camping tour in Australia and really enjoyed travelling with others and making friends (especially since I was travelling solo). I'll be travelling for 3 weeks from LA to NYC, staying at hostels and doing quite a few things (inc Vegas, Grand Canyon, Texas, Memphis, Appalachians, DC etc).
Personally, I do not care for guided tours. The main reason being that I am a late sleeper, and these things are notorious for wanting you up at the crack of dawn so you can have breakfast as a group before setting out for the day's activities. When I am on holiday, there is nothing worth getting up at 6 am (or even 9 am) for, IMHO. Part of my holiday is the joy of sleeping until noon or later if I choose to.

On the flip side of that, most guided tours (at least the ones that I am familiar with), do no explore the nightlife much. In case you haven't guessed by now, I am a night person and I prefer to eat a late dinner and then explore the nightlife of my destination (not necessarily bars).

The good thing about group travel is that you do tend to have more protection in numbers, in this crazy, violent world we live in. However, you do also read about a "group" of tourists who are blown up or whatever. So perhaps this is not as effective as it once was.

I find too, that guided tours do tend to be more sanitized and do not often show the underbelly of the destination. Not that I particularly want to be exposed to crime or seedy parts of town, but I do want to experience the "true flavor" of wherever I am visiting. Not just the places that offer those "Kodak" moments.

20yrsinBranson
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 04:40 PM
 
8,270 posts, read 6,192,981 times
Reputation: 4607
Well said 20yrs.

If I don't spend at least 3 days as a digestive spray paint can it wasn't a real trip.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 04:53 PM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 1,331,196 times
Reputation: 1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Well said 20yrs.

If I don't spend at least 3 days as a digestive spray paint can it wasn't a real trip.


The only time I was truly ill and couldn't leave my room in 23 years of trips was after husband and I ate a club sandwich in a hotel... mayonnaise I suspect...
I've eaten loads of stuff on sticks grilled over coal in a drum on the side of a bike and never had issues...It doesn't always taste good and I can't always tell what it is but as its usually cooked thoroughly.. no issues.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2011, 07:48 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,691 posts, read 19,918,327 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
Personally, I do not care for guided tours. The main reason being that I am a late sleeper, and these things are notorious for wanting you up at the crack of dawn so you can have breakfast as a group before setting out for the day's activities. When I am on holiday, there is nothing worth getting up at 6 am (or even 9 am) for, IMHO. Part of my holiday is the joy of sleeping until noon or later if I choose to.

On the flip side of that, most guided tours (at least the ones that I am familiar with), do no explore the nightlife much. In case you haven't guessed by now, I am a night person and I prefer to eat a late dinner and then explore the nightlife of my destination (not necessarily bars).

The good thing about group travel is that you do tend to have more protection in numbers, in this crazy, violent world we live in. However, you do also read about a "group" of tourists who are blown up or whatever. So perhaps this is not as effective as it once was.

I find too, that guided tours do tend to be more sanitized and do not often show the underbelly of the destination. Not that I particularly want to be exposed to crime or seedy parts of town, but I do want to experience the "true flavor" of wherever I am visiting. Not just the places that offer those "Kodak" moments.

20yrsinBranson
Holidays mean different things to different people. I like to be relaxed on holidays, but if I slept in till noon I'd feel like I was wasting my time there, since I spent all that money to get there, as I like to feel I'm getting my money's worth (although really travel isn't about money, I work to travel!).

There are a wide variety of tours out there. Not all tours are like those ones where they take a whole bunch of old people in a big bus and just see all the big sites. There are adventure tours, food tours, tours for age groups.etc - you name it, so in that regard tours are a lot more diversified than years ago. I too wouldn't like to always travel with tours, being rather independent, but I also enjoy it because it's a more social experience (travelling solo can be lonely at times, and travelling with a close friend or family member can get old/irritating after awhile) and you can do a lot of things in groups you might not otherwise do.

I generally don't travel with tours, but the couple of long tours I've been on have been like chalk and cheese. One was fantastic; best time I've had, we did alot of active things, went to places I wouldn't otherwise have gone to, had a great time together; the other we visited a lot of shops and didn't spend nearly as much time at the attractions as I would have liked.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2011, 08:53 AM
 
2,065 posts, read 2,480,969 times
Reputation: 2298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post

There are a wide variety of tours out there. Not all tours are like those ones where they take a whole bunch of old people in a big bus and just see all the big sites. There are adventure tours, food tours, tours for age groups.etc - you name it, so in that regard tours are a lot more diversified than years ago.
I agree, there is a variety of tours out there. But the "let's follow the program" factor is always there, and that is what bothers me.

I understand you saying that traveling solo might be lonely at times, but I would much rather do that than have a royal pain in the neck, clueless person talking nonstop ("I have a question!!" - oh, some people have endless questions! )... could you, dear sir/madam, read one single page about the place before you visit, please?? Not to mention there is always the royally obnoxious joker whose silly remarks are only funny to his mom.

It has got nothing to do with age, some of the most obnoxious people I have ever met while traveling - and being elbowed out of a store or a sight when the "famous" bus arrived - are far from "old people".
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2011, 09:04 AM
 
8,270 posts, read 6,192,981 times
Reputation: 4607
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisswife View Post
The only time I was truly ill and couldn't leave my room in 23 years of trips was after husband and I ate a club sandwich in a hotel... mayonnaise I suspect...
I've actually only been seriously hit twice, once from fish in Vietnam and once from something somewhere in North Africa where I actually brought back unwanted souvenirs living in my lower intestines. Good times!
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $89,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top