So much for the darn kids, let’s talk about us.
We’ve already established in another blog post, that most people don’t travel as I do. There’s a lot of really good reasons for that, one is that vacations are short. People who are working don’t have a lot of time to go off on trips and they need to make the most of the vacation time that they have. That means they need a quality trip. they need a vacation that’s going to not go bad or be a poor experience.
So often, moms and dads will go on vacation but they will use an established tour company or travel agency. They will to a vacation resort (maybe all-inclusive) to ensure that they have a quality vacation. They may also be taking a family vacation with the kids, which precludes, in some cases, backpacking across Asia and staying in hostels (although that’s not necessarily true or warranted). I know that with my kids, travelling needed structure and stability.
When you only have one vacation a year, you want to make sure that that trip comes off in the way that you expect. Having a travel agent or company prepare your vacation tour or book an all-inclusive resort becomes very appealing.
It’s also easy. You can book it online you can go to a travel agent and you can simply say book me a trip, You give them your criteria or you can say to them “Send me somewhere nice I just want to find the sun.”
I don’t have any problem with that. In fact, for a lot of people that makes the most sense.
Another reason why people might want to go on a plant tour, particularly something like a bus tour or a river cruise or an ocean cruise for that matter is that they may have limited mobility and getting around could be a problem. That is not to say, that people who have physical challenges cannot travel solo or backpacking but physical challenges can make it more difficult.
On planned cruises and tours, things are done for you. You’re picked up in the morning, you’re taken directly to the front door of the attraction and you’re shepherded through the days’ events with a guide to make sure that you understand the culture and history of the attraction that you’re looking at. You stay in nice hotels, in clean sheets with a great bathroom and, hopefully, good Wi-Fi.
Another reason to take a tour or to book a resort is that you are paired up with other people who have similar types of interests and background. It becomes easier to make friends and acquaintances. You may enjoy your experiences in a group atmosphere when you take a tour. Many of my friends make lifelong friends on their vacations and stay in touch regularly.
There are many amazing types of tours that you could sign up for:
- Ocean Cruises,
- River Cruises,
- Bus Tours,
- Small-Group Tours,
- Adventure Tours,
- City Tours
- Country Tours
The list goes on and on. Here are some amazing tours for Moms and Dads that seem to offer incredible value at a great price.
Some things I don’t like about tours
Like everything else in life, there’s also a downside. These are some of my personal pet peeves about organized tours. There are lots of things to watch for and consider as you look at a pre-packaged tour.
The first is a personal pet peeve is the “single supplement”. The single supplement is a payment that is taken by the tour company when you travel alone. Because the tour company is booking a double room and it’s could be occupied by one person, they feel that it’s fair to charge you an additional amount because the other bed is not occupied. The tour company does that because they have planned their tour finances based on two people occupying a room thereby having the cost per person but being able to charge almost a full rate to both people. The better tour companies allow you to double up with another person who has booked the tour and consequently you both avoid a single supplement. This does mean that you have to be used to occupying a room with a complete stranger for the period of the tour. A lot of my friends are not going to be good with that.
Another pet peeve is the hidden charges. You look at the tour brochure and you expect that it covers everything and you’re happy that it’s all-inclusive. But the very small fine print at the end of the itinerary tells you that tips for guides and drivers are not included. Sometimes admission to attractions is not included and often beverages and other items are excluded from the “all-inclusive cost”. (I hate that on cruise ships that I have to pay for a glass of cola or soda water. To me it is just a hidden fee, like the airlines)
And the worst possible thing for me is the “shopping expedition”. These are often sneakily portrayed as educational opportunities. “Today we will stop at this excellent rug making facility, where you will observe how rugs are made”. I once missed the change to see the Sphinx in Egypt because of a 2 hour stop at not just a rug-making factory but also a perfume factory. Getting all of those people off the bus, into the factory, watching them shop/compare/haggle and pay for their rug, get out of the factory and back on the bus just waster 3 hours of my life.
The reason this occurs is – the tour company is getting a payment or kick back on all of your purchases. Now this applies to solo travel as well. When you are in a taxi or tuk-tuk and the driver suddenly swerves to the curb and announces “This is my cousin’s fine jewellery store. Come, come – no pressure, just look!”
With the tour, you’re also on a schedule. The schedule might be carefully planned in order to ensure that you stay on your itinerary. For me, it can be frustrating. Sometimes I will find myself in a museum where I need more time to explore something that’s of interest to me. I’ll find myself being herded out the door by your tour guide to move onto the next stop. I guess for me and the shoppers on the bus this is the reverse of the situation above. Life is so much easier when you don’t have to worry about anyone else.
There are lots of other minor irritants such as obnoxious travel companions, and clean bus bathrooms and restaurants stops where the food served is, let’s say, less than appetizing.
So trying to sum it up, tours are an amazing thing for some people. So maybe you should take one….