Planning a Trip?
You can “do it yourself”, but will it be all you’d hoped for?
Many people love doing everything themselves. That is why the Lowe’s and Home Depot are so successful. As I watch a little TV, I see online shopping for everything from cars to homes to travel. I can just hear people saying “I can do this myself. I don’t need any help.”
Having traveled all over the world on travel agent trips with guides, I have often wondered if I took the trip by myself with a map and train ticket, would I have learned as much as I am learning by having a guided tour? The answer is a resounding “NO”! From learning the history, architecture, knowing the best and safest areas of a city, to figuring how to find a street, you need a guide.
The Great Thing About Having a Tour Guide
There are different ways to have a guide. For instance, in Europe, you can go to the Information Offices in most cities and get a tour guide for a few hours or a full day. Or you can have a travel agent book a tour where you pre pay and have someone who knows the area show you around. People think they have to be on a bus with a bunch of “blue hairs” being dragged from city to city. That used to be the case. Now many tour companies give you some days in each city to really get the feel of the culture and the people and with an experienced guide for information.
As a travel agent, we have many road shows that come to town from countries all over the world. They bring their local guides who we can talk to and meet personally. Then we can contact them for our clients to have a personal guide wherever they go. Even though I have traveled all over the world, I can never know it all. Having a professional tell you history, sing songs, take you to local dinners and shows, make your trip a memorable experience and not just a pin in your map of the world
If you want an entire package to some international destination that includes air, transportation, hotels, tours, and meals, then we would pick a tour company who puts all those pieces together. Or we can get you an airline ticket, a train ticket, a rental car, hotels and local tours and give you all the confirmations. Then you decide the pace you want to travel and away you go.
In either case, it is important to have someone with some knowledge telling you where to go. In most countries, the signage is in a foreign language and you can waste a lot of time lost. I found that out in Paris when I went looking for the Hard Rock Cafe to get my souvenir pin. I think Paris laid out her streets to confuse incoming armies. It took me hours to go a few blocks. Then to find my way back to the train station was also daunting.
The main thing is to go see the world, but have a Certified Travel Professional show you the best way.
**originally published 8/2/11