There is little doubt that experiences as a Traveller are far greater than those as a Tourist. Simply because of the freedom, luxury of time and the opportunity to connect with the culture; for more details check an earlier post. Having said that, by no means would I say that being a Tourist is not the best way to travel or something I would never do. Ultimately, it is always the experience that counts and which is what you have forever to cherish!
Taking a Travellers path can get you to some very interesting locations that are not frequented by other people. For more such interesting photos, click here.
I have seen both worlds and have come to a conclusion that you should consider a few points before deciding which way to go, that is, if you ever want to take a Travellers’ approach. The top points for consideration, for me, would be:
- Occasion and Purpose of Travel: Congratulations, you’ve got married. No matter what, you (or at least your spouse) probably would not want to do a backpack or gruelling honeymoon. On another day, you’re drained out and desperately need a break; probably again a better idea for someone else to take the headache and set out for a more comfortable trip.
- Destination: You’re off to a location you’ve always wanted to go to but neither do you follow any of the languages spoken in that region nor do you fancy the food; more common with the Asian continent. Alternatively, you could be off to a destination that has some unrest or is notorious for having left unpleasant experiences for visitors. In these cases, again you might be better off as a Tourist.
- Time on hand: So you’re destination is set but for some reasons you’ve had to cut it down in terms of days but the show must go on! Here again, if you haven’t made your bookings already, it might be worthwhile to get hold of a tour operator to manage it for you so that you at least cover all the ‘must see/do things’ at ease. Also, there are scenarios and cases that even while doing the trip as a Traveller, you do a portion of it as a tourist. A recent example, from my own trip, – you’re in Hong Kong and have an extra day on hand and wouldn’t mind doing Shenzhen, which is across in China. You’re you can get a take the train and get there and discover the place yourself, but it would make more sense to get hold of a local tour operator for that day – saves a lot of time and energy, and may be money as well, and the experience over a day may not be too different as a Traveller or Tourist.
- Travel company: You’d normally only travel with people of choice but you’ll need to be considerate of the entire groups’ opinion; the Travellers style may not go down well with all. Also, the fact whether you have you parents or kids; though I’ve surely seen Travellers with little kids as well.
- Budget/Costs: Before, making a final call, it is never a bad idea to check some early bird and/or last minute online deals, after you’ve worked out the costs. Often, you get some good discounts or companion pays 50% – in short some excellent bargains. They may not cover all you had originally chalked out, but worth weighing the options, or adding extra days apart from the Tour if possible.
At times, it is good to be on a guided tour, especially, if language can be a barrier. You can always travel like a Traveller and just opt for a one-off Local tour. For more photos, click here.
These are my recommendations, which you may want to consider the next time you plan out a trip. Moreover, it is also probably a good idea to mix and match the two, in proportions you’re most comfortable with to work out that best case scenario for yourself.