Travelling alone? Don’t really know where to start? Or just want to meet new like minded friends? I have the travel solution for you – tours!
There are so many benefits of joining a tour, including the fact they organise everything for you, you just have to turn up, have fun and see sites.
I’ve loved every tour I’ve done and as corny as it sounds, have met some life long friends.
Here’s a wee comparison of various tour companies I’ve used.
Planning your Pilgrimage:
Yes I’ve done Contiki, and I had a ball. I was about 22. Two friends and I booked a the European Escapade – 25 days, visiting 10 countries.
√ You get a taster of a bunch of places – helping you decide where you might like to explore further.
√ You get to see so much with little personal planning effort.
√ It’s fun, I mean a bus full of 18-35 year olds = great time.
√ We were lucky and had a fantastic group who didn’t just want to get wasted all the time, so we had a ball.
√ You are with the same 30 odd people for 25 days on a bus, if you don’t like them you’re going to have an average time.
√ You are on a bus with air con for 25 days – you will get sick with what’s known as the ‘Contiki Cough’… it’s inevitable.
√ You really do whip through places, I mean two nights in Rome, come on.
I took a tour with these guys to Gallipoli for ANZAC day.
This company is predominantly used by expats living in London so if you are just travelling the area and not living there you may struggle to find others doing the same.
√ Easy to deal with, well organised
√ The tour guide was BEYOND a creep, he cracked on to every single girl on the tour, it was inappropriate.
I can’t speak highly enough of Intrepid travel, the Intrepid team (from the office staff to guides) are extremely helpful and the tour is right up my ally – organised but not so much that you have to schedule in a toilet break.
I jumped on an eight day tour from Rome to Amalfi (Italy) with these guys and had a ball.
√ It’s not as prescriptive as Contiki, sure you are on a tour but that’s more to ensure you have someone to show you the way, someone to have dinner with at night, company if you want it. You can also spend a lot of time alone (if you want) which I love.
√ The tour guides are generally from the area or have extensive knowledge of the area, adding another element to the tour.
√ You take public transport to get around (aka no private coaches like Contiki) which is fun and shows you how to do it for when you’re on your own.
√ I found my group to be very like minded, mostly independent females who loved travel.
√ They only have 10 people max in a group, so you make some great friends.
√ I was the youngest in my group by far (at 26), which was a pro and a con. I like an older crowd so it was fine for me but it could be a con for you.
√ The whole thing was a little laid back, a little more communication/organisation may have been appreciated but didn’t ruin the tour by any means.
I was apprehensive about doing Sail Croatia as I was a little fatter back then, lacked confidence and didn’t want to get drunk everyday on a boat with skinny tarts (that’s how I envisaged Sail Croatia).
What I ended up with was a group of the most fantastic people I’ve ever come across, mainly folk older than I and we had a ball!
We did end up drinking every day, but in a civilised (ok kind of civilised) way, and it was just beyond amazing.
Best part of the whole thing? You’re on a boat for a week, you don’t have to move your bags for a whole week. When you travel for extended periods, moving every few days, you’ll understand how incredible that is.
Now I can’t remember the exact tour group I booked with but it’s fairly irrelevant – look for the one that goes to the islands you want to go to (Hvar is a must) and for the length of time you want to go for.
If you don’t want to party but want a good time, here are my tips:
√ Book at the start of the season, the earlier the better as it is less likely to be a bunch of young annoying assholes.
√ Let the tour group know you want to have a relaxing time not a party time.
Also what you need to know:
√ You start a tab on the boat for your drinks which is semi dangerous as you have no idea how much you’re spending, but it’s fairly reasonably priced.
√ Take loads of books/load up your e-reader, there is plenty of sail time where you have nothing to do but sunbathe and read (it’s the good life).
√ On that note prepare to do nothing – it was a real change of pace for me, but it was fantastic.
√ Take a backpack – for day trips on the islands
√ Don’t be a dick – you’re on a boat with these people for a week.
Those were my tour experiences. I’ve done a bunch of day tours in various locations too and generally enjoyed them for the same reasons. While I love planning, taking a break from that and letting someone do it for you has it’s merits.
Have fun – and if you have any further questions please do get in touch.