Why booking a tour helps take the stress out of traveling


If you've been following my blog, you know that Timothy and I are pretty anti-touristy activities. We don't really like the fake experience that many restaurants and tour groups try to give in exchange for naive tourists thinking they're experiencing something authentic.

However, in every major city we visit, we always book at least one organized tour for a few hours. And we've never been disappointed. Some of our most fun memories were tours we organized on our last trip to Europe when we took a Mediterranean cruse and did tours of Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, Amalfi Coast and Tuscany!

There are just times as a tourist in a foreign country when you want to be taken care of. You want someone to tell you what you're seeing because if it were up to you, you would have passed by it not knowing the history at all. You want a bus to take you someplace instead of trying to figure out parking and directions on your own. You want to hear your native language. You don't want this every day, but you want this just once in awhile.

Every time we've taken an organized tour in a foreign city we have absolutely loved it. We've learned things we never knew before, we met great people, had amazing food and generally enjoyed the way we spent that day. Tours vary in their cost and often Trip Advisor lists excellent tours when you search for whatever city you've visited.

Taking a tour helps to take the edge off trying to "figure out" a new city. Figuring out where the sights are, the best restaurants, etc. all take some time, and if you're short on time in a new city, having a guide to help you and give recommendations and history tours really can make all the difference in making the most of your time. We often bond with like-minded travelers during our tours and meet people we would have never met before. Yesterday, we did an incredible food tour of Florence and shopped for our fresh ingredients at daily markets and then prepared all of those ingredients back at a Tuscan villa while we ate al fresco on the patio overlooking all of Florence. It was an unbeatable, incredible experience that we could not have replicated on our own.

These are the tours we've taken so far on this trip and what we have coming up:

London: 

  • A bike tour of all of the major historical and important sights of London (With Fat Tire Bike Tours)


  • A "Unknown London" walking tour of an area not explored by many tourists or locals (With London Walks)


Stockholm:


Florence:


Nice:

Amsterdam
  • A fun, historical tour of the city before a visit to the Rijksmuseum (with Amsterdam Velo)


Tours are also a great way to have socialization when you're traveling with the same person for extended periods of time. We have met many couples, singles and families from around the world through our tours and it's a great way to enjoy new company and share some laughs and travel stories. We wouldn't do a tour every single day in every city because they can be relatively expensive depending on your budget, but doing a tour at least every other major city you visit really helps you to just enjoy the traveling experience, learn things you never knew before, take the pressure off of having to figure things out on your own and simply relax and meet new people! And I mean really, eating a 5 course meal in Tuscany after buying all the materials in the market and cooking it from scratch is pretty much a foodie's dream... 



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