It was almost 11 in the night when our giant coach pulled up in front of an over-crowded Eiffel Tower. Our tour guide hurried us to get off and run. We huffed and puffed, following his blue flag, which was eventually swallowed by the sea of people.
As we came to a stop to catch our breath and curse him, more than 20,000 flash bulbs on the Eiffel Tower went off, along with a thousand gasps. That was it. We all stopped in our tracks and looked up in amazement at the surreal beauty of the experience.
I have never been a fan of touristy trips; the ones where you hop on a bus early in the morning, catching glimpses of the city, halt for lunch, stand in queues to visit a museum and hop back into the bus to be whisked away to your hotel. However, this one moment in front of the Eiffel Tower was all it took to change my perception. Group tours don’t stop you from creating beautiful experiences, right?
The places you visit on any tour are the exact same as the independent traveller standing a few feet away is also witnessing. While group tours do mean less road bumps along the way of planning, but you are still free to wander away from the crowd to catch a glimpse of the man playing his violin near a bright corner of a fascinatingly dilapidated building.
Maybe it’s your deal to get drunk at a party in a pub a local advised you to visit. Or maybe you want to avoid the hangover the next day so you can tick off all the places from your list. Maybe you love the security of group tours; maybe you don’t. Maybe you want to stay at an expensive hotel, or maybe you want to backpack across the country. For some, how they travel is dependent on their actions, and not where they sleep each night. For others, maybe the right boutique hotel is part of their experience on their trip.
So, don’t go by opinions of people who are doling out advice for experiences they have not had themselves. If you are travelling the world, you are privileged. Look at how beautiful the world is. See how amazing thundering waterfalls, snow-covered mountains, and smiling, toothless children are. Sit back and introspect. Or don’t do any of these, and do what YOU really want to do.
It’s your experience after all. 😊