Martha and I have been poking around a lot on Gap Adventures, looking at the itineraries for all their cool “experiences.” In the times that we’ve traveled abroad, we never went with a tour group unless we were with my parents. My parents, whenever we go somewhere new, love Chinese-speaking tour companies that set up everything for you. Everything from the hotels, to the meals, to the sights you see are all preplanned. The prices are incredibly low because we tend to visit Asia, where the cost of living is much lower than in the United States, so your dollars really go farther.
That made me wonder… if you don’t want them to set it up, you could always plan the same, or similar, itinerary with your own customizations. You may not get as great a deal, especially since travel companies often have special partnerships with airlines, hotels, etc.; but you can pick and choose what you want.
Also, even if you don’t want to book the same exact itinerary, you can always use those itineraries as inspiration. If you aren’t a local it’s difficult to know what is even in an area. Scanning an itinerary for the names of places and sights can be a quick way to find out what is there (alternatively, you can always get a guidebook… but scanning an itinerary is faster).
For example, let’s say you’ve never been to France and you only know the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs-Élysées (which is really just street). A quick scan of the Paris to Prague itinerary from Gap (specifically the Paris days) will give you plenty of ideas (plus you’ll learn the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays).
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