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Whether you’re considering a guided coach tour yourself, or researching a trip for someone else, these questions are inevitable.
1. What’s the Wi-Fi password?
Humans. As creatures of habit it doesn’t matter if we’re sat in our own front room, the top-floor of a hotel or the tribal foothills of Nepal, if it’s 9pm and we need to check the latest rugby scores, there’s only one question being asked – “Say, what’s the Wi-Fi password?”
But how do you ask that in Spanish? Or French? Or colloquial Nepalese!?!
With guided travel there’s always a tour leader on-hand to answer the questions for you. From Wi-Fi access to which adapter will work, the best places to eat and how much to tip, they’re a walking travel encyclopaedia at your very disposal.
2. What’s your email?
Independent travel can be a lonesome experience. Even if you travel as a couple, the opportunity to strike up a lasting conversation rarely presents itself.
With guided tours you’re sharing every single day, moment and memory with others. Every giggle, every embarrassment, every cultural faux-pas; everything from the jaw-dropping scenery to the unique encounters with locals. You may be strangers for the first minute of the trip, but give it an hour – and the obligatory first-night meal (with wine) – and you’ll be well on your way to building lifelong friendships.
What's more, if you take a trip with Contiki, they’ll encourage you to join their online chat forum before you leave; connecting all travellers booked on the same trip. Eliminate the small talk before you go and get familiar with your comrades before the coach even departs!
3. What time do we need to get up?
We bet you can’t remember the last time you asked this question. Why? Because it’s probably a long time since someone else organised your entire life for you.
The itinerary is pre-planned – right down to the finest detail. From what time you board a ferry to the very tickets you’ll need to board with. And the best bit? None of it has been planned by you.
There’s no need to slave away at the computer, researching transfer times and transport costs and how not to get ripped off by local taxi drivers. You needn’t check if things are seasonally open, closed, undergoing renovation, no longer standing or otherwise. You quite literally have no responsibilities and what’s more, you’ll have oodles more time because of it.
More time for the things you actually want to experience during your trip – sightseeing, socialising, eating, drinking and above all, having a whale of a time!
4. Why isn’t Grandma worrying?
She doesn’t need to. Either you’re well above the age to be worried about, or if travelling with Contiki, she can keep up with your whereabouts via social media. Seen as Contiki are constantly hooked up to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, if nana’s got Wi-Fi, she’s also got her beady eye on you. That means she worries less and you’re not obliged to phone home every other day. But still send a postcard, Grandmas like postcards.
5. Is this for real?
With years of experience under their belt, what travel’s leading tour groups don’t know about the destinations they visit, isn’t worth knowing.
Independently, you might successfully navigate your way to the Eiffel Tower, but in a tour group you’ll also discover a century-old perfumery in the heart of Paris - followed by freshly-baked brioche in a patisserie only the locals know about. Our point? You get greater authenticity and more surprising experiences with a guided tour.
For every photograph of a world-famous landmark, you’ll have a dozen more of lesser-known attractions; the genuine wheels and cogs that turn a city, unique experiences abound.
6. When’s the next one?
Quickly followed by ‘sign me up!’ Because you know what they say, once you go guided, you never go back… Or something catchier than that.
Overall, guided tours add a little extra depth to your experience. From the tour leaders who know their destinations inside out and will show you the highlights from the vantage point of a local, to the elimination of stress, planning and research, you’ll be able to sit back and fully relax. You’ll naturally feel safer, the intimidation of the unfamiliar is reduced and your trip will be a whole lot more memorable and meaningful.
Can’t say better than that!
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