18 Sep Way to Travel- With or Without an Agent
You can travel on your own, with a guided group, or a combination of the two. A fourth way would be to go on a cruise. And where you are going is often the deciding factor in which is best for you.
On your own:
If you are traveling to a foreign country, particularly one where you don’t know the language, I like to call this “a white-knuckle trip.” Why? Because you don’t really know where you are going, how to get there, or what you ought to be seeing or even doing, and you will constantly be looking for people who can understand you in order to get directions. The first three times we went to Europe, my wife and I did this, and in retrospect, I think we had things backwards. We should have gone with a tour group first, then later, after learning something about the places we visited with a guide, who not only would have known what and where the highlights were, but the background of those highlights, we could have ventured hither and yon the next time on our own.
For most of us on your own is perfect for just about anywhere you visit in the United States, but on the other hand, touring Israel this way would be a a colossal waste of time and money, and probably result in missing almost everything of significance.
I call “on your own” in a foreign country where they speak a foreign language “a white knuckle trip” because it is a recipe for high anxiety throughout your entire vacation. Hey, I used to thrive on tension.
Group touring with a guide or escort:
Anxiety is switched to excitment with this way of going. The first time I went to Israel, this was the mode. No worries about what to do next or how to get there, and everthing was explained and related to various biblical passages. The entire trip was mapped out in such a way as to cover the most sites in the most efficient way. No need to try to figure anything out, I just soaked it all in.
One of the leading companies in the world of escorted, guided tours is Globus. Right now, this company has teamed up with Columbus Travel to offer $1,000 discounts on nine different European tour options. You can check them out by clicking on that selection on the rotating front page banner on this website (columbusvacations.com). Globus offers centrally located four-star and above hotels. Their sister company, Cosmos, offers less expensive tours utilizing two and three-star hotels, usually slightly away from prime locations.
We Americans, probably more than people from almost every other country of the world, love to be free, and I think this gives us a natural inclination to want to be on our own. I have learned to try to fight my own tendency toward this inclination by constantly reminding myself that “I don’t need to reinvent the wheel” – building on the knowledge and know how of an experienced guide will actually put me further ahead in lots of ways.
Combining being on your own with the advantage of guidance:
Something that has become more and more popular are Monogram Tours. Part of the Globus family of tours, this option provides someone to meet you at the airport, transfer you to your hotel, then give you an in hotel host to provide guidance on tours and/or sites to see and how to get there. This is what their website says: “Globetrotting is fun. Research, logistics and getting lost – not so much. With Monograms, we take on the endless hours of organizing and scheduling so you can see the sights, experience new cultures, and dance to new rhythms. From arranging the right hotels and efficient transportation to providing a Local Hosts® and included sightseeing, we’ve thought of – and included – everything you need in an all-in-one package. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re also on the scene at your destination helping you make the most of your time.”
Going on a cruise:
The only thing you need to think about is getting from the airport to the ship and back. This is probably the most relaxing way on the planet for travel. You can become a veritable vegetable. Your mind goes into neutral and you enjoy non-stop rest. But you’ll also have never-ending activities to engage in, if you are of a mind, all planned for you. You also unpack just once – your room goes with you from port to port.
Photos are taken in person or provided by the supplier except where credited.