There are many ways to see a city. You can grab a map or two and plot out your own plans. Where to go first, how to get there by foot, bus or train, check schedules and let adventure take you where it will. Or, you can book a guided tour that will handle the planning for you.
There is something very exciting about the unknown. To take a map and train or bus schedule and plan out your route has its charm for sure! It takes a little research and possibly will require a trip to an information kiosk at a train station, but the possibility of getting on the wrong train or getting off at the wrong stop can add some unexpected adventure! Knowing the fare ahead of time and ensuring that you have double checked that there is a train or bus to the location you wish to visit is crucial! There is nothing worse than thinking you can catch a train or bus to historic site and ending up stranded at a station because there isn’t a way to get to the site. If you choose to make your own way to each site, inside or outside of the city, make sure you do your research and invest in a transit/metro pass.
A tour, on the other hand, takes some of the fear and stress out of the situation and allows you to sit back and take it all in. A tour can be booked online and paid for in advance in most cases, so there is no need to carry additional cash to pay entry fees. With a tour, you arrive at your departure location and the tour company ensures that you arrive at each destination safely and on time. The only schedule you have to be concerned with is arriving back at your tour bus on time. A tour also allows you to learn from your guide about the city and country that you are visiting. Insider tips on the lingo, culture and restaurants where only the locals know to eat. One more perk of a scheduled tour is that you are more likely to see multiple sites in one day as you aren’t trying to manage travel between sites that may be far out of the city center.
Whichever you choose, planning ahead will ease some of the fear and help you to avoid any adverse surprises. We usually schedule tours for sites outside of the city, to ease that fear of missing trains and maximizing the number of locations we get to visit. However, we also leave our in-city adventures up to a bit more spontaneity where walking a couple miles back to our lodging isn’t as daunting or dangerous. To tour or not to tour….it’s all about personal preference!
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee