Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Europe: Tour vs Backpack

I'm going to blog about my Europe tour now..

But before I do that, I think it's best to write something about reasons and comparison between tour and backpacking..

To be honest, I have always felt that to truly experience the places that u visit, u should opt for backpacking. When I mean backpacking, it doesn't necessarily mean u have to go stay in cheap hostels or spend the night in the train station.

For me, backpacking means to plan your travels in advance by yourself, and to travel at your own sweet time instead of being time and location restricted in a tour package. This way, u will be able to see a wider perspective, instead of seeing what millions of other tourists see as well..

Having said that, I opted to take up a tour package for my Europe experience. Why?

Because I'm on a limited budget, and I wanna go to as many places as possible.

While backpacking can be infinitely much more fun, it does require a lot of homework to be done. At the very least, u will need to have your daily accommodation and transport sorted out in advance. U should also have at least a general idea of what to do, where to go, how to go, etc.

And trust me, things do go wrong, especially when u are at foreign places that speak next to no English, so u might need extra money to cover up in case u screwed up somewhere in your travels eg: late for the train, took the wrong bus, lost your way in the city. And if you're on a budget like me, extra money at Point A means adjustments or even cancelling Point B and moving on to Point C..

With a tour, u get a tour guide, and u get all the routes, plans, hotels, meals, all arranged in advance. All u need to do is pay, and go. While joining a tour means no time for too much camwhoring and wandering off, it also means u are guaranteed to make it to most of the most famous places.

I was lazy to do the planning, organizing and arranging for a Europe backpacking trip. It can be a very stressful thing to do, even if u delegate the tasks among members who wanna join..

At the very least,

U will need a schedule

Schedules always go wrong: u might camwhore too much and delayed the time, u might find out that a certain cathedral is very huge and amazing and spend more time there and delay more time, etc

U will also need to have accommodation and transport details sorted out, in every place u intend to visit

Of course, u will need a backpack! Not the guys, they are just part time models =D

And many more minor details that I don't wanna talk about here..

Let's just say, I wasn't interested in arranging those stuff. I just wanna spend my time in the UK enjoying the country and traveling the country, instead of planning for Europe.

I figured that if I find a particular country interesting during the tour, I would come back when I get rich =)

So I joined this [Amazing Europe Tour] organized by a certain senior from Sheffield. It wasn't all sweet and rosy, but the good thing about this tour is that it was specially made for us, LJMU and SHU TARCians. Another good thing is that, we get 2 star or 3 star hotels every night..

Of course, there's Europe Tour packages offered by travel agencies such as Contiki and Top Deck, but the thing with these agency organized tours is that, they usually cater to angmoh and Chinaman tourists..

There were several issues that got us pissed off in the beginning of this "Amazing" tour, but come to think of it now, I think it still was the best option for us..

Without saying more, I'll begin the Europe entries...

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