I travel with a tour because I travel with my mother. And we use OAT because my mother represents the basic demographic for the company (Overseas Adventure Travel). We travel with people who have already accidentally booked a hotel room in Temple Bar in Dublin (another neighborhood filled with lively bars) They have already slept in their cars on route 66, they have experienced the 3rd class overnight train car to Paris (that was me), they’ve hitch hiked in England (mom) and been stranded in Greece during innumerable strikes (mom again). They’ve done that, been there, and own too many tee shirts to count.
And now they want some one else to handle the details so they can enjoy the country.
So before dissing anyone’s travel methods, consider that all travelers are different. Sure, I don’t want to participate in an overland tour by 88-seat bus filled to the brim with tottering blue hair ladies, but what if this was the only way they could afford the trip? What is retirement is the only time they had to schedule travel? I’ve stopped complaining about them and have also stopped worrying that they aren’t “experiencing the country”; they are doing their best. Those overseas flights are brutal, and yet they took it on. Good for them.
The older I get, the more I think that getting Americans, in any way we can, into foreign countries is beneficial. Even if they never take a terrifying ride in a Moscow cab, or get lost in the Cairo Souk, they at least looked at something new, worth preserving, foreign. At least they know first hand that the Paris in Las Vegas is different than Paris, France. At least they’ve seen the receding Mendenhall glacier with their own eyes. Give then a hand!
And even if Mom stays on the bus while I indulged in Palm sugar (oh my god that stuff is marvelous, so worth the insulin coma) and buy fabric from the road side stand as she gestures “no, that one, the one with elephants”, she is experiencing Angkor Watt her own way. And that should be sufficient.
I am not interested in travel one up-man-ship. I prefer to enjoy, explore and do it my way, and I think you should do the same.
Good luck to you.
I’m telling my niece about Vang Vieng, she’ll love it.