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S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 02:00 PM
Rent a car and just go on your own
managed tour groups with everything planned out and included
by bike or foot, boat. Traveling "off the cuff".
I don't go anywhere except to the Byob! Don't want to!
I cant even get out of Texas
I leave the touring" in my dreams. No passports nec.
I just read tour guides

Chip-skiff
09-05-2014, 02:56 PM
This is our approach, although the accommodations are usually less adorned with stars, at times quite sketchy.

Just spent two weeks driving the west coast of Ireland and staying in B&Bs. The driving was a butt-cramp, but the rest was grand. We book mostly in advance but leave some gaps to follow our instincts.

I hated the regimentation of school and the idea of subjecting myself to a group tour with a rigid itinerary is unappealing.

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 03:16 PM
That's my feeling Chip! A great way to meet the people so many miss!
Note! On the way to Ullapool, it was raining like stink! I was wetter than a wet hen. Saw some smoke in the distance which indicated a pub and a FIRE! Stopped in brushing off the water! Being a pub, I felt it was a requirement to buy beer and lunch instead of taking up space front of the fire! No one was there; just the prop. I ordered one pt of lager initially. Then fell into a chat with the owner! One thing led to another! The pt led to anther along with a plowman's lunch and TWO bowls of homemade Leek soup! Getting ready to go back out and face the weather, I asked him what did I owed? "Nothing!" I sad he did obviously. So comes back To me and said," Your the first decent American I've ever met!" "Thanks for the privilege lunch was on me!" Yup, a Scot said that!:) Wouldn't have happened sitting in a tour:)

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 03:17 PM
Guess I ain't surprised or am I?

Phillip Allen
09-05-2014, 03:18 PM
gunkholing :)

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 03:19 PM
That works!

changeng
09-05-2014, 07:21 PM
You didn't include an option for those that hire a car and just wander around finding some cheap room above a cafe or rent a small place for a month or two.

Or staying in youth hostels is a great option. Most have private family rooms.
I've used only YHA places not the private ones(they have a star rating system these days and have found them to be clean, comfortable and really make an effort to make them culturally relevant.. like having Onsen, tatami rooms and futons in the japanese ones and the smaller ones were run by a family, cooked excellent breakfast and a lovely evening meal from local produce. All very cheap compared to local hotels and buying meals.

I'd use Youth Hostels every time if I was traveling around .



5 star hotels are much the same all over the world.wouldn't use them ever.

Chip-skiff
09-05-2014, 07:25 PM
I've travelled much farther by boot, boat, horse, skis, snowshoes, etc. in the US and New Zealand. But for shorter overseas, I like the rental car/guesthouse appraoch.

purri
09-05-2014, 07:46 PM
Agree.

BrianW
09-05-2014, 08:05 PM
We like rental cars and Holiday Inn Express Hotels in the States. (They have a decent free breakfast, gym, pool, and if you stay enough times, free rooms and upgrades)

Overseas we've been very happy with small inns and hotels.

adampet
09-05-2014, 08:31 PM
Just got back from a weeks tour through Western Conn, Eastern NY State and Southern Vt. All back roads, no highways. We camped in State parks, found our way with paper maps, stopped at roadside produced stands, and had a fine time

Adam

The Bigfella
09-05-2014, 08:45 PM
If you want to understand local culture, it pretty much has to be the back roads. I presented at Horizons Unlimited's Asian meet this year. They had a roll-up of 100 seasoned travellers there. There's a definite divide between the highway tourers and the backroads mob. Even the backroads folks end up on the highways at times.... but its rare for the other lot to get on the backroads.

What I've noticed on the highways is that everyone is harder, more money-focused. They want you to transfer your money from your wallet to theirs and then move on.

I think the important take-away from Jamie's pub freebie is to pass it forward. The hard part of doing that is to not spoil things for those who come later. Give too much and people develop an expectancy mentality. Give when its justified, and give the reason why... and all's good.

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 08:50 PM
I couldn't bike on what are called highways. Had to take back roads! No choice!:)

changeng
09-05-2014, 08:51 PM
On organized tours, I wouldn't totally discount all of them. For older people who have little or no travel experience they serve a good purpose. Especially if they are alone.

I think the worst and saddest are those aimed at young people. busloads of hungover kids that have no real interest in local cultures they just want to "do" europe on a two week vacation, tend to be rude and condesending to locals and "superior" about the smallness of older cultures.
They give us a bad name.

Phillip Allen
09-05-2014, 11:27 PM
On organized tours, I wouldn't totally discount all of them. For older people who have little or no travel experience they serve a good purpose. Especially if they are alone.

I think the worst and saddest are those aimed at young people. busloads of hungover kids that have no real interest in local cultures they just want to "do" europe on a two week vacation, tend to be rude and condesending to locals and "superior" about the smallness of older cultures.
They give us a bad name.

I don't think the rudeness is limited to young people at all.

Ted Hoppe
09-06-2014, 02:58 AM
I am very forunate. When I travel with my wife it is 5 star tour operators with personal touch and 5 star accommodations.

When I travel by my self I like the motorbike, camping and hotel combos. Eating good meals are important to me as is finding great coffee in the morning and good chocolate cake afternoon or evening.

when I cruise or race the bay, I like planning a lunch and a dinner that makes me as happy as sailing to the destination. sleeping dockside of a great club or near great eats is one of those wonderful life pleasures.

purri
09-06-2014, 04:46 AM
When in France I heard the tour groups with "cultural interpreter" (and flag on pole) referred to as "les troupes des chevres". A piquant descriptor.

S.V. Airlie
09-06-2014, 08:07 AM
I am very forunate. When I travel with my wife it is 5 star tour operators with personal touch and 5 star accommodations.

When I travel by my self I like the motorbike, camping and hotel combos. Eating good meals are important to me as is finding great coffee in the morning and good chocolate cake afternoon or evening.

when I cruise or race the bay, I like planning a lunch and a dinner that makes me as happy as sailing to the destination. sleeping dockside of a great club or near great eats is one of those wonderful life pleasures.I can me plans too, just end up being disappointed. Rarely goes according to plan. Easier not to have one!:)

elf
09-06-2014, 11:09 AM
God help me if I ever go so old and unimaginative that I want to be led around with a bunch of old people whose idea of music is 40's rock and roll!

I do like to look for little museums that run information walks around interesting towns, however.

S.V. Airlie
09-06-2014, 11:11 AM
Was there "Rock in Roll" in the '40's elf? :)

Reynard38
09-06-2014, 11:12 AM
Convertible, B&B's

changeng
09-06-2014, 09:03 PM
I can me plans too, just end up being disappointed. Rarely goes according to plan. Easier not to have one!:)


Hmmm I agree in principle.. but if I could count the miles I've driven with three very long suffering kids in the car on road trips (following some faded sign on the spur of the moment) to closed or non existent "attractions" ...Well I could have planned a trip to Iceland :D

changeng
09-06-2014, 09:09 PM
I don't think the rudeness is limited to young people at all.

No..but the stench when the bus doors open is more noticeably "eau de sneakers and last nights Hofbrahaus excusion" than Eau de Nhil and cigars :D

The Bigfella
09-07-2014, 02:13 AM
Not all tour groups are old and listening to '40's music.

I've never done an organised motorbike tour.... but, I have allowed my, ahem, image to appear in some of their advertising - this one for example.

http://www.asianbiketour.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Phil3Pagoda-2MCsRaftMoving-575x.jpg

http://www.asianbiketour.com/thailand-off-road-motorcycle-tour-main-page/

I did pay the guy on the front of the raft to act as a guide and facilitate meals and accommodation on that particular trip.... as I've done many times in remote locations. Its always good to give something back to the locals, rather than just blast through.

I think there's something to be said for organised tours (such as those offered by Reed), especially for people working in fairly rigid situations, with limited time to deal with uncertainties.

They can fly in, jump on a bike (for example) and know that in ten or twenty days time, they'll be back on a plane home.

S.V. Airlie
09-07-2014, 07:45 AM
Hmmm I agree in principle.. but if I could count the miles I've driven with three very long suffering kids in the car on road trips (following some faded sign on the spur of the moment) to closed or non existent "attractions" ...Well I could have planned a trip to Iceland :DI can understand that! In my case, if you're no sure where you're going, you can't answer the kids usual question; "Are we there yet?"