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Thursday, June 19, 2014

This issue of whether to travel in groups or single traveling is a matter discussed at length and passionately. Some prefer groups. Other solo travel. Some people, in one side, say truths about what they think and lies of what others think. And vice versa. And truths and lies go and come.

Finally that, like all things in life, the truth, even not a final truth, lies roughly in the center of the ends. There are advantages and disadvantages to the option to travel in groups and there are advantages and disadvantages to the option of single or solo traveling.

Inclusive depends on the couple for those who prefer to travel with a couple, that is, in my opinion, minimal form of travel. I have met many single travelers that tell me it's a unique experience and that they have enjoyed 100 times on their trips what we have enjoyed travelling in groups. I think that travelling alone, absolutely alone, would be interesting. Especially if you're nice, friendly and you make friends easily. Variety is the spice of the life, say an old college friend.

I was telling you that it depends on the couple, because if you were traveling with mine, you better go for the option of traveling in groups. With a travel agency that takes care for the heavy part of the trip. The bags, of course, I'm talking about the bags. On our last trip to Europe we travelled alone, without spending a lot on taxis because we'd rather spend it on fun. You can imagine us traveling in metro (subway, underground) and buses with those heavy bags. Fun was over because I could not stand back. In Berlin I had to go to a doctor for ordering painkillers and muscle relaxants to support the rest of the trip.

And you know what happens to my beloved wife? God, she likes to go shopping. Well, will say male readers. All women love to go shopping. In fact, we started our trip with relatively large but light and manageable suitcases, but in a few days they were becoming heavier adding gifts and gifts. Then, under these circumstances, if you are going to travel with my wife it would be advisable to take a tour where the travel agent be responsible for mobilizing the bags. At least my back suffer less and I better enjoy the journey.

But on the other hand, I hate my time planned by others. I prefer to plan my time for myself in agreement with my wife. And if things get really tough, very tough, we can always agree: well, go to the store while I go into this museum of history that interests to me a lot, and we meet again in that cafe in two hours. Two hours? She says. No, at least four. Well, okay, I'll always have something to do. I assure you I will not bore while you shop. I will walk and dedicate myself to the contemplative life, as used to say my cousin Eucaris. What I will not do is sit inside the store waiting for you. Male dog is castrated just once.

I remember in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, my wife was shopping in a big store. She does not speak a word in German, but it doesn't matter. She walked and talked with sales clerk from here to there. Somewhere in the store had many men, mostly Arabs, conversing and smoking. One of them saw me lost and told me. Join us, this is the place where bulls pasture while cows shop, fiercely. At least I spent some time talking and telling different stories with these occasional companions of misfortune.

If not were for the blessed luggages I never would take a tour to travel. I would do on my own. But I recognize the advantages of traveling when another person or organization is responsible for planning everything. At least you do not have much to think about and you feel only idle.

Once in Paris we were going to London on the EuroStar. We had booked for 9 am. We took a bus to stop in front of Le Gare du Nord. But we had distracted the station. When we realized, it was too late and we were like 500 meters away where we had to be. We got off the bus and started walking back with those heavy bags. My wife complained and was exhausted. Who comes up traveling on your own when a tour agency would not let this happen, she demanded angrily. Finally a taxi driver who took pity on us took us to the station. We managed to take the train but we were marked with the event.

Unquestionably the advantage of a tour agency is comfort. They should take care of everything and you should only enjoy. Well, they should. Sometimes, many times, they just charge you and do not take care of anything. There are horrible stories of these cases. But if the agency is responsible they should take care of selecting hotels, wait for you at the airport, load your bags in autopullman, transfer you from airport to hotel and download them on arriving and so on. Obviously, even paying a little more worth paying the difference.

The downside is that you have to adapt yourself to the itinerary. Many times you want to shake things planned, even to forget the bored job routine having some freedom to do things as you feel each day, even to stay in your room if that day you don’t want to go out because you have your feet tired or you exceeded your drinks last day.

If you travel with light luggages that flexibility can be bought in exchange for some minor inconveniences such as being aware of your itineraries and transport services you will use to get from one side to another. In this case you control your time and plan your visits by contracting isolated tours in each city or town where you arrive. For these kind of isolated tours I recommend Viator because I have enjoyed their good services.

Well, analyze your situation, put an eye on the habits of your couple without dogmatism and plan your trip the way you consider most suitable to your needs. And remember that a compromise will always be better than any extreme solution. Good luck and good riddance.

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