Tours touring

No more group tours—ever!

_MG_2015I am done. I cannot do another group tour. Ever. And I know I said that after my three back-to-back tours of Europe 2014, but this time I mean it.

That’s not to say that this Explore tour has been bad—it hasn’t. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed it very much. I would have no hesitation in recommending Explore to those who are wanting a good company to tour with. Indira (our guide) was knowledgeable, gracious and patient. The itinerary was excellent, with the right amount of sight-seeing and free time, and the right mix of transport options. The pace was fine too, although in some places like Mumbai, Goa and Mysore, I would have liked to have stayed a few more days. But I understand that tours are tours and their very nature means that only a superficial flyover is ever possible.

For me, it’s the people on the tour that make touring unenjoyable. And it’s not *all* the people on the tour though, just some. And by some I mean usually one or two. Touring in a group is like public housing: you never know who you’ll end up with as your neighbours, or touring companions as it were. In a bigger group you can move between clusters a bit easier, but in smaller groups—of which this was one—it’s a but harder to find a buffer. Personalities, quirks and indiosyncracies appear early and are difficult to escape.

On this particular tour, it’s been a Welsh lady who—persistently—asks the most stupid, annoying and irritating questions, and makes the most stupid, annoying and irritating remarks. And even if one tries to ignore her, and not engage with her stupid, annoying and irritating questions and remarks, she still gets in your face and space, demanding attention. And then there’s the socially bipolar man who alternates between being gregarious and quite kind and caring to belligerent hermitness. He gets exceedingly grumpy and rude when he is in the company of others for more than an extended period of time, including the sightseeing. Why he is on a tour, which is inherently social, God only knows. And this is not unusual. Every tour I have been on—almost without exception—has one or two people on it who make the tour (at times) absolutely unbearable. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhhhh!!!!

So I am done with group tours now. Forever.

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