Hi from Rick: No to Pajama Tours
|A tour that exhausts you is no bargain.|
In our business we call them "pajama tours." In their zeal to cover an impressive number of miles and sights per day, some tour companies toss you onto a bus at the crack of dawn...and roll into the next hotel after sunset. In between, you're herded through a dizzying blur of gift shops, cafeteria meals (chosen for the size of their bathrooms and parking lots), folk performances and historic churches. You quickly discover there is such a thing as "too much touring."
You should expect a well-crafted tour to deliver maximum thrills per day — but also free time in the right places to make your own discoveries. Let's say you have a free afternoon on an Istanbul city tour. You wander away from the main streets and find a convivial bar filled with Turkish men sipping tea and playing backgammon. Ideally, the bar has classic inlaid game boards — where their softer light wood is worn deeper than the harder dark wood, and stained with generations of laughter and smoke — and the players use handmade dice with unruly dots. You challenge a local man to a game and gather a crowd. As the game progresses, you learn to count in Turkish and holler the numbers as the dice are rolled. Bir, iki, üç, dört... Not always sure which move is best, you let the kibitzers debate and move for you. In the end, you lose the game — and gain an unforgettable personal connection with the place you've traveled so far to experience. All thanks to a little "empty" time.
In this month's Tour News we focus on Greece and Turkey, with a variety of articles, a new guide interview, and a bunch of radio features with our guides. You'll get a glimpse of the rich discoveries awaiting you in these countries — in group activities as well as free-time experiences. You'll also find updated news about January's Test Drive a Tour Guide event and "Class of 2009" Tour Reunion party.
Finally, it's not too late to enjoy a $100 early booking discount on a 2010 tour. But the November 30th deadline is ticking down.
Dört, üç, iki, bir...
Thanks for traveling with us...and not in pajamas.