We stood under the burning Arizona sun, a small group of us from different corners of the globe.
Panda Express or Denny’s…no wait, let’s get IHOP for breakfast!
We ended up going to Denny’s.
That morning I somehow ended up taking hold of my tour guide’s microphone. I stood in front of a bus of 50 people attempting to belt out Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off on our way to the next destination.
“That’s what happens when you take too long at breakfast!” laughed Matt, our USA tour guide.
“Don’t be a jojo,” the driver replied.
This wasn’t my first time visiting America, but it was my first time visiting America on an adventure tour, and I certainly ended up getting a lot more than I bargained for.
I know you’re probably thinking I’m not cut out for the tour life, there’s zero freedom (and I can’t sing!), but you’ll be surprised to find out that the common myths and assumptions we make around adventure tours aren’t all actually true.
Myth 1: The Only Method of Transportation is a Bus
Part of the fun in traveling the world comes with the freedom to explore a new culture and using different types of transportation, so why opt for a tour that only involves taking a bus from A to B?
The truth is, there are tour companies out there such as G Adventures who champion the ability to experience living like a local, and that means not necessarily having a tour bus take you around the destinations you’re visiting. With a bit of research, you’ll actually come to find companies that offer the opportunity to ride on anything from a local train to a cable car.
Myth 2: “And To Your Left We Have…”
The most common misconception on an adventure tour is that you will be stuck with a guide and a group that will bombard you with standard facts about the destination you’re visiting. Surprisingly, this isn’t always the case! You can still buy a Lonely Planet guide and explore your desired destination with complete faith that you’ll still learn something new.
Myth 3: There’s No Time To Do Your Own Thing Ever
Where is my freedom and will I have free time to do my own thing? The answer is yes – a great thing about tours nowadays is that they will almost always give you the option to go off and explore a location at your own pace or opt out of any of their activities.
My USA tour company, Contiki, gave us the opportunity to choose our own activities at the majority of locations we visited. They also gave us the chance to slow down the pace if we wished. So if you’re on a tour with a bit of nightlife but you’d rather crash in front of the TV at your hotel room, you can do that if you wish.
Myth 4: Touring is Only for Families and Couples
The travel industry has evolved at a great pace in recent years, with an abundance of options and ways to see the world. It’s evident that adventure tours are a prime example of this, but the market for tours has gone one step further. Not only does it cater to the activity level you wish to take on, but also the people that you do this with. You will find a great deal of specialized tour companies that are more family oriented, as well as those that are specific to young travellers.
The amazing thing about tours is that you’ll also meet people from all walks of life, anyone from siblings to businessmen to best friends. Tours are universal and cater exactly to your needs, don’t be fooled by the rumours.
Myth 5: A Tour Can’t Cover All of the Highlights, Surely?
Let’s face it – the world is a huge place waiting to be explored, and while a tour can’t always guarantee you’ll get to see every corner of the country you’ve landed in, it definitely can cover those all-important bucket list items. Nowadays, you’ll come across tours that range from 3 to 60 days and one thing they can promise is that you won’t miss the best bits with the new friends you make.
I can now say I got to explore everywhere from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the majestic views of the Grand Canyon while entertaining a bus full of buzzing travellers to Taylor Swift’s greatest hits—and I had a blast doing it! Take a leap of faith and go for an adventure tour that will guarantee you plenty of new experiences, leaving you with plenty of stories to tell. In the words of our driver…don’t be a ‘jojo’.
When not too busy traveling the world, checking out the latest tunes in the music scene or perfecting her Digital Marketing skills, you can catch Carolina on her personal travel blog.