Why do we love tours? For the travel, education and the friends!

Tour Tips Expat Explore

Something we have begun to invest in recently is tours. This may on first thought seem to be the expensive option, or less adventurous; but more often than not, when on the ground in a big city like London, for example, you can find reasonably-priced touring options, and it is worth comparing the cost of these verses independent travel alternatives.

When time is an issue (and for most of us it is), we’ve come to recognise that a decent tour can potentially teach more about a place than might be learned in a short space on your own, especially if you’ve only got a day or so to spare in a new destination. Perhaps a tour is worth your consideration too, because by the time car hire or transport, accommodation, plus language barriers are factored in, tours are sometimes the cost-effective answer (eg. Expat Explore Europe, day tours such as Dublin Bus, Haggis Adventures in Scotland, City Sightseeing (big red hop-on-hop-off bus etc.); and even walking tours that are offered in many places.

Expat Explore August 2011 Europe tour

Ultimate 6 top tour tips

1. Utilise the supermarket! If we had our time over in Europe we would take a spare case (and even a cooler bag or esky) to enable us to ‘stock up’ when there is access to a supermarket. It is by far cheaper to keep food and alcohol on hand – you will inevitably eat and drink on tour, and it’s better to have paid the equivalent of less than $2 per meal or beverage than over $5 or even $10 per unit.

2.Keep emergency numbers, passport, credit card(s) and phone with you at ALL times. Anything can happen in the time between when you step off the tour coach and when you’re supposed to meet back. Be prepared in the event of an emergency, in case you get lost or you need to make your way elsewhere on your own. It’s a last resort but can happen.

3.Multivitamins – to combat sickness, lethargy and exhaustion. It’s easy to pick up germs when travelling with a group in a confined space so being at optimum health is advantageous.

4.Walk away from the centre of town and main attractions – without exception food, coffee, souvenirs – everything in fact, is significantly cheaper.

5.Sun cream (especially a once-a-day application version like Ultrasun which can be applied in the morning before you head out to conveniently protect throughout the day), and insect repellent are essential (particularly for summer adventures).

6. Make the most out of your time by talking to others – introduce yourself, ask questions, learn about your co-travellers. Even if this isn’t your usual ‘thing’, it pays in the long run and helps forge bonds. If others join a group at varying points in time, remember to also include them into the fold. The life-long friends you’ll make are worth a little effort and personality. Plus, think how it feels when someone bothers to include you – nice, ain’t it?


Our Expat Explore stopovers in one word:

  • Netherlands – colourful
  • Germany – clean
  • Prague – enchanting
  • Vienna – breathtaking
  • Venice – picturesque
  • Rome – intriguing
  • Florence – pretty
  • French Riviera – luxurious
  • Barcelona – contemporary, cool
  • Avignon – medieval
  • Switzerland – beautiful
  • Paris – romantic


Read more:
For the Travel and the Friends, The Australian Times London, September 2011.