6 tips and tricks of vacation sightseeing

When you're on vacation, you naturally want to see the sights. Whether you choose to go your own way or stay with a group, here's what you need to know to make the most out of your trip.

6 tips and tricks of vacation sightseeing

1. Local culture

Programs that allow interested travellers to hook up with locals who share interests are available in Jamaica and Hong Kong, and other countries as well.

  • You might arrange to meet, for example, with a history buff, a hobbyist, or another parent with a same-aged child.

2. Walking tours

Toronto, Chicago and New York, as well as Adelaide and Melbourne in Australia and Buenos Aires in Argentina, all offer greeter programs that put you in touch with a friendly local who can give you an individualized tour of some fascinating aspect of the city, from the architecture to a local neighbourhood.

  • Contact local tourist offices or ask your travel agent for details.

3. History hounds

If you are interested in architecture or history, the tourist office can direct you to the relevant local societies.

  • They may be sponsoring tours or educational programs and you can further your education in a way that you enjoy for little or no cost.

4. Be careful of shopping sprees

  • Is your tour rep on commission? When your holiday representatives bully you into that welcome meeting, bear in mind that they make significant commissions on every trip they sell to you.
  • If you do go on a trip with your tour operator, the chances are it will be in a bus full of tourists from home.
  • You may also get taken to shops for souvenirs and restaurants for meals where your rep will get a percentage of everything you buy.

5. Go local for half the price

Tour operators can charge two or three times the price of a tour with a local company.

  • Ask for contacts at your hotel, or look out for information centres.
  • If you have a clearer idea of your movements once you reach your destination, you could use an Internet café to search for local information.

6. Comfort zone

Despite the cost advantages, there may be a language problem with a local, so if something goes wrong, it may be easier to deal with your tour operator. And, of course, take care and make sure the local guide is legitimate and authorized to conduct a tour.

You are travelling to see the sights of a world very different from your own but that doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money. Know your touring options and have a memorable trip.

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