Why it’s better to skip package tours – Orange County Register

Just do it. Long before that was a slogan to sell athletic shoes, it was the mantra of bargain travelers. And I want you to think it over.

You don’t need a package tour to visit the places of your dreams. You just need to get on a plane and go there.

A package tour is going to cost you oodles more money, and your freedom will be severely curtailed. You also won’t meet any locals, except the guy who’s loading the suitcase you put outside your door at 6 a.m.  And he’ll be properly obsequious, and keep his mouth shut.

“But, Marla, I don’t know how to travel in a foreign country by myself,” I can hear you saying. “It’s too scary.”

Let me address these issues. First of all, foreign travel is scary, even to a country where people speak English. I have traveled all over the world, and I still get scared. Every single time. And that’s the point. You need to shake up your life and get outside your comfort zone. The interesting thing is that, the more you do things that scare you and discover you can still succeed, the more confident you get.

You’re going to be anxious, even just checking in for your flight. Your heart will be beating fast. It will continue to beat fast. This is a good thing. But here’s what you’ll discover: There’s a good chance that you will be seated on the plane next to someone who’s actually from the country you’re visiting. You will start chatting with him and, before you know it, you have 10 tips of things to do and start feeling much less nervous. After all, this person lives there and still seems to be alive.

While you’re on the plane, you’re also reading your Lonely Planet guidebook to your destination. I never go anywhere without buying one of these books designed for independent travelers like you. You can buy these from Amazon.com and download them to your Kindle, by the way.

When the plane lands, you aren’t stunned and disoriented, because you’ve already either arranged a transfer to your hotel via…

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