Those who have already travelled at least once in life by car, by bus, by train, by airplane, by bicycle or on foot, know that a journey begins well before the departure date: choosing the destination, purchasing the tickets, reserving accommodation and planning the finances.
It goes without saying that today the Last Minute Travelling Community is increasing. These are usually young and accomplished travellers (not tourists) who do not posses a list of places they wish to see before they die, but rather people who are open to all kinds of experiences as they happen.
But ‘Last Minute’ aside, the most conventional sort of travelling is still the planned one that does not leave room for last-minute changes. Within this category, regardless of the financial factor, I would say that there are three types of tourists: the scared, the organised and disorganised.
All groups have their advantages and disadvantages, like everything else in life. So let’s check out some of them.
The category of the scared tourists includes students under eighteen years of age who leave on a school trip, old retired people suffering from leg pain which stops them from exploring a city on foot, and last but not least, there are also the simply frightened people, those who do not have any reason to go on a organised tour but still do it anyway (perhaps because they have not mastered any foreign language).
The advantage of this group is that bad surprises along the journey are almost non-existent and these tourists do not have to bother with any kind of organisation whatsoever, not even the choice of restaurant or food and drink that they will have. They only have to concentrate on following a programme created by a third party.
The disadvantages of this group are all too clear: where is the spirit of travelling and exploring? What sort of tourist is only interested in taking pictures in front of monuments, buying plastic souvenirs, and not caring at all about the general situation of the society he is visiting?
It does not matter really how dear our homeland is to us, we still should not close our eyes to the other beauties our planet has to offer. But the scared tourist is not interested in all that because for him, his neighbourhood is the most beautiful place on earth, and that is the end of the discussion.
The next category of tourist is the disorganised. They rely one hundred per cent on the tour package of a travel agency, including transport and accommodation, but they dislike bus tours, for instance. Two days before D-day they lose their credit cards and realise that at least one of the passports has expired, but they manage to fix the “little problems” and end up travelling anyway.
These tourists do not buy travel guides in advance, but only discuss what to do at breakfast at the hotel at eleven o’clock on the first day. They leave the hotel with a city map, because they prefer to walk around without any destination.
After their trip they won’t be able to tell you how they liked the main tourist attractions (because they probably did not see them) but instead they will give you a golden tip on a friendly and delicious little restaurant on a tiny street of which nobody knows the name.
The advantages of being a disorganised traveller are that they do not go through a typical tourist experience and get to feel the city for what it really is. Disadvantage? Well, it is almost certain that these travellers will only realise back home that that the circular ruins by the end of that large avenue were the Coliseum…
Okay. Now we are moving forwards to a more cultivated and, above all, organised category of traveller. Ah! These ones study the map and the tourist guidebooks and know the name of the main streets of the city they are planning to see months in advance.
They prepare an excel sheet on the computer carefully with the details of the plans for every day: how many minutes for each museum, names of regional dishes they will order for lunch and expensive, tasteful but still typical items they cannot miss buying, such as crystals from Bohemia or rugs from Arabia. These travellers also try to communicate (as far as they are able to) in the local language.
The advantage of the organized travellers is the feeling of accomplishment they will have at home: “I enjoyed every single second of the trip and learned loads of new things”. But its disadvantage is also obvious: after this vacation, they will be needing a new one, just to relax and think of nothing intellectual for a change.
Just to finish: scared, disorganised or organised, happy is the one who travels. Surely everyone agrees on that, no matter to which category of traveller you belong.
Luciana B. Veit