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What is a trip anywhere without experiencing some of the excitement and scenery that the country has to offer? From guided tours explaining the history and culture, to getting a taste of the local wine and cuisine, to the heart stopping adrenaline pumping adventures, the tours and activities are what create the memories while we travel (and fill all of our photo books later.)
This is an area that for myself, I don’t mind spending the money (especially if it’s a once in a life-time experience.) Of course, if you are on a small budget there are free walking tours and tip based tours as already mentioned. Also, many hostels can arrange local tours in the area (which will help sometimes in getting group discounts, especially if you are traveling alone.)
Also, consider the cost of local transportation and if you can get to the location on your own from where you are. For example, in Cairo I was able to save money on a tour by taking the local metro to the entrance before the pyramids, rather than paying for a tour that included the cost of transportation there. Depending on if you are traveling alone or with other people, as well as the local cost (and ease) of transportation, sometimes having the ride included can be worth the extra cost.
Having an idea of what you want to do and knowing what sort of cost to expect ahead of time will leave you some bargaining room if you decide to book directly with tour companies once you arrive, but in order to budget for your trip, it’s good to know in advance what you plan to do. Of course, always leave some room for the unexpected (you never know what activities may come up that you never could have planned for.)
Some destinations are much cheaper and your money will go much further, which makes booking more elaborate tours and activities in these locations much more cost-effective.
Some packages can include hotel (or hostel accommodations) with the tour. This can assist in saving money because you are booking as part of a group, but be sure to know exactly what is included in the price and what you are expected to cover on your own. Pricing the rooms yourself for the dates of your trip can help you know if you are getting a fair price or not. When traveling through Ireland, I chose a 5 day adventure tour which included transportation to several different sites, but the cost of accommodation and meals was NOT included. I also did a guided tour through Morocco which DID include the accommodations and meals (excluding lunch) which ended up giving me a much better value. Also, be prepared as many guides will expect a tip at the end of the trip (regardless of how much money you’ve paid for the tour.)
My favorite adventures so far:
Canyoneering in the French Alps. This was arranged by the hostel I stayed at in Nice.
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Exploring the Caves of Budapest
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Ghost Tours of Edinburgh and Hogmany Festival (Scotland)
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My first Scuba Dive in the Red Sea (Egypt)
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Floating and Mud scrub at the Dead Sea (Israel)
Horseback-riding around the Giza Pyramids (Egypt)
Camel Trekking in the Sahara (Morocco)
Snowboarding the Tatra Mountains (Slovakia)
Exploring the lost city of Petra (Jordan)
Kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland, followed by some traditional Irish Music and Dancing and flirting with Irish Flute Players
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