Los Angeles Times

Pick a tour up your alley


Tours can be terrific [“Giving Group Tours a Much Better Name,” On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, Jan. 17]. You just have to pick the company with the itinerary that suits you.

Many people are worried they won’t like the other tour members and so avoid all tours. My wise father always reminded me that making friends is the easiest thing in the world. It’s true, and isn’t that what travel teaches us? Particular­ly on a tour with people from our own country? Shouldn’t we learn to accept each other?

Yes, travel is about seeing beautiful or historic places, but what makes a trip memorable is an afternoon coffee at a sidewalk cafe on the Ringstrass­e in Vienna and speaking with local businessme­n, or enjoying a trip to a brew house in Tromso, Norway, with Germans, Brits and Aussies and listening to a Norwegian storytelle­r. Or speaking and joking with Muslim shopkeeper­s in Amsterdam or with locals on the bus or tram.

Most tours offer those opportunit­ies to strike out on your own. They provide an overview. Nothing prevents you from going back later to explore on your own.


La Crescenta

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