Traveling the world is easier than it has ever been. For one thing, there’s mass transit, designed to carry lots of people with ease. The Internet has made a global world more tangible, and we can access photos, reviews, pricing, and information that help us plan dream vacations at the drop of a hat. And don’t even get us started on all the cool travel apps that are available, too.
These days, if you want to learn about something or see what it looks like, all you need to do is enter that location in Google, and your search feed will come back with tons of images, not to mention feedback, reviews, ideas of things you can do there, stuff to purchase, and on and on.
Because it’s so easy to access such a wide variety of information, including virtual tours and audio guides to new places, one could legitimately ask why seeing a site in person is better than learning about a place via electronic means. After all, touring a place on the Internet and educating yourself by all that is available to read is enough, right?
While it’s true you can get acquainted with a place via a virtual experience, we believe other things come into play when you choose to see locations in person. Choosing to travel with a tour operator, for example, can be really beneficial for a few reasons.
First, seeing something in person allows you to appreciate the details. Take a Gothic cathedral built a few hundred years ago, for example. Sure, if you’ve got a great coffee table book with large photographs of these magnificent structures, you can certainly appreciate that those buildings are huge. You can see the massive stone columns and walls of beautiful stained glass windows. But there is nothing that really allows you to absorb that type of a space like being inside of it. You feel small in a church like that. And it isn’t just about relative size, either. You can’t walk into a space like that without considering history and those who built these massive structures. It helps you see yourself in a greater timeline, following in the steps of so many that have gone before. And you might look at pictures of stained glass windows in a cathedral, but a photograph cannot replicate sitting in a church, watching the way sunshine makes those colors vibrant, lighting up all the details the glass was meant to convey.
Seeing a place in person helps you put it in the larger context of local culture, food, sights and smells. For example, if you’re a lifelong history buff and know a lot about early American history, there’s plenty of information out there available to read: books galore, museums to see, and Internet sites devoted to discussion about that time in history. But, no matter how much you read, it can’t duplicate what it’s like to actually go to Plymouth, Massachusetts, for example, and physically walk on the full-size replica of the Mayflower. And walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg will give you a taste of the sights, sounds, dress, commerce, weapon making, and life in general during the American Revolution. Being there makes that time period come alive, allowing you to absorb it as part of its surroundings and culture in a way that images and text from a screen just can’t convey.
And lastly, seeing something in person helps you utilize your five senses to the max. Try describing the beach to your kids who have never been, for example. You can tell them about the way the horizon appears to never end, watching baby crabs on the sand, or collecting sand dollars. But they really can’t appreciate it the way it will come alive to them if they’re allowed to use their five senses in person: feeling the wind on their cheeks and the way the water literally pushes them as they body surf, listening to the waves crash on shore, tasting salty seawater on their tongues, or smelling the water/sand combo as they let individual grains slip through their fingers. A screen simply can’t replicate that; it’s just not possible.
So, even though we can look up just about anything on the Internet, it can’t adequately duplicate the experience of vacationing with a tour operator and seeing a place in person. As a motorcoach company working with tour operators, we have the opportunity to provide quality, professional transportation for tour groups. If you’re a tour operator, putting the details into place for your next group adventure, consider calling us to facilitate getting your group around from Point A to Point Z, helping them see more of this beautiful earth we call home.