Nowadays travelling is becoming more and more popular with the Chinese people, as we have more leisure time and money

TOEFL Essay Topic 74 - Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The best way to travel is in a group led by a tour guide. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Author: ANONYMOUS | Date: September 8, 2006 | Score:5

Nowadays travelling is becoming more and more popular with the Chinese people, as we have more leisure time and money to spend during our vacation. And when it comes to ways of travelling, many prefer to join groups arranged by travel services and escorted by tour guides. Others may argue indepen...

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Despite all the troubles that travelling on your own might impose on one, I'd rather avoid travelling with a guided tour. This is mainly because travelling with most of the guided tours deprives one from having a firsthand experience of the place they are visiting. My other reason lies in financial issues, as you end up paying much more when you travel with a group led by a tour.

To begin with, in a guided tour your experience of the city you are visiting is mostly mediated by the tour guide, rather than being able to have a full and firsthand idea of your surroundings. Guided tours usually pick the most popular and famous locations to visit, such as important monuments and historical sites, luxurious malls and entertainment sites. They might even choose roads and streets that are counted as more beautiful and less dangerous to make the tourists' experience more enjoyable, and might avoid certain roads that are not as beautiful, are dirtier, or show sad reality of the city, such as homelessness. This means that you usually do not have a chance to get a quite authentic sense of the location in a city; what you see is mostly what is counted as its best, without being able to notice what is lying behind that beauty, and cannot have a balanced impression from the place you are in.

Furthermore, a guided tour is almost always much more expensive than paying for the received services yourself. Besides the agency fees and the payment for the guides, when travelling with a tour you are obliged to pay for whatever service they choose for you, and at whatever level and price. Their selections might not match with your income, needs, and preferences. For instance, you might not want to eat at an expensive restaurant and prefer to try a local food and meet and talk to the people in the streets.

All in all, I have to mention that I do not disapprove of guided tours, as it might make life easier for travelers. Nevertheless, I do think that experiencing the difficulties associated with visiting a new place is part of the visiting experience as well. To better experience the world, it is more beneficial to do a research on the kind of activities that can bring you a pleasant journey, and decide on that yourself.

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