I can’t believe I’ve never used STA Travel in college.
Then again, I never traveled abroad college so I never did think about STA Travel. Well I did travel to Japan with my sister back in 2007, but we never thought about STA Travel because we didn’t have any STA Travel nearby my parent’s house.
But aside that, I can’t believe I never walked in until today. I mean there’s even a discount cards for people under 26.
After work, I went over to STA Travel nearby my place because I was still debating whether or not to do a tour. I told the travel agent that I was going to visit some friends in Beijing and Hong Kong but…I want to do a little bit more.
Why consider a tour in China?
1. Even though I have a friends in Beijing and Hong Kong — 2 weeks is a long time to be in two cities. There’s so much to do–why not explore? I really want to go explore the smaller towns too but reading through the Lonely Planets and doing my own research, transportation to go into these little towns and leave is not that easy.
2. When I do go visit friends, they have jobs and I’m left to do whatever until they come back. Due to the language barrier (except Hong Kong) I don’t want to risk getting lost ANYWHERE–especially in the smaller cities where it’s less English speaking friendly. I’m not saying I won’t try practicing Chinese–I don’t think I’ll have proficient Mandarin to find my way around.
3. It’s not like backpacking Europe. Europe seems more user friendly. But also 4 years of French and reading French helps :-P.
4. My travel agent is going to China next year and she’s doing a tour. She usually does independent travels herself but the language barrier made her decide to do a tour.
The travel agent showed me a few itineraries after telling her my travel wishlist and the results turned out better than I thought. I can tour around by day and hang out with friends in the afternoon (after the tour) and I get four days in Beijing.
I even told my agent why I was at first, reluctant doing a tour group because the last time (and it was the first time) I went to Japan with Globus. It wasn’t something I would do again because we pretty much had the day planned out from the moment we woke up to the moment we gathered around for dinner.
Before I did a tour group, my family and I use to do a lot of road trips and we even went to France without a tour guide. All we had in France was that hop-on-hop-off tickets to use Paris buses and Paris subways and took a train to Normandy…maybe what helped was me speaking and reading French. But anyways prior to any tour group I’ve done a lot of independent travel so doing so I found doing Globus a little bit too extravagant and uptight.
I think I found the dream itinerary and the awesome news is that all the hard stuff is pretty much done. Now I can just focus on saving :-).
Guess what...I won’t reveal the itinerary! Maybe later…much later.