Travelwatchdog - The only truly independent consumer voice in Travel

Accident or Illness Abroad?

the very best legal assistance

Recent Complaints of Note
Making the right Destination Choice


Are you a Tourist or a Traveller?

As you move around the world you will meet all sorts of people. You can divide them into two broad categories, Tourists and Travellers. You would think that there would be a lot of 'overlap' between the two, with some people falling on the line. Our experience is that this is generally not the case, with most people falling into one distinct category. Why do we make a distinction? Mainly because some of the journeys we feature are suitable for travellers, but definitely not for tourists. Whn you are booking a holiday you should always consider this distinction and decide which category describes you and your party. As a rough guide we define travellers and tourists as follows:

You are a traveller if:

1. Your destination is of more importance to you than your mode of travel.

2. Before travelling, you arm yourself with facts about your destination that will enable you to understand something of the circumstances of the environment in which you will find yourself.

3. When you arrive at your destination, you seek to interact with place and its population.

4. You know enough about your destination to accept the limitations on the hospitality it can offer.

5. When you return home you have more photographs of your destination and its people than of your party standing in front of local attractions.

You are a 'Tourist' if:

1.   You don't care too much where you go providing:

  • Your friends go 'wow' when you tell them.
  • It is possible to get someone to make all the arrangements before departure.
  • The place at which you're staying serves food other than the local 'rubbish'.
  • The accommodation is the same as you would expect to find at home.
  • The accommodation management has managed to eliminate all traces that you are in a foreign country.
  • You can walk to the beach and do not have to share transport with the locals.
  • You can take most of the essential photographs without having to 'waste' more than a few hours of your holiday.

2.   You feel threatened when you hear someone speaking a foreign language.

3.   You criticise the achievements of the local people without having a clue about their social and economic background.

4.   When you arrive home and are showing friends your photographs, the introduction usually starts: "This is a picture of us..........."

Growth of Travel & Opportunities

Whatever their faults, and they are many, there is no doubt that the introduction of the low cost airlines opened up the world to the travelling public. Although ultimately unsuccessful, Freddie Laker and his 'skytrain' blazed a trail that made it possible for others to offer low cost fares to all parts of the globe. Until Freddie Laker came on the scene, nationally owned or supported airlines, many of them inefficient, had a monopoly on air travel that kept fares high and barred competition. With the advent of the low cost airlines, monopoly came under attack and although protection still exists in the airline industry, it has been unable to prevent the march of progress. The consequence is that the world is the traveller's oyster.











Stunning Yosemite in the evening light



There are many great destinations for the traveller to consider. As this site develops, we shall suggest some that our correspondents have enjoyed and that are not widely featured in tour operator's brochures, maybe because they do not have mass appeal, are difficult to organise or are better arranged as holidays for the independent traveller.

Our first feature is a fly-drive holiday to California, based on a journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway that hugs the shore as it meanders along the edge of the pacific. It is a holiday that can be modified or extended to include visits to the great Californian national parks of Yosemite and/or Kings Canyon, Death Valley and Las Vegas, or many other places that have names that echo in our minds from the early days of childhood. If you are looking for a very 'Green' holiday in California, look at our article on the magnificent Sea Ranch resort.

Moving nearer to Uk, second on the list is a simple trip to the mediterranean island of Cyprus, one of the most recent members of the European Union and an island where, in ten years time, it will probably be impossible to see any trace of the culture and way of life that has existed for centuries.

We look at a trip with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to the magic of the Baltic and, if you like the exotic, to the might Amazon River. If you speak to those who have been on a quality cruise, you will hear nothing but praise. If you speak to others who have never had the experience, you will detect nothing but apprehension. If you choose well, this could be your best ever holiday experience. If you fancy Siberia, follow this link to learn about the Transsiberian Railway. Our latest offering is definitely only for the traveller, a cruise with the Royal Star from Mombasa to Cape Town, down the coast of East Africa.

Adding a touch of serious humour to the proceedings, we publish a verdict by some of the most critical of all travellers, primary school pupils, on the facilities at Anderby Creek, Nr Skegness, Lincolnshire. They don't mince their words!

Ushaia Tierra del Fuego - Clean air and beautiful scenery. Because of the difficulty in securing permanent land, houses are constructed to be movable.

And see all the sights from pole to pole,
And glance, and nod, and bustle by;
And never once possess our sole
before we die.
Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888)