How to have your tours and the rest of the day too.
The prime directive of travel is to go to new places, learn new things, have interesting experiences, meet new people, and, above all else, to enjoy yourself. While typical tours check off a few of these boxes, many of them eventually get … well, a little long winded. When you have a list full of sites to visit, food to eats, and things to experience in a destination, an endlessly long tour can suck the vitality out of an otherwise energetic and productive day.
I’ve had this experience over and over again while traveling the world, as I am one of those travelers who quickly grow weary of listening to tour guides telling me where to go, what to look at, and how long to look at it for. More often than not, I jump ship on organized tours — electing to experience places for myself rather than listing to someone blab on and on about facts and details that I’m never going to remember anyway.
This situation was compounded greatly when I began traveling with children. All too often, my kids start out a tour excited to see and experience someplace new only to have their intrigue sapped by being forced to stand still listening to some adult talking for excruciating periods of time. For parents, this is a bit of a nightmare — as much as you want to tell your kids to suck it up and behave, somewhere down deep … well, you understand where they’re coming from.
According to an Expedia survey, 95% of travelers report that keeping their family entertained and happy is of the utmost importance while traveling.
Bored kids = unhappy family.
What are Flash Tours?
Just when I was ready to stave off tours for good, a new type of tour came to my attention — a new type of tour that seemed to respect my need for efficiency and independence. Called Flash Tours by their creator, The Roman Guy travel group, the concept of what a tour needs to be and — most importantly — how long they need to last has been flip upside down. Instead of offering exhaustive tours where adjectives such as “more” and “longer” are considered good things, they instead offer fast and nimble tours which get right to the point, all you to check out and learn about the essentials, get those vital Instagram shots, and then allow you to move on to the next thing on your list. We’re talking about experiences that last for 90 minutes or less which include a knowledgeable guide who provides a brief tour, time to explore on your own, and the incredibly valuable “skip the line” access on top of that. These are tours for travelers with places to go and things to do.
One of these tours that are available now is the Flash Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour. Promoted on The Roman Guy’s website as the “shortest and most affordable Vatican Tour,” this tour takes you into the heart of main galleries of the Vatican and builds up to the Sistine Chapel. You get to check off all the must-visit attractions — the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of the Candelabra, countless works of famous art, and gives you exactly what you came for — while allowing you the time to get out and go do something else with your day. This tour also allows you to “skip the line,” which can potentially save you hours of miserable waiting.
The Skip the Line Flash Colosseum Tour is also something for the traveler with robust to-do lists. For just €49,95 you can go on a cool 1 hour and 15-minute tour of the Colosseum, checking out the key locations — such as the Flavian Amphitheater — and having the experiences that you plan to have, and then get out and move on to the next thing on your itinerary. Let’s also keep in mind that the line to enter the Colosseum can often be an hours-long dirge in and of itself, and this tour allows you to skip this miserable fiasco and walk right in. Not even my kids could get bored on this one.
When it comes to travel, time is your most precious commodity, and not wasting it waiting in long lines and on tours that drag on and on, enhances the total enjoyment of the experience, which is ultimately what it’s all about.
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