How to be a tour guide's nightmare
Travelling as part of a tour group can be a little like being one of a flock of herded sheep. Someone is there to guide you along every step of the way and all you need to do is follow their instructions.
There's usually one person in a tour group who seems to live by their own rules. They will annoy the hell out of the other more compliant group members but observe them closely and you'll probably notice that they are having more fun than everyone else. So next time you're on a group tour, here are seven simple tips on how to be the tour guide's nightmare while having the time of your life.
1. Be consistently late. If your guide tells your group to meet at 2 o'clock you should aim to arrive at the agreed place anytime from around 2.15. That way, everyone will be sitting comfortably on the bus and the driver can depart immediately as you won't be waiting for any more latecomers.
2. Ask lots of questions. 'There's no such thing as a stupid question'; so said some wise man at one time or other. The tour guide is here to share their knowledge with the group and what better way to help them than by interrogation. Asking questions that they have already answered is highly recommended as repetition has been shown to aid memory.
3. Be a fussy eater. Timing is everything and the time to announce that you're a lactose intolerant coeliac vegan with a nut allergy is 5 minutes before the meal is served in the yurt by the nomadic tribesmen. They should be considerate and plan ahead to cater for every possibility.
4. Insist on toilet breaks on demand. The need to go to the loo is a very delicate matter and if you happen to get the urge 10 minutes after the group stopped at a cafe your needs should be respected.
5. Stake your seat claim. The best seat on the bus is right at the front. Everyone knows that, so make sure you're quick on the draw to bag the front seat on the first journey. After that, don't entertain anyone's suggestion of rotating seats. If someone has got there before you, tell them you suffer from motion-sickness and that you need to sit at the front.
6. Take your photography seriously. You don't want to rush a good picture. Neither do you want any of the other 50 people on your trip to spoil your shot. The best thing to do is to get to the view points first, set up your tripod and then hold the others back until you have the perfect shot. You'll appreciate your efforts when you get home and see the results.
7. Eat, drink and be merry. Everyone feels better after a drink or two so make sure you knock back any wine on offer during the lunch stop. There's nothing better than starting a good sing-song when everyone is nodding off in the afternoon and a bit of lunchtime booze is great to help oil the old vocal chords.
What else have we missed from the list? Add your thoughts on how you would make that lasting impression by standing out from the crowd in your tour group.