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How to sightsee - guided tour, book, city audioguide, or maybe guideU?

Unusual post today. I want to tell you not about a specific city or region, but about my way of getting to know new places. As you can probably guess, an old gnome like me had the opportunity to check several methods of exploring the world over the years, so that he could learn as much as possible about it during his travels. Today I will tell you about my impressions related to most of them.

Book travel guides

A classic of the genre, I'm a bookworm, so it was a natural choice. Before traveling to new places, I bought one of the books dedicated to it in the bookstore. Even before the trip, I devoted myself to reading to choose specific attractions.

The first problem arose at this stage. As soon as I found the book uninteresting or treated the subject too superficially, I was forced to buy another guide again, which not only wasted my time, but also my financial resources on the expedition.

When visiting the attractions, it was also not very comfortable when I found a specific place and wanted to remember the details related to it. Instead of enjoying its beauty, I had to flip through the pages to find the right one. In addition to all this, there was the effect of potential damage in the conditions of rain or snow, which, unfortunately, sometimes cannot be avoided during sightseeing. However, the scale of bitterness in my case was spilled by something else.

Culinary tourism is very important to me. Several times while enjoying the local street food or consuming ice cream to cool off, I happened to read about the places I was about to visit. I'm ashamed to admit it, but on such occasions I regularly got the book dirty, which later made me feel stupid to open it, when I was among other people.

Hiring a Guide

Traveling individually, of course, it was beyond my financial reach. I could use such services only when it was possible to find a group willing to hire a guide for a trip. I was lucky that in such a case I always managed to meet wonderful people who talked very interestingly about the places we visited.

Unfortunately, I have not always been able to take full advantage of these services. For me, traveling is also integration with the locals. It often extended into the night hours. After such an event, I regularly lacked the strength to get up for a guided morning trip scheduled for hours. Alternatively, when I decided on it, the headache and the constant search for a water stand prevented me from listening to the story with due attention.

In addition, I regret that such organized and strictly planned expeditions stood in the way of love. How many times have I passed a wonderful woman with whom I fell in love at first sight. Unfortunately, the unfeeling group, regardless of the emerging feeling, forced me to go on and follow the schedule. So, if you are traveling in a group and are organized, guided tours are a great option.

It's worse when, like me, you are a romantic who likes night feasting, i.e. a dwarf Robert Makłowicz.

City Audioguides

An increasingly popular form, promoted especially by tourist cities. Currently available in two forms: equipment with recordings of individual attractions, which are assigned the appropriate numbers so that we know when to turn on the sound. Alternatively, an application in which we can also purchase urban recordings.

What is a kind of risk in this case is the fact that cities differ in the level of Audio Guides. For example, my Gdańsk keeps a level and by buying a route in the application, we can be guided, for example, by Jan Heweliusz or Neptune. However, many other trips are limited to the dry facts, not to mention the fact that the equipment rental system itself is very troublesome. I need to find a point that offers it, and not destroy it before returning it.

The worst thing is that me walking around town with it has written all over: I'm a tourist, rip me off. I omit the fact that for a dwarf carrying such a device is what a farmer's walk is for Pudzian. The application itself does not solve the problem either, because if I wanted to fill all my destinations, I would have to install about a dozen of them.

Since one or two is enough to book accommodation, I would like it to be similar with Audio Guides. Thanks to this, I don't waste space on my smartphone and I have more for photos that I can send to my friends.

Being my own guide

There is a lot of interesting travel content on the Internet. Probably many of you may ask a question: why don't you use them and prepare yourself before the trip to create an ideal route that you would use during your trip, e.g. entering into Google Maps all the points you plan to visit.

This solution probably has many advantages, especially since I love travel blogs and they are often an inspiration when choosing the next regions to visit. However, preparing for the trip requires a lot of effort, we have to find transport at a good price, similarly with accommodation, then remember to pack properly. Another duty, could already be embarrassing.

It would be nice not to feel like a schoolboy before a geography test and to know that there will be someone waiting for us on the spot who will discover the most interesting attractions for us.


I have been a guideU ambassador for some time now. I came across this application just looking for a remedy for the imperfections of the previously mentioned ways of exploring new places. In a nutshell, in guideU you will find routes that local enthusiasts create to bring the places where they live closer.

For me, this solution has many advantages. The routes created by local enthusiasts basically guarantee that I will not be bored while sightseeing. What's more, if it turns out that I bought a route of some bad guy, all I have to do is report it to the creators, and they will refund me.

The application is not only not limited to one city, region or country, but in most of them I am waiting for various types of trips, both related to the most popular and more alternative places. At the same time, some cities have quite a lot of choice, such as Gdańsk, Kraków, Warsaw, in some options there are a bit less, and in some there are still no options, e.g. Toruń, which I like very much. Check for yourself how it looks for the destination you are going to.

Although the stories are served to me by guides, I visit as I want and whenever I want, at any time I can find time "for wine, women and song". I feel like a takeaway coffee, I can enjoy it without the risk of spilling my phone looking for information about the place I pass. All because each route has an audio recording that allows me to listen to the story with my phone safely hidden in my pocket or backpack.

On the other hand, if for some reason I prefer to listen to the sounds of the city that I am getting to know, I can hide the headphones and switch to a transcript that turns my smartphone for a moment into a paper guide with photos taken by the passionate guide who guides me.

Probably for some of you more important than sightseeing at your own pace and time is the possibility of asking a "real" guide about various details.

You'll have to test it yourself and make up your own mind about what suits you. After all, everyone has their own way of exploring.

Mine at the moment is guideU and it depends only on the initiative of the team responsible for the application whether it is a permanent feeling or another holiday love affair.

I am curious about how you travel, I will be grateful for any comments on this topic.

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