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I like new places with cultural and historical interest but am equally at home in tried and tested countries like France and Spain. I always read up on new countries before we go and as well as relying on the obvious guides I often read more off beat material. I always take at least one travel guide and am not averse to dissecting guides if just a portion is of interest as I like to travel light!
We enjoy travelling around countries at our own pace but recognise the value of a tour guide in places where communication or making arrangements might be difficult so small group travel is fine at times. We like talking with people about what it is like to live in the country we are visiting to try to get an understanding beyond that which is gained from a guide book.