Audio Tours

Audio tours are quickly becoming the newest craze in the travel industry and with thousands of tours available for destinations all over the world it’s easy to see why.

Independent travelers are downloading tours in droves and can’t get enough of the convenience and value for money audio tours provide.

Here’s 10 reasons why you’re going to love them too:

1. Save on All-Important Luggage Space

Forget about baggage limits and suitcases bursting at the seams, with an audio tour you can kiss goodbye your well-worn guidebook and replace it with one of the many slimline mp3 players that are on the market.

Good audio tours will walk you through all the sites covered in your guide book, with the added bonus of taking you to some of the real local haunts.

2. Cheap as Chips

Audio tours are significantly cheaper than comparable guided tours. For example, a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel can easily cost around $US50 but an audio tour that takes in the same sights is likely to cost a quarter of the price and has so many advantages. Instead of being a part of a crowded tour group and struggling to understand your guide you will be given your own personal tour complete with sound effects and stories that you can stop and start whenever you like.

Naturally, the more you save on a tour the more money you can spend on indulgent treats during your trip – that’s gotta be a good thing!

3. Take in the Highlights

Audio tours are great if you’ve only got limited time to explore a destination or you just want an easy way to see everything a city has to offer. With such a large range of tours available you’re guaranteed to find the holiday experience that you’re after.

4. Travel at Your Own Pace

Independent travelers will love the freedom to create their own itinerary and discover a destination in their own time. The best audio tours break up all the stops into separate tracks so you can visit attractions that you’re most interested in or rearrange the path the tour follows to suit yourself. Audio tours also give you the flexibility to stray from the itinerary and take time to explore for as long as you like.

5. Insider Info

If you want to visit places that only locals know about and discover the heart and soul of a city then audio tours are going to be your new best friend. Good audio tours are developed by local people. They reveal those little gems that you would never ever find by yourself and they’ll tell you stories that will help you take the most away from your trip.

6. No Need for a Search Party

It’s almost impossible to get lost when you’ve got a good audio tour. The best audio tours are divided into separate tracks and include a free numbered map that corresponds to the track your listening to. The map plots out the path the tour follows and clearly marks the stops you take along the way so you always know exactly where you are.

7. Look Like a Local

The days of waving your guidebook around and getting tangled in a map the size of a small country are over – now you can be a tourist without looking like one.

Audio tours allow you to be an ‘undercover tourist’. Outsiders will be fooled into thinking you’re taking a casual stroll around a city you know like the back of your hand when you’re actually following clear directions from your audio guide.

8. A Memorable Experience

You’re guaranteed to have an experience you’ll never forget when you take an audio tour. In fact, studies show that people are more likely to retain information that they hear rather than information that they read from, say, a guidebook. There’s also the added benefit that you don’t have to keep looking down to read your book, you simply listen while you take in your surroundings and enjoy the experience.

9. Quick and Easy to Download

Audio tours can be downloaded in a matter of seconds from anywhere in the world. From Madagascar to Miami, as long as you have an internet connection and an mp3 player you can download a tour anytime, day or night.

10. Variety

Whether you’re a history buff, a dedicated sightseer or a fun-loving backpacker there will be an audio tour to suit your needs. Apart from the obvious variety of destinations available there are also a number of different styles to chose from, including self-drive tours, those with a historical focus or those with a youthful, streetwise and funky atmosphere.

London Museums

London is packed with museums around every corner. It’s a budget traveler’s dream because most museums have free admission! It may be difficult for you to decide which museums to go to, especially if you’re on limited time. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular museums in London.

British Museum

With over eight million pieces from human history, the British Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world. Its exhibits have items collected from every continent. It’s also the largest museum in London. Be sure to have at least four hours to explore all rooms. The most popular item at the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone. Other popular items include the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, a manuscript of Beowulf, and art by Leonardo da Vinci.

Museum of London

For history lovers, Museum of London specializes in the city’s social development from its birth. London was founded two thousand years ago under the Roman Empire. The Museum of London has galleries with historic artifacts, miniature replicas, and interactive displays. There’s also a contemporary section about London from 1950 to today.

Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms covers World War II and the life of Winston Churchill. The museum is located in a secret underground complex. This complex was England’s military headquarters during the war. Visitors will find artifacts, tools, and old recordings from World War II. There’s also an interactive biography of Winston Churchill.

National Gallery

The National Gallery is London’s top art gallery featuring art from the 13th to 20th centuries. You’ll find pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. It’s ideal for budget travelers because there’s no entrance fee. The gallery is in Trafaalgar Square, a popular tourist location for food and shopping.

Tate Modern Museum

The Tate Modern is the most visited modern art museum in the world. It has seven floors dedicated to modern art. The permanent collection, which makes up half the museum, features international pieces from 1900 to the present year. You’ll find rooms exploring surrealism, impressionism, pop art, and more. The permanent collection is free to view, but there’s a fee to view the special exhibits.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a science museum. It’s ideal for families with children. Founded in 1881, there are over five million items to teach you about dinosaurs, animals, insects, plants, and minerals. Like other museums in London, the Natural History Museum is free.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is focused on decorative arts and design. Here you’ll find six floors of jewelry, fashion, sculptures, and furniture. The pieces are from various cultures and religions around the world. The museum is large and requires at least four hours to see everything. It’s also free to visit.

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SeaCity Museum

The SeaCity Museum is a museum in Southampton, England, which opened on 10 April 2012 to mark the centenary of RMS Titanic’s departure from the city. It is housed within a part of the Grade II listed civic centre building which previously housed the magistrates’ court and police station. The museum contains two permanent exhibitions, one dedicated to Southampton’s connection with RMS Titanic, and the other to the city’s role as gateway to the world. A third space for temporary exhibitions is housed in a purpose built pavilion extension to the civic centre. Further phases of development may yet add to the exhibition space.

here are three exhibitions at SeaCity, all of which were designed by Urban Salon. Two permanent exhibitions are housed in the former police station and magistrates’ court.

  • Gateway to the World examines Southampton’s history, and its role as a hub for human migration. Exhibits include a one tonne, seven-metre long replica of RMS Queen Mary, rehoused from Southampton Maritime Museum. Both Southampton Maritime Museum and Southampton Museum of Archaeology closed permanently in September 2011 to allow their exhibits to be rehoused at SeaCity and Tudor House Museum.
  • Southampton’s Titanic Story explores the Titanic tragedy through the eyes of its crew, the majority of whom listed Southampton as their address. A preserved court room uses audiovisual elements to re-enact scenes from the British inquiry into the sinking and to explore its ramifications. The civic centre clock tower, approximately the height of a funnel on the Titanic can be viewed through a roof light as visitors enter the exhibition, giving them an impression of the scale of the ship. The story incorporates audio recordings given by the survivors and features interactive elements allowing visitors to steer the virtual ship and to stoke its engines.

The pavilion plays host to temporary exhibitions. The first of which, to coincide with the Titanic centenary, is Titanic: The Legend which explores the public’s enduring fascination with the ship through its portrayal in popular culture. The exhibition hosts screens playing back scenes from films such as 1912’s In Nacht und Eis and 1997’s Titanic. Titanic memorabilia collected include Steiff “mourning bears”, beers from the Titanic Brewery, jigsaw puzzles and many other such kitsch that SeaCity scoured the internet to find.

Port Southampton is UK’s largest passenger (ferry and cruise) port and 2nd largest cargo port (following Felixstowe). Its first dock was opened in 1843. Most of its operations back then were regular Transatlantic cruises from southampton between UK and USA. Since 1982, the port is owned and operated by ABP (Associated British Ports). Southampton is ranked UK’s largest cruise port and UK’s second-largest container port (after Felixstowe).