Yay!!! You are coming to the moon!
I know, I know. Early days yet. You still have to sort out time off from work and make sure you can swing the not insignificant cost. I’m still going to get excited.
As I’m sure you have found out, you will have to come with a tour group. Nobody travels solo. No one. Doesn’t matter your political clout nor your bank account. The Lunar Commission will make sure you have registered guides and documented itinerary. It’s just not safe otherwise. For the tourists or for the people who live here.
Not much solo anything up here. There’s a lunar urban legend that a man (or woman, or gender of your choice) was planning to cheat on his wife (ditto). The thing is, you don’t go off alone. You make sure that someone knows where you are at all times. If there is an accident, they need to know how many people to get out of sector 6. You get in the habit of everyone always knowing where you are. So, when he was leaving for his tryst, he made sure to tell his wife where he was going.
Constant observation sounds very George Orwell. After living here even for a short time, I can tell you that a) you get used to it, and b) since your mistake can kill me, you are kinda pleased that no one is off doing stupid shit.
Anyway. Back to your trip.
Among tour groups, there’s not a huge amount of difference in the core activities. See above, Lunar Commission planning your life. You get brought up, escorted around, taken care of, and returned home safe and sound.
Since the tours are mostly the same, the groups try to attract business with the bells and whistles. It’s like a ocean voyage where the ships and ports of call are all the same. The only difference is in the style of deckchairs.
I wouldn’t bother to spring for a super-luxe trip. Much of what they offer doesn’t matter, or you might not be able to use. Fancy food? Who knows how your digestive system will react. You might enjoy the champagne reception at before take-off and then spend the rest of the trip eating processed baby food. Or you might enjoy gourmet lunar meals. No one knows how they will feel until they get here. Really, people have tried to build predicative models based on health and lifestyle and whatnot. Completely unpredictable.
Tours all about the same size. Some slightly bigger, some slightly smaller. The deluxe tours emphasize their limited size, but it’s not huge and, more importantly, I don’t see that as a mark in their favor. Bigger groups can be more fun. Lunar tourists tend to be an educated bunch. Anyone who goes thru that much orientation and safety training has a commitment to investigating new ideas. You’ll probably enjoy their company.
Bunkrooms aren’t that bad. You won’t be in your room except to sleep, so why pay for an exclusive space that’s not used two-thirds of the time? That’s not how we think up here, even us non-Moon Rats. Insisting on your own bedroom will mark you as a ugly Earthling.
Same goes for the Adults-Only trips. Again, no one knows how their systems will react, and that includes reproductive systems. It’s not just men worried about hydraulics. There is a good chance you will have utterly no interest regardless of the orifices involved. Save that for an Adults-Only Lunar Experience stay on earth. Then, party on.
You don’t need special receptions. I’ve met the chairman of the LC. Nice dude, but do you really want to spend your precious minutes listening to a political speech?
I wouldn’t go for super cheap – relatively speaking – either. First off, trip of a lifetime, not the place to cut corners. Second, a mid-range tour group will give you a few things that are worthwhile.
A good tour company will try to gather people of similar interests. Yes, the tours are basically the same, but they can be shaded one way or the other. A group interested in food or gardening might spend longer with the hydroponics, whereas a group of engineers might have a slightly longer stay in the materials lab.
Also, see if they will let you request a meet-up. Not with me, I’ll find you one way or the other. I’m thinking you might like to talk with some of the artists up here. Maybe have the tour company see if anyone wants to join your group for a meal. New people are fun for us as well.
Will you feel like a kindergartner on a school trip? Absolutely. See above, re mistakes. Even if you are miserable and can’t eat or sleep, you’ll still have a great time. It’s the freaking moon! They say there is nothing new in history. Well, this is.
Can’t wait to see you here,