THERE are some folk who wouldn’t be seen dead on an open-topped tour bus. I’m not one of them.

It’s not cool to follow the herd. We smirk at packs of tourists in matching yellow baseball caps, shuffling after a shouty tour guide holding an umbrella aloft. Heading the other way are the hardcore backpackers; bedraggled and smug free spirits making their own way off the beaten track. Baseball cap or backpack...they all reach the same place in the end: another must-see landmark to tick off the list and add to the Insta story.

I’m totally fine with following the herd, because I am a shameless tourist. My happy place is on the top deck of a hop on/ hop off sightseeing bus, snaking through a city break with headphones and a multi-lingual audio guide.

You need a thick skin to be a shameless tourist. It’s not for everyone. I still wince at the memory of Barbara, a formidable Austrian guide on the Sound of Music tour, who led us off the bus in Salzburg to the last stop; the fountain where Maria and the Von Trapp children dance in the Do-Re-Mi scene. To reach the fountain we had to get through a narrow gateway, where a bride and groom were posing for a photographer. Anyone else might have waited for the happy couple to finish their photos. Not Barbara. We watched, open-mouthed, as she marched towards them and pushed past, ordering us - an entire coach party - to follow. We dutifully followed, as the bride stepped back to save her dress from our trampling feet. It was mortifying. But Barbara was on a tight schedule, with another coach-load waiting. The wedding party was collateral damage. And, hey, we got our Do-Re-Mi photos!

You have to be prepared to look a bit silly as a shameless tourist. There’s no dignity in travelling around London on the Duck bus; a bright yellow amphibious contraption that splashes into the Thames - but it’s fun. One of my most joyful holiday memories is belting out Dancing Queen with my family on a Greek island bus, as the Mamma Mia tour headed for the hills. The locals barely looked up as our daft singing bus went by.

I like being herded about and told what to look at. I’m a sucker for a coach trip because I can sit back and enjoy the view while someone else does all the organising. We’re told where to get off and when to come back. Sometimes we’re taken on a walking tour and pointed in the direction of the toilets. It’s like being on a school trip - what’s not to like?

Travel snobs can scoff, but a guided tour is a whistle-stop way to learn something about places we visit. A guide will often reveal nuggets of information or highlight hidden places we might otherwise not have come across, and we can later re-visit at our leisure.

Some tours, however, can be a bit dull. On a coach in Paris last week, we got snarled up in traffic while our short-tempered guide, a jaded Parisian, pointed out places she decided were more interesting than the usual hotspots. Which is fine, if you’ve come to Paris specifically to see the hospital for the blind or the military academy, rather than, say, the Notre Dame... My sister and I ended up getting off the bus, pulling on our big girl pants, and making our own way around on the Metro.

We took selfies, we bought fridge magnets, we dined in a Montmartre bistro, where a patronising waitress told us the frog’s legs on the menu “taste like chicken wings, guys”. We even spoke some French along the way. And we got back to the coach on time.