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Package Holidays vs. Independent Travel: What You Need to Know

Thomas Cook was one of the early pioneers of a business model soon to be named in pop culture as “package holidays”. Ever since his first organised railway trip in 1841, Thomas Cook realised there is a sound business model.

From there onwards for two centuries people only booked their travel using travel agents they trusted and going on packaged tours.

However, in today’s ever connected and globalised world and with the .com bubble, it made the travel industry question whether this model is still viable. Explore with us below some of the pros and cons of each model and see which one fits best your needs.

Where to Book a Package Holiday?

What counts as a package holiday, are package holidays more expensive, how safe are package holidays, how to book independently, how safe is booking your own holiday, advantages and disadvantages of package holidays vs. independent travel.

Before we reach to any conclusions, we propose to look at both package holidays and independent travel and analyse them separately.

Package Holidays

As we mentioned earlier, Thomas Cook, was one of the early pioneers of this business model. This simple idea yet revolutionary of providing people an all inclusive (not to be confused with the type of board) experience which consisted of: travel to and from, accommodation and the tour of the attraction itself.

Sounds pretty simple but remember during those times everyone made their own travel arrangements, sometimes with dubious individuals. The concepts of a travel agency and consumer rights were still foreign.

The model then evolved throughout the 20th century with the appearance of a dedicated industry – the Travel Industry. The tour operator isn’t the only one selling tickets now.

The appearance of a dedicated sales office or how we know it as a travel agency that can be separate from the tour operator, meant tour operators could now focus on providing the experience and the travel agencies on selling the tours.

Whilst some travel agents had good contacts within the industry and were able to provide competitive rates or great holidays overall, it wasn’t till 1970 when the GDS system came online.

A Global Distribution System (GDS), is a computerized network that facilitates transactions between travel service providers and travel agents (both online travel agents like Expedia and human travel agents).

Nowadays, anyone can book a package holiday. The technological advancements which we covered above made it so that anyone can essentially book a trip anywhere on the planet without even leaving their couch.

Paphos beach

If you’re wondering where to book a package holiday, all you have to do is a little bit of research on some of the travel agencies serving your area. You can start off by researching online, exploring the high street or even joining social media groups and asking for recommendations.

For us, we typically go with TUI as they have great customer experience and they also tend to be the tour operators. This means they control the experience end to end and can offer you something most agencies can’t.

Moreover, package holidays are for everyone, whether you are single or travelling with your family or as a couple there are plenty of places to choose from. Definitely worth considering this for your next trip.

Places such as Turkey and Bulgaria are great for families whilst places like Mexico are great for couples or singles.

People playing beach volley

Well, to put it simply, like in the days of Thomas Cook, it should be a combination of travel and accommodation. The package should be inclusive.

Modern holidaymakers have been used to all-inclusive holidays. Though you can have a package holiday without an all inclusive board, though they tend to be very popular these days.

These started being popular ever since the 1950s where Club Med started offering guests unlimited drinks and food with the idea that the guests never need to leave the estate.

Nowadays, all inclusive means much more than just the board type. It can include water sports, activities, shows and many other things.

So when booking, be sure to check the offer as in today’s ever crowded holiday market a big buffet might not be the only thing on offer. This is what we normally do when we go to places like the Dominican Republic or Mexico .

Money - notes and coins

Whilst there are more people involved in booking your holiday such as the travel agent, tour operators, guides, transport etc. increased business efficiency combined with modern IT tools means that savings are passed on to the consumer making package holidays still a commercially viable option.

When we did our U.S. trip ( New York , Washington D.C. , Philadelphia and Boston), which was independently booked, we tallied up the costs and everything and compared to a similar package holiday.

The cost wasn’t that much different but we were able to plan our own trip in the order we wanted and according to the number of days we wanted to spend in each city.

Also, remember, on top of this you get in some countries a money guarantee scheme similar to the ATOL protection in the UK (mentioned below). Unlike self booked holidays this acts like a safeguard should anything happen on your trip or before.

So if you are wondering if it is it better to book a package holiday – then this consideration alone should make you consider if this might be the right option for you or not.

With the arrival of true international travel a way to protect your citizens was called for. Many governments around the world issued laws and regulations to protect travellers so whatever happens they can still return home.

In the U.K., Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) protection has been since 1973. This regulation is a financial protection scheme and it protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses.

The scheme also applies to some flight bookings, usually those where you book flights (including UK domestic flights) but do not receive your tickets immediately. The scheme is designed to reassure consumers that their money is safe, and will provide assistance in the event of a travel business failure.

Another similar scheme is ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), is a trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the United Kingdom. This associations aims to improve the quality of service provided by its members but also protect financially customer.

Unlike ATOL, which covers flight based holidays only, if a holidaymaker buys a land- or sea-based holiday such as coach, rail or cruise holiday from an ABTA member their money will be protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection.

This effectively means that should your travel agent go bust whilst you are on holiday, under this scheme you can still enjoy your holiday and return on the same date home.

In other words, it’s very safe to book a package holiday.

Some governments around the world also operate similar style schemes. In the argument of package holidays vs independent travel this bit is often overlooked.

Punta Cana beach after hurricane Irma

We had an experience where we truly appreciated the advantages of a package holiday. During our trip to Punta Cana , we had hurricane Irma (category 5 hurricane) come on our side of the island. TUI were very instrumental in arranging the evacuation and a like for like hotel in the capital of Santo Domingo .

Other guests were sent to the nearby school and slept on the floor throughout. Not only were we evacuated from the dangerous area, but we were also offered a 5-star hotel and excellent service. On top of this, we also got money back for the days we spent outside the resort.

This could be also something to consider on your next trip. It totally changed our perception of the benefits of a package holiday. Needless to say, we have been using TUI ever since.

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Independent Travel

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Here is a photo of us, planning our next trip from the comfort of our garden 🙂

First of all, you might wonder what does independent travel mean? It means self booking your trip or holiday without needing a travel agent.

Booking independently has really taken off with the wide adoption of the internet and the .com bubble. With the creation of GDS systems which feed aggregators like Agoda , Booking.com , Skyscanner and many others; ordinary consumers all of the sudden became their own travel agents.

This, in turn, allowed for democratization of the travel booking experience. No longer did you need to leave the house or call your travel agent, all you had to do is type in the 16 digits on your card and off you go!

Wizzair plane

Whilst some individuals tend to be a bit reserved when it comes to booking it themselves, the benefits should outweigh their fears. In our article about How to Plan a Holiday we discuss some of the points that any traveller should have front of mind when booking a trip independently.

Whilst there are some benefits to booking a package holiday, self booking also comes with some perks. What we noticed is that the advantage of independently booking consists in the granularity and the choice for options at your disposal.

Want a flight Thursday at 5pm from your closest airport? Plenty of choices. How about a quirky looking boutique hotel at your destination? You’ve go it. And the list goes on.

An example here is our trip to Vienna , which we decided to combine with a trip to Bratislava . Given the proximity of these capitals and how well connected they are, we were able to plan our own trip, arrange our own travel at the times we wanted and visit two countries in one long weekend. How cool is that?

This plethora of choices gives travellers the flexibility of booking and tailoring their holiday to their liking. It’s a bit like making a pizza. For those that don’t like off the shelf products they are better off making it at home as they wish.

As we live in the UK, we mainly travel by plane. In our article on Top Tips on How to Find Cheap Flights , we even uncover some of the things you should consider when independently booking your flights.

Whilst booking a package holiday can have some benefits such as ATOL/ABTA protection, discussed above, if used wisely, credit cards can also provide a similar style protection.

Depending on your local country laws, credit card providers can offer certain benefits and protections. Some of these can also be engrained in law.

I remember reading in the news when WOW Air went bankrupt and there was this one line that made me reconsider how I book my flights. It was to do with the order of reimbursements in this particular order:

  • Credit cards
  • Protected package tours (travel agents)
  • Insurance (if covered)

And that’s it. If you booked with a debit card, the administrator may refund you after those above have been processed and only if there is any money left. Ouch!

Next day, we got our credit cards and since then have used them for travel. That is because in the UK, credit cards fall under the Consumer Act of 1974 which covers you of any liability when using borrowed money and when buying services or products and the vendor can’t contractually fulfil their obligations.

However, if your country doesn’t have this in law, some credit card providers offer it anyway as part of their customer service. American Express is well known for going above and beyond in these situations.

When we book our trips abroad such, we always book them on a credit card to make sure we are somewhat covered in these eventualities.

Don’t forget to get a travel insurance to cover yourself and your family. This is especially important when organising your holiday independently.

For EU citizens, health insurance is somewhat covered in other member states as long as you have an European Health Insurance card.

A similar scheme applies in the UK for healthcare cover abroad. You can get a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) or a UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC). We both have the EHIC cards and thankfully haven’t had to use them.

Now when it comes to the conclusion, you will see it’s not a straight forward line. It mostly depends on your circumstances and specific situation.

It depends on your personal preferences, the type of holiday you are booking, the amount of time you have at hand and how confident you feel organising your own trip.

See below a summary of key things:

So the conclusion is that it really depends on your situation. You might self book when you want that extra fine granularity in your trip, otherwise a standard packaged holiday might do just fine.

As experienced travellers, we prefer to book our own trips and make our own holiday plans that work around our schedule and the time we have. If you are like us, you may find our article on how to plan a trip useful.

Remember, booking on your own also means investing more time and doesn’t always pay dividends if you are fairly novice.

Since our trip to Punta Cana , we appreciate even more the benefits of a package holiday. We tend to book package holidays for our summer all-inclusive holidays, so we can fully relax knowing everything is done for us.

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:

  • Flights – we use flight aggregators such as Skyscanner and Google flights to find the best options. You can find more information about finding cheap flights here .
  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.
  • Transport – consider  Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.
  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide , Klook or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.
  • Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.
  • Internet abroad – with Airalo or Nomad you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.
  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.

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Are you trying to decide between package tours and independent travel? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each option so you can make an informed decision.

The Pros and Cons of Package Tours and Independent Travel

Are you planning a vacation and trying to decide between a package tour and independent travel? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to understand the differences between them before making a decision. A package tour is a vacation package that includes several travel elements such as flights, transfers, accommodation, etc. all bundled together at a discounted price. An independent traveler books each aspect of their trip separately, such as flights, hotels, and transportation.

When it comes to a world tour, there are three main types of tours: organized, independent, and accompanied. An organized tour is one in which you join a group of travelers and follow an itinerary set by the tour operator. An independent tour is when you travel alone and the tour operator only books your hotel. An accompanied tour is when you travel with a companion who helps you plan your trip and provides guidance along the way.

The main advantage of an independent tour is that it allows you to be free-spirited and explore on your own terms. You can decide what to do and where to go without having to follow an itinerary or be part of a group. However, this type of travel can be more expensive than a package tour since you have to book each aspect of your trip separately. A package tour offers the convenience of having everything arranged for you at a discounted price.

You don't have to worry about booking flights or hotels or finding transportation from one place to another. However, this type of travel can be restrictive since you have to follow an itinerary set by the tour operator. In some countries, a combination of independent trips and short organized trips is the best solution for having a tailor-made experience. Whether it's joining a group for a day trip or participating in a 25-day Silk Road tour, guided tours can be a really fun way to travel.

No matter which type of travel you choose, it's important to do your research before booking any trips or tours. Consider your budget, interests, and desired level of freedom when making your decision.

  • package tour
  • independent tour
  • organized tour
  • independent traveler
  • accompanied tour

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differentiate independent travel from package tour

  • Mo, 18.01.2021

Individual trip vs. package tour: these are the differences that you need to know!

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Two terms appear again and again in the media: package travel and individual travel. What did the two terms actually mean? What are the differences and what do you have to pay attention to? Aviation.Direct answers exactly these questions on this page and provides valuable tips that you should consider when booking your trip.

First of all, the most important tip:  Compare the prices! The internet is not always the place for the best prices. Sometimes you get a bargain at the travel agency around the corner or if you book directly at the hotel (for example by telephone) they have a great deal for you.

Travel completely individually

As the name suggests, individual trips are trips that you put together and book yourself. You book your flight with an airline, if you want yours  Rental car  with one of the many providers, your hotel directly in the accommodation or via a booking platform and, if necessary, transfers or tickets directly from the service provider or via an agent.

The advantage of individual trips is of course that you can choose and book every detail yourself. You can get hold of the cheapest airline tickets and are absolutely free to put together the building blocks of your trip. You can save a lot of money compared to a package tour, but sometimes you can also pay heavily, because the organizers often have very good contracts with airlines and hotels. It depends on the individual case, so you should definitely compare the prices.

However, individual trips also have a decisive disadvantage: You have no insolvency protection. If the airline or hotel you booked goes bankrupt, your money can be gone. If you book within 24 hours of purchasing the ticket via the airline's links, this can result in a connected travel service, which must then be insured against insolvency in accordance with the package travel guidelines. Pay close attention to the small print as there are hooks and eyes.

Especially in times of Corona there are valuable tips that you should consider when putting together an individual trip:

  • Check whether you are allowed to enter the country at all.
  • Keep an eye on the current situation in the destination country, but also bear in mind that the government of your home country could declare your holiday destination a risk region and you may have to be quarantined after your return.
  • If possible, book a rebookable or, even better, a refundable rate with the airline. Sometimes it is more expensive, but you are on the safe side if you cannot travel at short notice due to COVID measures.
  • Only reserve rooms in the hotel that you can cancel shortly before you travel. If possible, choose the payment at the hotel option.
  • Reserve services such as rental cars, tickets or transfers just before you start your journey. Don't worry, you will get a rental car. If possible, do not pay a deposit for rental cars, but book tariffs with payment on site. More tips on rental cars at  this link .
  • Make sure that you have all the documents you need for entry and, if necessary, QR codes with you. Otherwise you run the risk that your vacation will end at the airport and the airline will refuse you transport or you will be refused entry in the destination country.
  • If you want to take out travel insurance, please find out exactly what is actually covered and under which circumstances the insurer is completely free of benefits. This can be the case with travel warnings of the highest levels. Have your most important questions answered in writing or by email before you close.

Travel all-inclusive and get everything from a single source

It is a little different with package tours because you buy your trip from a single source and only have one contractual partner. At the same time, you benefit from the fact that your money is protected in the event of the organizer's bankruptcy.

One of the biggest advantages of package tours is that there are extensive legal regulations. These are quite consumer-friendly. Your money is - as mentioned - secured and under certain circumstances you can withdraw and get your deposit back. There is also the possibility that you can subsequently assert various travel deficiencies and request a price reduction. Especially in times of Corona, the package tour is the better choice, because you can invoke your rights at home, have only one contact person and do not have to deal with many individual service providers and local law. More details  here .

The main disadvantage, however, is that the trip cannot be put together quite so individually. However, many organizers offer attractive modules and no one prevents you from organizing excursions or tickets yourself. Please note, however, that if you book through your organizer, there is cover, what you book elsewhere is not covered.

With package tours, it makes no difference at all whether you book at the travel agency around the corner, through an internet broker or directly with the tour operator via the web or by telephone. Your rights remain the same. Tip: Compare prices and don't think that everything is always cheaper on the internet. Especially when it comes to package tours, the good old travel agency around the corner often has the cheapest offer for you and that has another advantage for you: you have a personal contact who you can turn to if you have any problems.

Pay attention to the following points when booking package tours, especially in times of Corona:

  • Check if you are allowed to enter the country and keep an eye on the situation. Also make sure that your home country declares the holiday region a risk area and that you may have to be in quarantine when you return.
  • Don't cancel too early! Only shortly before departure (about a week in advance) can you object to the  free withdrawal with full refund  can claim. Before that, it can happen to you that you have to pay hefty cancellation fees.
  • Make the final payment shortly before your departure. In order to avoid any reminder fees, explain your reasons for this to the organizer. Preferably in writing by registered mail.
  • Always compare prices. The travel agency around the corner could be cheaper than online providers.
  • Do not buy any travel insurance that is offered to you immediately! Compare the prices and services and please find out exactly what is actually covered and under which circumstances the insurer is completely free of services. This can be the case with travel warnings of the highest levels. Get answers to your most important questions in writing or by email before closing.
  • Make sure you get your security certificate from the organizer, agent or travel agency. On this you will find important data on how you can get your money in the event of bankruptcy.
  • Be sure to read the cancellation clauses and the costs due in the event of cancellation. Some organizers have very customer-friendly conditions, others more like gag contracts.

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Package Tours Versus Independent Travel: Which One is For You?

March 22, 2018

Dalaguete Beach

Over the past few years, I get a lot of questions on whether I prefer package tours over DIY traveling. It’s a difficult question to answer, because the answer is always a case to case basis.

Though most of the traveling I share on my blog are independent traveling, my first overseas travel was actually one organized by my parents when I was just 17 years old. Everything was arranged by a travel agency, and my sister and I just had to join tour groups to make sure we wouldn’t get lost in Hong Kong. It was convenient, and for a minor, it was the safest mode of touring.

Since I started organizing my own trip, booking my own flights, and making my own hotel reservations, I enjoyed planning my travels so much that I usually plan everything myself without joining any tours.

But still, I am always careful when answering this question because there are different types of travelers. There are no ideal traveler and no wrong way to travel. There’s just finding what suits your needs and wants as a tourist, or a traveler, if you’d prefer being referred to that way.

So, what really is it? What’s the better way to travel?

Consider getting a package tour

If you’re traveling with your parents and kids..

It’s hard to move around in large groups, especially if some members of your group aren’t into walking. If you’re with your parents or grandparents, joining a tour, private or not, is the best way to ensure that they will enjoy it. Kids have all the energy to explore a city, but if you don’t want any of your younger cousins missing by the end of Day 2, maybe joining a tour is necessary.

If it can make traveling more convenient for you.

It’s understandable if you want your travels to be as comfortable as possible and that can only be achieved through booking the best hotels and choosing package tours over independent travel. When visiting local areas, you’ll probably find it difficult to commute due to the numerous jeepney and tricycle transfers. It’s definitely more convenient if everything has already been laid out instead of worrying how to get from point A to point B once you get there.

Just imagine ignoring all the packages you can easily book beforehand and instead, opting to book a hotel yourself, arranging for the transportation, plotting the itinerary, and only looking for island hopping tours once you get there. You might end up spending more than necessary, not just on money but on time, too. Be it in Puerto Princesa, Coron, or El Nido, there are tons of Palawan packages to choose from , and it’s only up to you to choose one that best suits you.

If it’s cheaper to join a group tour than doing your itinerary.

There are times when the price of a group tour is overwhelming, but when you compute for your overall budget, you’ll be surprised how it can still be cheaper. Groups and agencies organizing tours often get discounts that’s why they can still offer affordable travel packages.

If you want to see more attractions at a shorter period of time.

One of the complaints about package tours is how it tries to fit in too many attractions in a day. But if you’re visiting a place for the first time without knowing when you’ll be back, it’s only understandable that you want see as many sights as you possibly can. Package tours make sure that the best spots are covered. It also follows a schedule so you can visit everything before sunset. I definitely didn’t regret joining a group tour when I went to Baler , because it allowed my friends and I to save more and see everything.

If you’re traveling solo.

I haven’t tried traveling solo, and I plan to. The thought alone is scary, but joining organized tours make it less so since I’ll be joining other travelers and the trip will be organized by experienced folks. Besides, traveling becomes less expensive if you split the bill with someone, but you won’t have anyone when you travel alone. Joining tours can help you cut down the cost.

Some would argue that package tours are not flexible. However, some travel agencies actually allow you to customize the travel package. Also, I believe most package tours allow free time, especially at night, so you can still squeeze in whatever you want to do that the package cannot cover.

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Hunting down filming locations in Taipei, Taiwan

Go for independent travel

If you care more about the journey than the destination..

When DIY traveling, you’ll spend a lot of time figuring out how to get from one place to another. You’ll also need to strictly follow bus schedules and arrange for a private transportation when a public one isn’t possible wherever you’re going. There’s a chance that you’ll spend more time on the road, asking for directions and looking at the map, than on the actual destination itself. But if you do not mind getting lost and you enjoy the thrill of finding what you’re looking for, then DIY travel might really be for you.

If you don’t care for touristy places.

Most package tours focus on the most popular attractions of a place, but if you’d rather visit hole-in-the-wall restaurants or obscure galleries, then you can try creating your own itinerary. The top attractions are at the top for a reason, and I try to visit those that really peak my interest. But there are times when my priority isn’t included in the list of most recommended spots and joining a package tour would only make me miss out on what I’d rather do.

If you want to spend more time at a certain place.

Independent traveling allows you to focus your time on the places you want to visit the most. Want to spend an entire afternoon just sitting at an outdoor cafe and soaking in the culture? Want to waste an entire day just walking around with no specific place in mind and not restricted by time? Then that’s possible, too. DIY travels allow you more freedom to whatever you want, even hunting down filming locations of your favorite dramas and movies, which I often do.

If you don’t like traveling in groups.

Private travel tours can be pretty pricey, and majority of the travel packages lump you in with other tourists. You’ll be traveling in groups anywhere you go, and if this doesn’t fly with you, then it’s best to skip package tours.

If you enjoy planning everything yourself.

Organizing your own travel can be stressful and frustrating, especially when you cannot find everything you need online. However, it also has its own perks. I personally enjoy it, and I also like sharing the travel itineraries in the blog. However, I have to admit that it can be pretty challenging if you do it locally, due to the scarcity of information sometimes. But there are tons of guides you can find online, and there are also other travelers and bloggers willing to help you.

Independent traveling can be stressful, especially when you have to do everything by yourself. But it’s exciting and you have more liberty to do the things you actually want.

Final Verdict

It all depends on what you want to accomplish when you travel. Be it DIY traveling or joining group tours, traveling always has something in store for you that no itinerary can ever cover. Before traveling, weigh your options first, study your expenses, and consider the people you’re traveling with. All of these matter when you plan your travels.

I hope this post helped you decide whether to approach a travel agency or plan your trip yourself.

So, which one is your preferred mode of traveling? Sound off in the comment section below. I would love to hear your stories.

Taejongdae, Busan

Pretending to be lost in Taejongdae, Busan

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April 11, 2018 at 1:51 AM

This has always been an interesting. Personally, I prefer joining private tours when travelling in the Philippines and going DIY when it’s an international trip! Haha.

xx, Richel V. | Richel Goes Places

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April 11, 2018 at 10:04 AM

Oh, same! 🙂 It’s so much easier and cheaper to join private tours locally. 😀

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Package Holiday vs Independent Travel

differentiate independent travel from package tour

If Hamlet was an enthusiastic traveller instead of a king’s son, the big questions he would most probably struggle with all the time would be whether or not a package holiday or an independent travel is a better choice, instead of the ever so popular: “To be or not to be?”. Well, Hamlet was probably a person with many different interests, but in a century with not necessarily the best infrastructural connections between different holiday spots around the world it would be almost impossible to be a big fan of travelling and tourism exactly. However, time has changed, gone are the days when people used to ride horses to get to the store and buy milk and bread and thanks to the revolutionary modern concepts of iron birds flying the sky and helping you reach your dream holiday destination, in recent time we have the unique and amazing opportunity to see and enjoy as much of the world as our budget allows us.

With the many opportunities and chances for travelling comes the ever so difficult decision-making process. And to be honest, one of the hardest choices you need to make when planning your next holiday is the choice between a package holiday and an independent travel. Today we have gathered you all to discuss both options exactly, so make sure to keep reading and stay tuned for a few pros and cons!

So, let’s be as real as it gets, planning a holiday is one of the most stressful and intimidating things you can do with your weekend, however it is a necessity you cannot escape from. Even if you are working with a travel agent that will save you a lot of time, energy and damaged nerves, there are still many decisions to be made and many things to be considered before the heavenly moment of finally reaching to your amazing accommodation abroad and enjoy the next couple of weeks by the pool, on the beach, or wandering around the streets of a beautiful city. There is a ton of information and tips and tricks online to advise you throughout the process of travel planning and tourism decision making,

There is a ton of information and tips and tricks online to advise you throughout the process of travel planning and tourism decision making, however, these are usually not so much of a big help, because at the end of the day, it is yours and yours only, unique and special holiday and you want it exactly the way you will enjoy it and make the most of it. So when it comes to holiday planning, it is pretty much safe to say that this process is as individual as the holiday itself. Everyone experiences it in a different way and everyone have their own different requirements, needs and desires. But no matter who you are and what you want, there is one certain thing – before you even start to plan in details, there are a thousand questions to be asked! Normally, the majority of the questions will be focused on how to get the best deal! And this is exactly where the idea of package holiday starts to sound very appealing to you. So let’s have a look!

Why Choose A Package Holiday?

It is normally the easiest, most stressless and secure way to organise and plan a holiday, indeed. Everything is pre-organised and already decided how it would be – where you are going to sleep, how you are going to travel, what you are going to eat, etc. Additionally, if you are booking a package holiday, you are most likely to work with a specialist or travel agent that will organise everything for you and make sure that everything will be ok, plus they will answer all of your questions linked to the holiday and to the place you are going to visit, everything during the process and afterwards. They will also take care of your travel insurance and all other details, take care of any extras like car hire or airport transfers, etc.

In fact, for some destinations, the holiday package may turn out to be cheaper and you might end up getting more things and advantages at a lower price than if you organise your holiday yourself. So, all in all, a package holiday might sometimes turn out to be a better deal. Many travel agents will often offer vast discounts, especially if you are flexible with your time and you can consider a last-minute departure.

When it comes to travelling with children, package holidays are usually the best choice possible. Not that everything is already pre-organised for you and your family and you can make the most from your holiday, even when travelling with children and spend some quality relaxing time. Additionally, when it comes to pre-organised holidays and travelling, children often can benefit from very good discounts.

Why Choose An Independent Travel?

What is the main advantage of independent travel and planning your holiday yourself? Yep, you guessed it right – FREEDOM! There is nothing better than knowing that you are in charge of everything your holiday has to do with, starting from accommodation to the all additional places you are going to visit and enjoy, what you are going to experience, what you are going to eat, you can practically meet all your requirements, expectations, needs and desires. Independent travelling and holiday planning allow you the great freedom and opportunity to spend your holiday exactly the way you want it and you are not limited by the pre-planned experience of the holiday packages. Independent travelling allows you the flexibility in time, experience and even a budget.

You can choose to spend less money on accommodation and more money on higher class travelling, or vice versa. You can also take your time, make a really good (and time-consuming, to be honest) research, so you can get the best transport and accommodation deals in the time slot you are comfortable with travelling. In general, independent holiday planning could be a very rewarding experience, although often pretty stressful and tiring, and usually, allows you the opportunity to save money. So if you are a traveller on a budget, independent travelling is probably going to be the best option for you, also if you are a traveller that does not want to be limited by pre-planned holiday packages and so on. So, how do you book your holiday? Make sure to share in the comments section below.

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Group tour vs independent travel: Which is better for your trip?

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The eternal question for both travel newbies and travel pros. Group tour vs independent travel?

There are so many ways to go about international travel, and sometimes, it’s hard to know which style is going to be best for you.

While many budget travellers will jump to say independent travel is the better (and cheaper) option, I’m going out on a limb to say that isn’t always the case!

As someone who has completed five group tours, and also travelled independently for many months worth of travel, I’d like to give you my recommendations for both options. I’ve put together a list of FAQs about tours vs independent travel to assist you in making the right choice for your next trip.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Is one option cheaper than the other?

Group tours are usually going to be a tad more expensive than independent travel, however, there are certain things you should consider when comparing prices:

Tours will save you a lot (and I mean, a lot!) of time researching your destination. A tour will have your transport, accommodation, some of your sightseeing, and even restaurants lined up for you. If you don’t want to spend countless hours before and during your trip comparing options and booking all these things, then this might be worth paying a little extra for.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

In what situations should you take a tour?

  • If you want to see a particular country but don’t know where exactly you should visit. Tour companies will have picked out all the best bits for you! This is what I did in Mexico , when I didn’t have much of an idea where to go or how to get between cities.
  • If you don’t speak the local language, and are nervous about making own your way around.
  • If you want to see loads of destinations in a short amount of time
  • If you’re travelling solo and are keen to make friends on your trip (I met some of my best friends while travelling on group tours).
  • If you’re intimidated by the thought of researching everything about your destination.

The best thing I find about group tours is that you can relax about things like booking buses and trains, accommodation, or finding public transport. Having someone else do all the hard work for you is super convenient.

Bruges, Belgium

In what situations should you travel independently?

  • If you’re travelling through relatively ‘safe’ English-speaking countries (I really hate using that term but it’s kind of the best way to explain this!) such as England, USA, Singapore, Australia, etc.
  • If you’d like to travel at a slow pace.
  • If you want flexibility in the destinations you visit, or want to visit some places off the beaten track.
  • If you like having your own space and don’t like socialising every second of the day (hello, fellow introvert!).
  • If you’re really keen on researching everything there is to know about travelling to your destination.

What I enjoy most about independent travel is that there’s no pressure to do things too fast or to see things you don’t want to see. You’re in total control, so if you want a day of lazing about in the sun instead of sightseeing, no-one will stop you.

Contiki tour at Mt Rushmore, USA

If you go with a tour, which company do you choose?

Be careful to choose a tour company that’s the right fit for you. Many tour companies are geared towards specific age groups, so if you’re a young backpacker, then choosing a tour with a bunch of retirees is probably going to make you feel out of place.

And if you have a specific style of travel in mind (adventure, budget, luxury, active, etc), tour companies usually offer a range of travel styles. You can choose anything from the most basic of hostels with no included meals, to a life of luxury with every single extra included. The price of the tour will often reflect your inclusions.

The companies I have previously travelled with are Contiki , Intrepid Travel , and G Adventures .

Street food, Prague

Anything else to consider?

If you choose a budget tour , your daily spending money will probably be a little higher than you might expect. In Mexico we had no included meals on our tour, which was fine – except that everyone went out together to eat at restaurants most evenings and we felt obliged to join. If we were travelling by ourselves, we would probably eat more cheaply by purchasing street food or getting ingredients from grocery stores.

Independent travel requires a lot of patience . There will be times when you’re waiting on a seemingly non-existent bus to arrive, or trying to communicate that you want no egg in your meal only to have the waiter have no idea what you’re talking about. It can be frustrating, so keep an open mind!

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24 comments

Yes! I love independent travel, but I also do love group tours, for all the reasons you suggest. But the social aspect is a particularly strong one. I find it’s good to mix up tours with independent travel, to get a mix of socialising / solitude. I also find it’s useful when planning independent trips to look at tour itineraries – as a basis for planning my own destinations.

http://www.secondhandhedgehog.com

Ooh that’s a great tip Katie, I often look at tour itineraries to get ideas on where I should go, even if I’m not going to do the tour 😉 I think you’re right, a mix of both tours and independent travel is a good choice as you get the best of both worlds!

I tend to stick to mostly independent solo travel – in saying that I haven’t really been anywhere yet that I felt nervous about going it alone, and haven’t been familiar with the language. When I get to SE Asia, and South America (hopefully soon!!) I think I’ll look into the group tours 🙂

South America is probably a good place to start with tours. I did most of it independently but boy did it get confusing at times! I’m really glad I did the tour through Mexico, mostly so that we had a translator and someone to organise transport, which might have been difficult to organise ourselves!

We really just do tours when we “have” to – for example in Galapagos. I love trip planning but I get your point that time = money, and a lot of people get overwhelmed in making their own trip. I also totally use tour itineraries or Tripadvisor to get ideas. Group tours are great for socializing, but you also get a lot of confidence and skills (including improving language!) from “solo” travel. We spoke zero Spanish (seriously, zero!) before our 3 months backpacking South America. Got a lot of good skills on the way. Wasn’t always easy though and I know it’s not everyone’s preference!

I think it really just depends on how confident you are in researching and planning, so someone like you would have no trouble with organising independent travel! I’m often the same, except there have been instances where I just don’t have the time or patience for planning and it’s so much easier to just book yourself on a tour.

I agree on your last point Jen, independent travel through difficult areas gives you some crucial survival skills for travel, and makes you confident to do more of it in the future!

I definitely had way better experiences on group tours when I was traveling solo than I did traveling independently. There are just certain travel experiences that are so much more fun with other people!

I agree, some of the best times I’ve had while travelling have been solo on group tours – the social aspect is something you can’t beat!

This is a great post idea! I often find myself wondering if I should do a tour and recently took the opportunity to do so in India. Definitely a good option as we probably would have missed out on some of our favourite sights! X

That’s one of the best things about group tours I think – you do get to see a bunch of cool things that you might never have seen if travelling independently!

This is such a subjective topic which you have explored brilliantly.

We stick to solo travel, primarily due to the costs involved with tours, however in certain instances, like climbing Kilimanjaro, we made sure we were with a tour. Otherwise, i highly doubt we’d be writing this comment!

There are definitely situations where group tours are the superior option, climbing Kilimanjaro would absolutely be one of them! We did the same for the Inca Trail, it just wouldn’t have been as good of an experience if we hadn’t have done it on a tour.

Cool post! I am actually headed on my first group tour next week to Morocco with top deck travel. I usually travel solo or with a close friend or loved one, so am definitely excited to arrive in Morocco not knowing anyone and then travel in a group with other people for 10 days. Should be fun!

Nikki http://www.thepinthemapproject.com

I’m sure you’ll love it, Nikki! Topdeck are supposed to be a great company to travel with, let me know what you thought of them after the tour (and what you thought of Morocco too)!

First off, such a pleasure to have met you last night Ashlea! It was really cool to talk share our stories and refreshing to talk about the time = money factor. Sometimes the time budget out weights the financial budget. As far as group/independent travel goes I like both! I enjoy traveling on my own and occasionally mixing in a small group tour as I like not only the social aspects of a group but also listening to passionate tour guide share their knowledge. Again pleasure meeting you!

It was a pleasure meeting you too, Rebeca! So glad we could have a deep chat about time = money, it’s not often that people in the travel industry have similar views to us in that regard!

Seems like you and I have very similar travel styles, I also think a mix of both is a great way to travel as you get the best of both options 🙂

I am definitely a proponent of both! While I generally enjoy the feel of independent travel and exploring, I can certainly see the benefit to being part of a tour. One of the benefits, if one so prefers, is the probability of transportation being included, and perhaps food as well, as you’ve mentioned in this post. In my upcoming trip, I’ve booked a tour from Auckland to Matamata in New Zealand. (Hobbiton Tours) Matamata is a 2 hour drive, and I considered driving, but then the idea of relaxing and enjoying the views along the way appealed to me. As you suggested on my Instagram (generallysolotraveler), I shall be going to Mt Wellington in Hobart, and I shall be doing that by tour as well. You also brought a really good point about potential language barriers. This upcoming trip of mine ends also includes Beijing, so I would agree that booking a tour to The Great Wall of China can certainly alleviate the potential headache of not being able to communicate. Excellent post! Sorry for the long comment! 🙂

I’m so glad you agree, Henry! There are definitely times when a tour would be better than independent travel, and it really depends on the person and what kind of experience they want to have. I’m fairly tired of people saying that independent travel is always better, because even though it is a great way to travel, that’s not always the case!

Absolutely! You’ve perfectly made a case for both. They each have their merits. There’s always pros and cons to everything. It’s all situational really. It’s like when people debate about doing “touristy” activities versus exploring the “not so well known” activities and places. I think they’re both great. I loved seeing Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Stonehenge, and more in London, but certainly also enjoyed just walking the streets and exploring the local neighborhoods, their shops and their pubs. I couldn’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre (which I did ;-)), they’re amazing sights, and I can understand why they’re so sought after by travelers. That being said, just walking around and eating escargot at a cafe across the street from my hotel was an equally enjoyable, and relaxing, experience. Keep the awesome posts coming!!

You hit the nail on the head with your comment, Henry! There is not one way to travel that is better than the other, it really all depends on the person, the situation, the climate, everything. You can have a good experience on a tour and you can have a good experience travelling independently, just like you can have fun seeing the major attractions vs wandering off the beaten path.

Glad you’re enjoying the posts! 😀

Great post! I used to travel with my friends or travel in a group. However, I haven’t tried travel alone. I am not kind of person. However, I should try once in my life. Thanks for sharing!

Be sure to check out Sleeper Scarf for your next trip http://www.SleeperScarf.com

It’s great that you mentioned how group tours are a great option to travel. My girlfriend and I have a few days of vacation, and we’re planning what to do. We want to visit another town or state, and we were considering joining a group tour, but we weren’t sure about it. After reading your article, we think it might be a good option for us. Plus, we like that we don’t need to worry about planning what or where to visit. We appreciate your information about the benefits of group traveling.

Well, that cleared my mind for Russia 🙂

It’s nice that you talked about how you should take a tour if you want to see loads of destinations in a short amount of time. My friends and I are planning to go on a trip next month and we want to make sure that we’ll see a lot of things during that trip. So for that, we are thinking of taking a multi-country group tour.

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Guided Tours vs Independent Travel

Planning a trip can be fun, but it can also be stressful. There’s a lot to consider – what to see, how much to spend, and the amount of time to stay in one place. So do you choose to do a guided tour and have a fairly relaxed trip knowing that everything has been pre-arranged, or do you elect to plan your own travel – which can be cheaper but take more time to arrange?

Guided tours certainly have their place in the world of backpacking – if you’re short on time, guided tours mean that you can cram in plenty of adventure and culture in just a few days. Tours are also a great way to meet other solo backpackers and spend your time with them.

Independent travel on the other hand can be significantly cheaper, so if you have plenty of time but not much money this might be the better choice for you. Most long-term backpackers are advocates of independent travel but it’s important to note that many backpacker veterans actually started their trips with guided tours, to develop a good foundation in the world of backpacking.

Tour group

What’s in this Guide

1. The Advantages of a Guided Tour 2. The Disadvantages of Guided Tours 3. The Advantages of Going Alone 4. The Disadvantages of Going Alone 5. What’s Best For Me? 6. How to Pick a Great Tour

1. The Advantages of a Guided Tour

Get the inside scoop.

In general, tour leaders are a knowledgeable, fun bunch who know your destination back to front and are able to help ease you in with plenty of fun facts, top tips, and amusing tales. Your tour leader will most likely have taken this tour before, so you’ll also have a lot of inside scoop on some of the best spots in town.

There is definitely safety in numbers and when it comes to traveling the world it doesn’t get much safer than arranging a guided tour with an experienced tour leader.

Instant friends

You should have a great group of like-minded backpackers to travel with. Particularly if you are backpacking alone, it can be fun to share your experiences with people who are interested in seeing and doing a lot of the same things as you.

Convenience

Having everything arranged for you means you don’t have to worry about bus schedules or which hostel to stay in.

Budgeting & payments

You typically know how much your trip will cost up-front and will pay this prior to leaving. Obviously, you will need to factor in any out-of-pocket costs like meals, souvenirs, or activities that are not included in the price of your tour.

In-country partnerships

Your tour company will have partnered with local specialists to provide the best possible adventures, which takes the headache out of choosing a rafting company at random. Many tour companies emphasize responsible tourism, choosing businesses to support the local economy.

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities

There are some places around the world that are logistically impossible to reach without the help of a guided tour. Whether you’re interested in trekking to a remote location or somewhere with travel restrictions, some things are difficult – if not virtually impossible – to be explored independently.

2. The Disadvantages of Guided Tours

There’s no denying it, even budget guided tours are going to cost more than independent travel. Some guided tours can be extremely expensive so be sure to shop around.

Group dynamics

If you don’t like the people in your group, there’s not much you can do about it. If a large group of friends signs up together that you haven’t met before, you could feel like an outsider.

Limited flexibility

Guided tours tend to try and “pack it in,” which means you might feel like you are constantly being rushed from one attraction to the next.

Set activities

The cost of your tour will cover set activities and meals. If you’re not keen to go horse-riding up a mountainside then no problem, you don’t have to do it, but sometimes these expenses can make their way into your tour costs.

You might not leave your comfort zone

One of the best ways to get to the heart of a place is to get lost, screw up a restaurant order, and have a laugh with the locals. On a guided tour, you are less likely to have to take the initiative and may miss out on a truly wonderful self-learning experience.

3. The Advantages of Going Alone

Flexibility.

Independent travel is considerably cheaper than going on a guided tour and will enable you to stretch your budget further and travel longer. Most activities provided on a guided tour can be arranged in-country for cheaper so you won’t necessarily miss out on much by organizing everything yourself.

To make your independent travel even more convenient, find a car hire service in your location like Rental24.co.uk . This will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems off the beaten path.

Independent travel is the ultimate freedom. You get up when you want, you go where you want, and you do what you want. If you find somewhere or someone, you like and fancy sticking around for a few weeks then you can; you don’t need to worry about sticking to a timeline.

Pick your travel buddies

It can be relatively easy to make friends while traveling solo and you can meet more people as you make your way through your trip. You’re not stuck with the same people for a set period of time.

Independent travel is a challenge but, like any challenge, it comes with its rewards. Backpackers who hit the road by themselves and dive headfirst into the whirlwind of organizing everything on their own will quickly acquire great time management, haggling, and language skills. Independent travel can be the ultimate confidence booster.

Cultural immersion

Independent travelers have a better chance to meet with locals. Whether it’s haggling with a taxi driver, shopping at the local night markets, or discussing Buddhism with orange-robed monks, your chances of getting a feel for the local culture are greatly improved.

4. The Disadvantages of Going Alone

It can be tiring.

Organizing absolutely everything by yourself can prove exhausting. There are only so many times in one day you are going to have the mental energy to haggle for Tuk Tuks or use your bad Vietnamese to try and order a vegetarian option.

You need to be self-reliant

If you get sick while traveling and you are on your own, it can really suck. People you meet in dorms are likely to be friendly to you but nobody is going to take time out of their day to look after someone they have just met.

It’s more dangerous

Independent travel has an added element of risk – if something does go wrong you are going to have to deal with the consequences yourself.

You may get lonely

You may also find yourself being a bit lonely; sometimes a couple of days can pass where you won’t really meet anybody and if you are a little shy it can sometimes be hard to wander up to new groups of people every day.

5. What’s Best For Me?

Choosing between a guided tour and traveling alone is a very personal choice, so it is a good idea to ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you limited in time?
  • Do you like spending time alone?
  • Is personal space important to you?
  • Can you share a room with a stranger?
  • How about sharing a dorm with seven strangers?
  • Do you have a set weekly budget?
  • Is there something you want to see which is only possible with a guided tour?
  • Are you worried about arranging transport by yourself?
  • Is this your first trip?
  • How safe are the destinations you are visiting?

A balanced approach

If you’re a first-time backpacker, consider signing up for a short guided tour followed by some independent travel afterward. Being on a guided tour will give you the confidence and know-how you need to properly explore an area by yourself once the tour has ended. You could also meet people on the guided tour who are in the same situation as you and are keen to find a travel buddy for further adventures once the tour is over.

There are a huge range of tour companies out there, so it’s important to find the right one for you. Tours focus on everything from partying to birdwatching. If you’re a social butterfly, interested in having someone else be in the driver’s seat, consider signing up for a tour from a company aimed specifically at first-time backpackers.

There is no “right” approach as both independent travel and guided tours have their merits. While most seasoned backpackers end up gravitating towards solo travel as it’s ultimately cheaper and more flexible, guided tours are an excellent introduction for first-time backpackers and enable even the most well-trodden adventurers to reach destinations such as the Darien Gap or Antarctica, which would otherwise be impossible to visit.

6. How to Pick a Great Tour

To assure you don’t waste your money or time and have an awesome time on your trip, keep in mind the following details when picking an escorted tour.

Look for sustainability

When picking from the seemingly countless number of tour operators, you should pay close attention to the reputation a company has for supporting sustainable travel. What does this mean? It means the company supports the local community, offers eco-friendly options and provides you with a more realistic view of the destination. Why? This will give you the opportunity to have a more authentic, local experience, which will cut out some of the negatives mentioned above. It also means that you will be a more responsible traveler, less likely to have a negative impact on the place you are only passing through, but where people call home.

Find something that meets your personality

You should also find a company that caters to people just like you! There are options for every personality and every taste. Look around to find something that makes you say “that’s me!” There is definitely that option out there if you just take the time to look!

Look for flexibility

The way to get the best of both worlds, to have a planned trip, but also have some freedom to explore on your own, is to pick a company that does not have a strict set schedule 24 hours a day. Many companies offer a sort of flex deal, which allows you free days, or at least long hours, to explore.

Don’t be limited by geography

Group travel gives you the opportunity to safely travel to parts of the world you may be overwhelmed to go to on your own. Take advantage of this and explore all corners of the world. Look for escorted tours in places where you may feel uncomfortable going by yourself or that may be a bit difficult to get to without the help of professionals.

We recommend you check the guided tour packages that Indus Travel provides. As a reputable travel company, they offer safe and well-organized Israel tours , as well as great tours to India, Morocco, Egypt, and many more destinations that many people feel are not safe to visit on their own.

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Independent Travel vs Organized Tours? The Pros and Cons

Algeria, 4x4 tour in the desert - Cover

When it comes to travel, there’s no “right or wrong”. Travel is personal: it depends on our education, environment, and personality. Not to speak about how much our travel decisions are driven by our budget and how much time we have. Our travel style tells a lot about us.

A lot of people ask me about independent travel vs organized tours, and look for advice on what they should do. The truth is that there’s not a definitive answer. There are pros and cons in both independent travel and organized tours.

4x4 Rearview Mirror

For as long as I can remember, I embraced independent travel. Unsurprisingly, I became a solo traveler and I’ve been traveling alone for more than 20 years. Friends and family have often wondered how I could leave for a solo trip in South Africa with no plans except the first two days in Johannesburg, or travel as a solo female and no plans in Pakistan .

I’m not the one choosing or rejecting a destination after wondering and pondering on the possible dangers. I believe that the way ‘ dangerous places’ are defined is mostly a matter of perception and with a very few exceptions, the only reason I don’t visit a country is that it’s not on the top of my wishlist at that moment.

Venezuela 4x4 Tour in Gran Sabana

I reckon that I’m too much of a free spirit, and organized tours make me feel like a wild animal in a cage. Still, there are pros and cons to both independent travel and group tours and the choice depends on what we are looking for from a trip as well as on the context.

The perks of independent travel…

It’s all in one word: freedom. When you travel on your own:

» you can do what you want

» you can decide your own pace

» anytime, you can change plans, staying longer in place you love, shortening your stay if you’ve had enough, and you can modify your itinerary upon your inspiration or valuable recommendations by other travelers. Freedom and spontaneity are invaluable to me, but we are not all the same and since traveling should be a pleasure, there would be no point in doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Japan, Boat in Kurashiki

… and the downsides

Every rose has its thorns, and independent travel is no exception. Freedom comes at a price, and the main drawbacks are that:

» you must do all the background research and planning by yourself (which is time-consuming although it can be fun and part of the pleasure)

» there’s no one to blame or to get a compensation from if anything goes wrong

» you will have to take care of any glitch that might arise.

There are indeed benefits in an organized tour

The majority of people don’t consider an organized tour as an option but as the only possible way to travel. They might not have the time to carefully plan a trip or feel scared to be alone, they might need company or feel uncomfortable because of the foreign language. The reason doesn’t matter.

Algeria, 4x4 tour in the desert

As much as I like to travel solo, there are situations where an organized tour is the best option . This typically happens under specific circumstances or in a few selected countries. So, when does a group tour come in handy?

» some regions cannot be visited without a guide or a tour. Whether it’s a 4×4 drive in the Algerian desert , a boat ride in Canaima National Park to see the Angel Falls or a journey in Yemen, you’ll have to rely on a tour operator, a local one if you are having an independent journey.

» if you look for special experiences, like a scuba diving liveaboard or a safari in the wild, or a visit to the townships in South Africa or in Brazil, you’re unlikely to go on your own

» at times, an organized tour is cheaper, especially if you’re a solo traveler. This is particularly true when the renting of a 4×4 vehicle is involved since the price for a single person would be exorbitant.

»  group tours are a perfect choice if like active travel and if you’re keen to meet like-minded people sharing your same passions. Whether you fancy a cycling tour in Cuba, Vietnam or up and down the hills of Tuscany, or if your dream is to hike to Machu Picchu and have an adventure in Peru , an organized trip with a leading tour operator like GAdventures or Intrepid Travel is likely the best decision you can make.

Sometimes, a package tour is your best bet

There are destinations where a package tour is cheaper, sometimes significantly.

If you are a winter sports aficionado, you’ll find great deals for al inclusive ski and snowboarding holidays, spending far less than you would do organizing your holiday independently, especially if you live far away from the mountains. The same if you wish to spend a relaxing week on the Red Sea or the Maldives.

Tour operators can rely on charter flights and volumes, providing offers at very competitive prices, especially in low or middle season.

Finding the balance between independent travel vs organized tours

Never give up on a destination because an independent journey seems difficult. You don’t need an organized tour to go hiking in the Andes or in Nepal. You’ll find plenty of local tour operators to rely on.

In the Alps, I usually go hiking alone , and overseas I arranged to go trekking with a private guide. I did it in Nepal, Peru, and in Pakistan. It was – at last at the time – affordable, and the best solution for me, since I wanted to decide my itinerary and walk at my (very slow) pace.

Peru, Hiking in the Andes

In some countries, a mix between independent travel and short organized tours is the best solution to have a tailor-made experience. Instead of buying a tour with everything fixed, no matter how interested you are in all activities, you decide where to go and what to do last minute, and build your own journey.

Are you an independent traveler or do you prefer organized tours? What are the pros and cons?

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. While the price for you doesn’t change, in case you buy something I’ll get a small commission helping me to run the website. Thank you!

simon-falvo

Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Content Creation. Besides travel writing Simon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

3 thoughts on “Independent Travel vs Organized Tours? The Pros and Cons”

I am glad I chose organised tours in Australia and SE Asia when travelling with my husband a few years ago. We had already driven in California and New Zealand under our own steam and while that was great, and yes we could stop somewhere longer if we chose to, the driver gets the short straw. Once settled in the Melbourne house sit, we decided to pre book tours for the rest of the trip, around our flights. One reason was to manage our travel budget, we knew that all our travel and accommodation costs would be covered. The other was to meet more travellers. All the tour leaders without exception were excellent. We got to meet people from all over the world and of all ages on the tours. The downside? I would have liked more time in some places and less in others, and we stayed in some pretty grotty hostels. On balance I loved being part of a small group, sharing experiences and in 5 seperate tours we only met one person that we could not get along with. The driver (my husband) was glad of the rest and being able to sit back and not have to concentrate on driving. Although I know he’d drive The Big Sur again in a heartbeat. In five months I think we got the balance just about right.

You’re making a good point, Coral, and I understand that in some cases a road trip can be a little stressful for the driver. I mostly travel solo, and hire a car very rarely. I go around by public transport, which is a fantastic way to see local life and to meet other independent travelers. There are plus and minus in both independent travel and organized tours. You made a mix of the two and it’s an interesting approach.

I always prefer independent. The downsides are few, but the pros are far too many. And you can be spontaneous.

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Uncategorized 4 comments europe guide , europe travel , globetrekker , indian traveler , package tour vs diy travel , package tour vs independent travel , wanderlust

Package Tour VS Independent Travel: What is most suitable for you?

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One of the really sad things in this world would be to die a virgin and precisely that was going to happen to my passport.  With the world against us spending a bomb on a ‘vides trip’, we totally had to rebel and initiate an independence movement. Yup! I do take wicked pleasure in exaggerating and glorifying! And as a very dear friend puts it, “First ‘Thappa’ on passport toh Europe ka hona chahiye!”. A lot of well wishers suggested going to Singapore since they felt traversing Europe with young kids would be difficult and Europe is best explored either solo or with a partner. (Both true btw!) There are a lot of fun things to do in Singapore for kids, plus, the trip would be half the cost of a Euro-trip!  But being stupid has its own perks. So, the destination was decided and the era of research begun.

First question was which tour operator do we pick!  Just like most Indian families we decided to go with a package tour and after a lot of research we went ahead and gave the booking amount to Cox and Kings.  The package cost was 1.18L for an adult and 1.10L for a kid, so total 4.6L for a family of four. 4 countries in 7 days in which practically two days would be spent on flying to and from the destination.  But itinerary sounded great! Action packed plan covering a lot of places in minimum time! Isn’t that exactly what we want? To see it all? To cross it off the bucket list? To naive-me it sounded just perfect!  

Accommodation

The process with cox and kings was going pretty smooth when one day they sent a indemnity letter for us to sign.  The letter was an eye-opener! It absolutely felt like the folks at Cox and Kings were poking fun at us! The indemnity letter basically told us that four of us would have to share a room and in Europe they are generally smaller in size so if it causes any discomfort, we won’t hold the company responsible.  Also, if due to fire regulations the hotel does not allow four people in one room, the company will not be accountable and we will have to pay extra money to get a room there. Well, I am sure with their vast experience, they were just covering their bases and this is all “just in case” scenario but when they are charging almost equal amount for adults and kids, why were we expected to be okay with the discomfort and share a room which mostly is going to be tiny! This is where we snapped and opted for Independent Travel or DIY Travel and thank God (and Cox & Kings) we did!

We booked all our stays with AirBNB (except for the one in Germany, where we stayed in a resort). Every house we stayed in had a hall/living room, a bedroom and fully equipped kitchen. Our AirBnB in Paris even had toys, books and Xbox which kids totally enjoyed and the one in Switzerland had a wood fired stove!  It was so much fun learning how to use it, plus the food tasted divine, “Pizza se leke maggie tak”! All this at 7k or less per night!

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Time Restrictions

We had read reviews where people complained that package tours are time bound and it leaves one really unsatisfied!  For example, people said they were given just 40 minutes to visit Eiffel Tower where you spend almost 20 minutes or more just in an elevator or in the lines to get into the elevator for going to the top and coming back! When you go to the summit, you would want to take in the view or may be have a glass of champagne along with the view too!  With the tickets to the summit you are also allowed to visit first and second levels of the tower and they are amazing in their own ways! During our trip we just loved the freedom we had. Waking up at our own time, travelling at our own pace, stopping over to smell the roses at countrysides (literally!), driving through the sleepy towns, eating at local food joints….Bliss!

Choice of places

While researching for our DIY Travel and comparing different package tour itineraries, I realized that what travel companies do is a bit unfair!  They take you to the places which are convenient to them, like places which are close by but in different countries or they take you to places with lesser value of tickets! Cox and Kings folks would take you to Mount Titlis while Jungfrau would be optional! Jungfrau being more beautiful but more expensive too! Here, we got to pick our places! Like instead of “The lion monument” or “Lake Lucerne” in Switzerland which was not so much of interest to us, we went to this absolute piece of paradise called Oeschinensee in Kandersteg ,  which you would never find in any package tour itineraries.  

differentiate independent travel from package tour

The day we visited Mt. Titlis, we met the hordes of people coming in with the tour operators. Travelling with a big groups sure would have its own advantages but God! The cacophony! Lines and queues of tourists wherever you go, including the restrooms! Wherever you try to click a picture, there is definitely someone unknowingly or knowingly photo-bombing! There are people who enjoy being in a big group and then there are who don’t.  We realized we belong to the second category. We absolutely loved the serenity and privacy we got during our stay. Plus, the pictures came out awesome! 😉

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Here is the deal-breaker: If you could survive on Pizza, Pasta and sandwiches, you are good to go but if you really need Indian food almost everyday then it would be a bit difficult for you. Going with the tour operator will makes it easy.  They make sure you get Indian meals throughout the trip, either in Indian restaurants or in packed boxes.

Unlike what people believe, food in Europe is not really expensive, provided you eat at right places. At touristy places even a water bottle will cost you as much as Mac Maharaja back home and with tour operators you obviously go to only the touristy places! So you will definitely find food and water expensive.  In stark contrast to that, we actually picked a large pizza (pack of 3) for 2 Euros from a store called Lidl in Germany! Don’t we pay ten times more for a pizza here? Key is to shop where locals do.

At all our AirBnBs, we had full fledged kitchen with all the basic stuff you need for cooking.  So, if you like cooking quick and simple Indian meals even then DIY trips would work for you.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

When you go for a package tour, they pick you up right from the doorstep of the hotel, drop you to the parking spot of the place you are visiting and drop you back to the doorstep of the hotel!  But when you do it yourself, you will have to use public transport a lot for going around. You will walk from your accommodation to the nearest metro/bus station and then after reaching the nearest station to the place you are visiting, you again will have to walk to the tourist spot and then do the same till you reach all the way back home!  So basically you end up walking A LOT! There is always an Uber available but it turns out to be very expensive. Hence, your fitness level is a crucial factor for the decision making.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Renting out a car is a great option for DIY tours.  We rented out an AUDI A6 Series for a week when we were visiting Germany and Switzerland. (Not showing off. Umm. Okay. Maybe a tiny bit.) And it was so awesome!  It made things super convenient! While in Paris and Rome, we were totally dependent on public transport. With crazy luggage and two crazy kids, we had one hell of an adventure using local bus, train, metro, cruises and cabs!

With package tour, you mostly are with people of your own country, eating your own food, guarded and guided, and then of course you visit the tourist spots and monuments.

With DIY tour you get to have an immersive experience.  You get more in contact with their people, eat their food, travel like locals, experience the culture plus visit the touristy places.  The most exciting part is that you are absolutely on your own in an unfamiliar land with just Google by your side, as your guide.

Verdict:  Package tours are absolutely perfect for people who want to check things off their list in lesser time, people who don’t enjoy doing research, people who cannot live without Indian food and most importantly they are perfect for senior citizens.  (My cousin’s in laws cannot stop raving about the 20 days UK-Europe trip they did in 7 L! They are extremely happy and satisfied with the tour operator’s services. And as they put it with a grin, “Life me sab dekh liya, Paris ka lido show bhi!” *Wink, wink*)

For the rest of us DIY tour is THE answer.

When you pick DIY tour, one thing you need to pack along with the essentials, is flexibility.  When you are in a country which is extremely different from yours and things are new, you will take time to figure out things and you are most likely to goof up! Which is absolutely okay! Consider it as a part of the whole deal, the adventure that you asked for when you picked a DIY travel and go with the flow! (We goofed up BIGTIME! Will blog about that super soon!)

To conclude, A major revelation was that it was not really about ticking things off our bucket list.  It never is. My favorite memories of the trip were not really visiting the Colosseum or the top of the Eiffel tower but it was that afternoon when we walked a mile to reach the surreal Oeschinensee lake in Kandersteg with absolutely no one around, eating a burger sitting under a huge rock looking at the majestic view!  Or that evening in Switzerland when we left kids in the house with their tablets and went out for a stroll on the immensely picturesque idyllic green hills.  No human around for miles. Just us. These are the moments you truly live for.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Wowww…… really really enticing experience and pictures are simply awesome 👌👌👌👌👌 Wish we soon plan one too on the above guidelines. Dying To have one like yours 😎 You guys are super adventurous 👍👍👍

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You totally should, Anjali! Thank you so much gal! :*

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Really nice description about real tour experience. I read very fast and enjoyed! Very true and practical things. Nice pictures…continue to write and go ahead…

Thank You Ketan Bhai! 😀

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Comparing Guided, Self-Guided, and Independent Travel

by Elizabeth Gorga - Last updated on March 1, 2023

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  • Before You Go

It’s nearly time for your next overseas trip and you’re daydreaming about the new places you’ll see, the new friends you’ll make, the new foods you’ll taste, and the stories you’ll be able to tell when you return home. Traveling can be full of adventure, curiosity, and laughter, but it can also be stressful when you’re in the planning stages.

person sitting in front of water and boats with buildings across the water in the distance

Finding your ideal type of travel is your ticket to seeing the world.

So, how do you decide between a guided tour vs. independent travel? From visas and flights to accommodation and sightseeing, the nitty gritty of traveling can be daunting. Luckily, there are many different options when it comes to traveling so you can create an experience that feels fun and exciting for you—whether you want to go solo or let someone else take care of the logistics for you.

With options to join guided travel tours, self-guided tours, or embark on independent travel, you can make your next overseas trip anything you desire it to be. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to planning your travels abroad. Ultimately, it depends on your personality and what kind of experience you’re after. If you’re stumped on how to get the most out of your next trip abroad, here you’ll find everything you need to know about a guided tour vs. independent travel .

What is a guided tour?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed when it comes to researching and planning your travels, guided tours can be a game-changer. So what is a guided tour? Guided travel tours are the most convenient way to travel—all you have to do is pay a fee to a tour company and they create the experience for you.

Most guided tours are all-inclusive, meaning everything is taken care of for you. They often provide a local guide who can teach you about local customs, an itinerary packed full of cultural experiences, and even pre-booked accommodation and food so all you have to do is show up. Guided tours usually target specific age groups too, so you have the opportunity to connect with other travelers and make friends easily.

3 pros of guided tours

1. it’s convenient..

There’s no arguing that guided travel tours are the most convenient way to travel. Your tour company will take care of all the logistics for you, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself without having to think about your next move. If you’re a first-time traveler , don’t speak the local language, or feel overwhelmed by the planning process, guided tours can relieve some of the pressure to create an easy, more enjoyable experience.

2. You’ll make friends easily.

three people jumping on snowy sidewalk

Lifelong friendships might just be a bonus to your guided tour package.

If you join an age-appropriate tour, the odds are, you’ll make friends fast . You won’t have to stress about putting yourself out there when you spend your days with the same group of people, exploring together, eating meals together, sharing the same accommodation. While it’s possible to make friends outside of a tour group, solo travelers often thrive on a guided tour because they never have to worry about feeling lonely.

3. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the culture.

When you’re exploring a new country with a local guide, you get a sneak peek into the culture that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Local guides will take you to all the right places, teach you fun facts about your destination you might not learn anywhere else, and fill you in on the basics when it comes to speaking the local language . Guided tours often cram a lot into a short period of time, too, which means you’ll get to visit some of the best places in your destination and see parts of the country you may not be able to see on your own.

3 cons of guided tours

1. it can be expensive..

Prices of guided travel tours vary, and most times they can be more expensive than traveling on your own. Ultimately, you don’t get to pick and choose your experience with a guided tour, meaning you pay for what the tour company organizes for you. If you don’t want to do everything that’s included in the tour or if you’d prefer to stay in budget accommodation , you may end up spending more on a tour than if you were to travel solo.

2. You’ll have less freedom.

While guided tours make travel feel easy, they take away the pleasure of going with the flow. You’ll need to stick to an itinerary that is often packed full with little time to relax and explore on your own. You won’t necessarily have the ability to wake up at your leisure, get lost in new cities, and stumble upon holes in the wall when you’re off on organized activities all day every day.

3. You may never leave your comfort zone.

When it comes to travel, there are endless opportunities to learn and expand your horizons . If one of your favorite parts of traveling is putting yourself out there, getting lost, making mistakes, and laughing with locals, guided tours may not be the most exciting experience for you. Guided tours are your comfort zone, and it’s likely you won’t have the same growth experience you would if you travel on your own.

What is a self-guided tour?

two people standing on rocky mountain

Can you picture yourself trekking this mountain?

If a fully-guided tour doesn’t appeal to you, but traveling completely solo sounds intimidating, a self-guided tour will give you something in between. But what does “self-guided tour” mean? Unlike a guided tour, you won’t have a tour guide; however, you will receive information about your destination and an itinerary to follow at your own pace.

The perfect self-guided tour example is trekking. Whether you head out to the rhododendron-filled Annapurna region of Nepal or the snow-capped Patagonias , or you walk El Camino across Spain, almost all popular trekking routes provide self-guided tours.

Once you apply for your trekking permits, you’ll receive official information about the trek and its trails, as well as information on where to start, stop, rest, sleep, and amenities along the way. With a self-guided tour, you may even have the option of adding on transportation options or organized accommodation to relieve even more of the stress of planning.

3 pros of self-guided tours

1. you set the pace..

While a guided tour doesn’t leave much room for flexibility, a self-guided tour allows you to set your own pace. You’ll often receive an itinerary or route options, but ultimately, you are in control of a self-guided tour. You can follow the route or go your own way. You can go as slowly or quickly as you desire, making pit stops along the way, skipping the parts that don’t appeal to you, and creating the experience you want.

2. It’s safer than independent travel.

Because self-guided tours do the research for you, they often leave less room for error than if you embarked on a solo journey. You’ll receive all the information you need to stay safe , and you don’t have to worry about doing all the research on your own. Self-guided tours are also often available in well-populated travel destinations, which means you’ll be surrounded by other travelers consistently throughout your journey.

3. You can pick your travel buddies.

Independent travel can often get lonely, while guided tours run the risk of getting stuck with a group of people that you might clash with. Self-guided tours offer the perfect alternative. With a self-guided tour, you can choose your people. Perhaps that looks like planning to travel with a group of friends or traveling solo and meeting others along the same self-guided route as you—either way, you can spend time with the people you like, and avoid the people who aren’t your vibe.

3 cons of self-guided tours

1. you still need to take part in the planning..

person pointing at map

You’ll still have a hand in planning when you go for self-guided travel.

While there are perks of receiving a lot of information in a self-guided tour, you still need to be proactive and take responsibility. After all, not everything is organized for you. You still have to do a little research on your own, stay organized, and manage your own time. If you don’t want to have to worry about any of the logistics, self-guided travel might not be your best option.

2. There’s no group to make immediate friends.

While self-guided travel is a great opportunity to choose your travel companions, no official tour group means you don’t quite have access to meeting people as easily. If you’re traveling on your own in a self-guided tour, there will definitely be people to meet along the way, but you’ll still have to put yourself out there and strike up conversations with strangers to make connections.

3. You won’t have a local guide at your fingertips.

Sure, it might be nice to not have to follow a guide, but it’s always important to take into consideration what might happen when the unexpected arises . No local guide means you don’t have an expert with you if you get lost, struggle with language differences, or find yourself in an emergency situation. It means you’ll have to navigate the unknown on your own.

What is independent travel?

The difference between a guided tour vs. independent travel is that with independent travel, you’re flying solo. You’re in charge of all of it—the flights, the accommodation, the planning of the nitty gritty , deciding what you do on a day-to-day basis while abroad.

You have to do all your own research and navigate on your own. You call the shots. For some, this is the only way to travel, but for others, independent travel can be wildly outside of their comfort zones.

3 pros of independent travel

1. you’ll save money..

Independent travel can often be your cheapest travel option . You won’t have to pay a fee to a company to organize travel for you; you can spend what you want on food, accommodation, and excursions; and you can opt for budget options or free activities if you’re working with a small budget.

2. It’s the most flexible travel option.

person holding backpack looking at smartphone

In the mood to choose your own adventure? Independent travel is the way to go.

With independent travel, you set the pace. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. It means you can opt for the experiences that are on your bucket list and skip the ones that don’t appeal to you without having to worry about losing money on an all-inclusive tour option. If you’re the type of traveler who loves to go with the flow and wants the flexibility of changing your plans as you please, independent travel could be the best option for you.

3. It’s where the growth happens.

Independent travel is quite possibly the most challenging way to travel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means you have the opportunity to truly grow , expand, and learn new skills. You have to learn how to plan, to be flexible, to adapt. You have to learn how to navigate, communicate across cultures, and put yourself out there to make friends. Yes, it can be difficult at times, but there’s no doubt you’ll return home a whole new person.

3 cons of independent travel

1. it’s less safe..

Similar to self-guided travel tours, independent travel means you don’t have a guide or anyone to protect you if things go wrong. If you find yourself sick , lost, or in an emergency situation , you’re the only one who has your back. It’s always safest to travel with a guide; however, if you are set on independent travel, you can do your research to be prepared and stay safe, even if the unknown arises.

2. It can get lonely at times.

If you’re traveling solo, independent travel is usually the most difficult way to make friends. You don’t have a group to bond with or people following the same path. It takes more effort to meet friends. Ultimately, it’s up to you—you can allow yourself to stay lonely, or you can put yourself out there, stay at hostels, talk to a stranger over dinner, and find the perfect travel mates.

3. It can feel overwhelming.

As an independent traveler, you’re responsible for all of it. It’s on you to work out the logistics , book your flights , navigate and communicate through a new country, and budget yourself throughout your travels. You have to be completely self-reliant. For some, this is the fun part, but for others, independent travel can feel extremely overwhelming.

3 guided tours to consider

Are guided tours worth it? It depends on the experience you desire. If you want to take some of the pressure off yourself and embark on a travel adventure that is packed full of new experiences and new friends, it could very well be worth it. Here are some of the best guided tour examples to dip your toes in for the adventure of a lifetime :

pure exploration

1. Pure Exploration: 12 Weeks Adventure Guide Program | Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Why? Join Pure Exploration’s guided travel tours to New Zealand for 12 epic weeks of hiking, climbing, and sightseeing. With Pure Exploration, you’ll join a tour that takes you to Mt. Cook National Park, Mt. Aspiring National Park, the Fjordlands, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in picturesque mountain landscapes, hike to snow-capped peaks, or kayak through crystal blue waters. When you aren’t getting your adrenaline pumping, you’ll also have the chance to relax in Queenstown and soak in some Kiwi culture.
  • Where? New Zealand
  • Read Pure Exploration reviews

IMA

2. IMA: Safaris Africa - Group and Student Travel Opportunities

  • Why? Travel to Africa for guided travel tours that will take you on adventure treks or educational tours to some of the continent’s most renowned destinations. IMA specializes in combining safari experience with education, taking travelers to Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria Falls, Masai Mara Game Reserve, and Serengeti National Park where you’ll learn about the local culture and take off on ethical safaris to spot some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet.
  • Where? Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia
  • Read International Medical Aid reviews

Nepal Hiking Team

3. Nepal Hiking Team Pvt. Ltd: Everest Base Camp Trek

  • Why? Have you ever dreamed of trekking to Everest Base Camp? Nepal Hiking Team can help you check this off your bucket list, taking you from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal, and guiding you through a 16-day trek to base camp on the tallest mountain in the world. The tour includes not only the trek, but sightseeing through Kathmandu and a cultural immersion into Sherpa life. It’s the ultimate adventure travel tour for those who want to push themselves to new heights.
  • Where? Nepal
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Pure Travel

What are independent tours and why you need to do them

  • December 23, 2021

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Until recently, there were two easiest ways to go on a trip: buy a ready-made small group tour from an agency or plan everything yourself. Package tours are good when you don’t want to decide anything and want Yin, but it’s better to dive into an independent trip with a thick supply of Yang.

Independent Travel

We found harmony: the richness, depth of immersion and unconventionality of independent travel plus a ready-made program on a unique itinerary with a guide. We tell you how and why you need such trips.

My first ever package tour was “burning” Mexico . It was there that I found some crazy friends who, like me, were bored all the time sitting on the beach and we had as much fun as we could:

  • bungee jumping;
  • river rafting with waterfalls;
  • ancient fortresses;
  • loud shouting at the World Cup in a bar among the locals.

Then we went to Lima for a day, and six months later we were already traveling around Peru by ourselves, rejecting ready-made tours as a class.

Now everyone has different ways: weekends in Europe , winter in Morocco , business trips in Russia and dacha or package tours to the sea (had to return – there were children). Some choose luxury, some want more life, and go for hostels and couchsurfing, and some are drawn to the exotic. Not everyone has the strength and time to plan a voyage, and to go alone to some places at random is scary. But everyone wants to fill a vacation with unusual experiences to the brim. One of us went on an independent tour this summer, and I think we found a way.

How did independent trips come about ?

The Internet made traveling easier and longer. Buying a ticket and making a hotel reservation is a couple of clicks, and the work can fit into one laptop. There are noticeably more people going away for long months. Once in a new region for a long time, returning again and again or even moving permanently, these travelers gain experience, learn about places not in the guidebooks, make friends among the locals, learn languages, and get involved in the culture. The new nomads have chosen adventure among all the possibilities of the world, and some of them have realized that they can make travel qualitatively different for everyone. Especially for those who, after seeing pictures of the planet’s unique places, can no longer sleep well.

What is an independent trip?

It is a trip that was organized without the involvement of a major tour operator by a more experienced traveler. Drawing on his own worldview and experience, the author offers to join his itinerary; such a tour is more than just a road from one attraction to another, it is a real reality hunt.

Small groups and a carefully designed itinerary allow the participant to feel like the protagonist of the trip. The guide can give everyone maximum attention, and you will definitely be able to participate in all the activities, see and try all the most interesting things. The charisma of the author, the depth of his knowledge and his ability to captivate depends on whether the trip will be a discovery or a disappointment. Not the least of these is the technical organization of the trip. Lack of overlap, ability to react quickly to the situation, to change the route depending on the weather or the desire of participants add points in the karma.

How do independent tours differ from package tours ?

Package tours in the agency include:

  • transfer to the place of rest;
  • paid room at the hotel;
  • Medical insurance and selected meals;
  • The agency will also help with visa formalization.

Ready-made tours often offer a resort holiday with a standard set of entertainment: hotel – beach – restaurant – disco or hotel – ski – restaurant – disco. You can not buy a trip to non-touristy places with unusual activity.

On the spot you will be offered to choose excursions, or you will go sightseeing on your own, constantly returning to the same hotel.

Usually the most favorable conditions for double occupancy, so you may need a companion.

The main technical difference of the author’s tour is that you often get to the starting point on your own, although there are some exceptions. But you can choose yourself the most budget way or a specific airline.

More often it is necessary to make medical insurance and visa by yourself.

Airport transfers and meals vary depending on the conditions of the tour.

Hotels are usually paid for the entire planned route. There are also accommodation in a tent. Then you have to bring equipment; however, the guides will help with its selection.

The main emotional difference – all these amazing places you travel in a small group of three people or more. On the one hand, you don’t have to beg your friends, who often find reasons to merge, and you can safely go alone; on the other hand, it may take some time to adapt to new people. But we know a lot of stories about how new acquaintances turned into true friends, and we’ve heard about weddings – where without them. And to share the cost of a small company is always more profitable than to pay the entire amount on an independent trip.

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ESCORTED, INDEPENDENT AND HOSTED TOURS AND KNOWING WHAT COMES WITH THESE KINDS OF PACKAGES

ESCORTED, INDEPENDENT AND HOSTED TOURS AND KNOWING WHAT COMES WITH THESE KINDS OF PACKAGES

When it comes to a world tour, it means to go and explore. There are a number of tours which exist and you will need to understand what each one of them really means. There is the hosted, independent, and escorted tour. The independent tour means that you are travelling on your own. This is where the travel company only takes the initiative to book your hotel and then seating on your own for any train or boat rides. When you land in the country you are going to, you will have to find your way to the hotel and make arrangements of what and where you want to go and see on your own. You will also have to book the type of transport to move from one area to the other of your choice. You can opt for this package if you want to travel and do not have a lot of money to spend on tour companies.

Hosted is another tour package and is different from escorted tours and independent tours as well. This is a kind of tour package where you will just need a little hand to help. There will be a person who will be available to help you, but for only during specific hours. If you happen to be travelling to various cities, then everything will be arranged as far as transport and hotel arrangement are concerned, but you will have plenty of time to plan on your own. Escorted tours are preferred to be the best and this is because they come with a number of advantages. This is where you will have someone by your side who will be able to guide you all through whatever you need. The hotel as well as a means of transport to and from will be arranged by the company which you have hired. Escorted tour come with a lot of packages which are referred to as escorted tour packages.

The escorted tour packages have many advantages and this is where they will make sure you will not, at any point, miss any activity or attraction. This is where all of your days will be full of adventures and excitement, while your evenings will be for relaxing. This also means the type of transport you will use is your preference. So, with escorted tours you will be able to enjoy more than you can with other types of packages.

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10 benefits of a guided tour vs. independent travel

Of all the ways to get out and see the world, the best way to travel is on a group tour because you can sit back, relax, and soak in the beauty of your destination—while learning more than just a thing or two about the local culture along the way. No figuring out transportation, researching hotels, or booking flights required.

Here at EF Go Ahead Tours (the EF stands for Education First!), we know a thing or two about creating immersive, local-led tours. If you’re wondering what all the hype is around group tours, check out these benefits of guided travel, which you’ll find on all of our more than 175 trips .

1. You get the ease of an all-in-one tour package

Imagine a world where you don’t need to scour the internet for the perfect hotel, diligently monitor flight prices, or scroll through Google to figure out how to spend time in your destination. Good news: That’s one of the main benefits of traveling in groups. You can have the trip of a lifetime without having to research or book any of these travel essentials. Say hello to these advantages of guided tours, and goodbye to travel planning nightmares.

“You have the fear of going someplace and everything falling apart and I felt like from the get-go you guys gave me piece of mind,” said traveler Lydia. “I’m going out of the country and everything is taken care of. I don’t have to worry about the language. I don’t have to worry how I’m going to get from here to there. You get to go on vacation and be stress-free. Sometimes you can’t do that… but I truly, truly got to enjoy the vacation.”

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Guided Tour vs Independent Travel

Preferred styles of traveling are just as varied as the people who travel; no two individuals do it the same way. There are many different ways to travel, whether it be with friends and family or if you choose to embark on an independent journey. There's no right or wrong way to do things, it all depends on your personal tastes and what you like to do. However there are undoubtedly some big differences if you choose to partake in a guided tour vs independent travel. Let's look at some differences between the two forms of travel.

Guided Tours

Whether it's joining a group for a day tour, or partaking in a 25 day tour of the Silk Road , guided tours can be a really fun way to travel. From social to cultural benefits, there are many different reasons why signing up for a guided tour makes more sense than trying to go it alone. Let's look at some of the primary benefits of a guided tour for traveling.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

1) It’s a Great Way to Meet Others

Loneliness is one of the most difficult parts of traveling independently. Signing up with a group is a quick and easy way to make friends.

For many people it's often difficult to meet new people under normal circumstances.  Now put yourself in the confusing situation of being in a foreign country and it can make it even harder. Travelers are often on different schedules and depending on the part of the world you intend to travel, they might even speak a completely different language. Traveling with a tour group helps break the ice, make friends quickly and create memories with someone else. As nice as it is to look back at old travel photos from a solo trip, sharing a beer with a friend you met on a group trip to some exotic part of the world and reminiscing on the great times you had is one of the best post travel experiences you can have.

2) You Have Access to More Destinations and Activities

There are many travel destinations that are very difficult and safety could be a concern without a guided tour. Participating in a group tour opens up the world for more travel opportunities. 

Whether it's traveling to a country where there are regions in political turmoil, or participating in organized activities such as horse trekking through Mongolia , without a guide you are at much higher risk of running into problems. Going on a group tour opens up the world a bit more and allows you the freedom to safely travel to places you might not consider going without one. Trying to go it alone in a place where you don't speak the language, don't understand the local customs, and don't have a plan setup beforehand can not only be stressful, but potentially dangerous depending on where you want to travel. This is one of the biggest benefits for many travelers who decide to choose a guided tour over independent travel.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

3) Leave the Planning to Someone Else

Joining a guided tour means there’s no hassle of planning.

Taking time out of your routine to explore the world shouldn't feel like more work. There an are endless number of destinations to go to, and even if you are able to choose where you want to go, what to see is a whole other headache. Group tours arrange the itinerary, activities, and schedules for you way ahead of time. They also give a definitive structure and plan for each day and allow you to see more than if you were figuring everything out on your own. If you’re pressed for time and won’t have too long to see all of the major sights, a tour can help you check off all the boxes quickly. Finally, an experienced and knowledgeable guide can make your trip more enjoyable by helping you understand more about a particular site, and can often bring history to life. Many people who choose a guided tour over independent travel find they learn much more about the place than if they went it alone.

4) More Safety: There’s Always Someone Watching You Back

While solo, independent travel can be rewarding, it can also be stressful and generate feelings of discomfort in terms of safety.

Exploring a new area or taking part in an activity with a guided tour can be a refreshing approach when it comes to travel. Aside from the obvious risks of traveling solo, it may also be difficult to communicate with the locals due to language or cultural barriers. Traveling with a guide often means that you get your own translator, which facilitates communication and helps prevent cultural faux pas. Fear of the unknown is a major reason why many people don’t get out and see the world, but when you travel with a group, you have peace of mind knowing everything that will be planned for you. You’re under the care of people who know what they’re doing which let’s you really enjoy what you’re doing, rather than worry about your safety. 

Independent Travel

Now that we've covered some of the benefits of guided tours, let's look at the reasons why an independent journey might appeal to some travelers.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

1) Total Freedom

Nobody knows you better than yourself and traveling independently allows you to pick and choose exactly what you want to do. 

While it might be more work, it allows you more flexibility in your schedule as well as changing things up during a journey. The freedom to make your own decisions on how to spend your time is the most common reason people choose to travel independently over a group tour.

2) Budget Flexibility and Cost

While it depends on where you go and what you are doing, sometimes traveling independently can be a bit more friendly on your wallet. 

Rather than purchasing a group tour all at once, you can break up your expenses.  You have more flexibilty with how much you spend during your trip. Perhaps you start to spend more than you expected in a certain location, you can choose not to do the next acitivity to try and save yourself some money.

3) Go at Your Own Speed

Independent travel not only allows you the freedom to choose what to do, but also how long you what to spend doing it.

Everyone is different with how much time they like to spend doing certain activities. Some like to spend hours during their meals trying every little thing each country has to offer, whereas others like to maximize their time seeing as much as they can. Rather than having to deal with more of a group mentality, independent travel gives you completely control over your time and schedule.

So to summarise, there are pro's and con's to both group and independent travel - which one is for you will depend on your personality and character, as well as the particular destination you are visiting. 

Michael Pullman

Michael Pullman

View michael pullman's latest blog posts, related tours.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

How to Best Decide Between Guided Tours vs Independent Travel

  • March 23, 2021

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Table of Contents

Europe is a stunning continent. With countries rich in culture, art, tradition, and culinary experience, it is a prime destination for anyone seeking an escape from the mundanity of his/her everyday life. However, while planning a trip, you are faced with the pressing question: planning your trip with one of the guided tours vs independent travel? Each has its advantages, but ultimately it is your preferences that determine what is best for you. If you are confused about which is best for you, read the comparison below to get a fair idea.

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differentiate independent travel from package tour

It goes without saying that a DIY trip or independent travel always allows you more freedom. Since you are the one who makes and fixes your schedule, you get to control every aspect of it. Therefore, you can adjust it according to your preferences, special conditions, etc. Planning a trip yourself also means that you get to decide which and how many places you visit. For example, you might be on a tight budget and cannot afford to visit pricier destinations, like The Louvre in Paris , but instead want to keep everything low-key. Or you might not be interested in seeing certain monuments, but they are nevertheless part of the tour package. Or you want to maximally benefit from your trip and see as many sites as possible. As it may be obvious, you will have to compromise if you are not in charge.

However, this also does not mean that a guided-tour strips you of all freedom of decision-making. Firstly, there are a plethora of guided tours that you can choose from, based on your preferences. Since there are tens of reputed formal groups functioning in the business, it is not impossible to find one that closely resembles your demands. Secondly, guided tours rarely take all day. In fact, you are with your group for the quarter to half of the day at most. You can innovate and decide what to do with the rest of your time!

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Traveling independently means that you are on your own and must take care of all logistics without guidance, from finding the flight tickets to booking the best hotels to finding the right commuting services such as train , bus , or car rental to pre- booking tickets to sites and monuments . Often, individuals, owing to a lack of local knowledge, fail to make the best decisions for themselves and get stuck in unfortunate circumstances. For example, one might not know that destinations like the Sagrada Familia and the Anne Frank House require reservations, makes special trips to the places, and get turned away! Such issues are non-existent when it comes to guided tours, for the company catering to you deals with all these matters timely and effectively. All you have to do is to enjoy.

However, it is not to say independently traveling is impossible. Not only is it doable, but for some people, this planning and catering to teeny-tiny details of traveling is also part of the fun. It is an exciting prospect for them and something they look forward to. So, if you are one such individual, you should not shy away from independently traveling.

differentiate independent travel from package tour

There is no definite answer to this question because there are many different kinds of touring companies available. While some guided tours may be more expensive than others, focusing on pricier sites, featuring lavish hotels, etc., others are easier on the pocket.

If you are on a budget, you can allocate finances such that you skip expensive sites and focus on what really interests you. However, one thing that holds regardless is that all payments you make to them are made in advance. This entails that everything is covered and prepaid, including tickets to sites, hotels, etc. This is particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with budgeting and tend to overspend needlessly.

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differentiate independent travel from package tour

There are good reasons to contend that traveling with tour guides is comparatively safer. Although crime rates in Europe are generally low, and you will have to be extremely unfortunate to run into violent crimes, petty offenses like pickpocketing are common. This is especially the case at popular, touristy destinations. Under such circumstances, traveling in packs is beneficial, as it wards off unwanted advances and attention. Plus, travel guides are also familiar with the local landscapes and know what neighborhoods to avoid.

Therefore, exploring cities with them is like taking preemptive measures. However, as mentioned above, crime rates are not extremely high in European countries and are therefore regarded as generally safe. So, there is no real threat if one researches and avoids shady areas.

Communication

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Although European countries have an overall higher index of English-speaking citizens, you will nevertheless face problems traveling inland cities or villages. For example, if you are traveling in Malaga and are relying only on English, you will undoubtedly run into language barriers.

Under such circumstances, it helps to have someone who speaks the language by your side to simplify matters. If language is a major issue for you and you believe that you cannot navigate without aid, you might want to book trips with a tour guide. Elsewise, a DIY trip is just as good and has no other benefits in this domain.

Related: Learn a new language before you next vacation with Babbel .

differentiate independent travel from package tour

General Conclusion

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Both DIY trips and guided tours have their perks. Planning your own trip vs. tour company is an argument that has no objective answer. Typically speaking, if you are a first-time traveler who is unsure of how things unfold while one is visiting European cities and are afraid that you won’t be able to manage finances and logistics efficiently, you should go for a guided tour.

Doing so is not only convenient but also very insightful. If your ultimate goal is to break the shackles of travel groups, gaining experience by initially being a part of one is an excellent idea. It gives you the necessary exposure while keeping you in a safe space. On the other hand, if you are confident and determined to travel on your own, do not hesitate to do so! The world is yours, and nothing is stopping you from exploring the gorgeous destination that Europe is.

Don’t Want to Choose Between Guided Tours vs Independent Travel? Try the Hybrid Option !

What if there is no need to choose between guided tours vs independent travel? Alternatively, you can actually have the best of both worlds with personalized travel planning. This hybrid option allows you the freedom of travel independently so you get 100% freedom to decide where, when, and how you want to travel while the entire trip is fully personalized to fits your travel schedule and pretty much everything you have in mind can be customized from start to finish.

With personalized travel planning such as the one offers by MultiCityTrips , you get to embark on the travel journey independently while everything from the itinerary to all the logistics is planned and even booked for you by an experienced travel expert who has first-hand knowledge of destinations you will be travel to. Plus it includes all the support you might need before, during, and after your trip. If you are planning to visit multiple destinations and want to experience the best each city has to offer without the hassle of researching, planning, and booking you might find this option more suitable for your trip.

To learn more about travel planning options available at MultiCityTrips and how this option can help you get the best and the most out of your vacation while saving you time and money, check out our “ Trip by Travel Experts “ page today.

Travel Resources for Planning an Independent Travel (DIY Trip)

Still would rather plan your own trip? There is nothing wrong with that. To make planning your own travel journey to Europe easier, we listed some of our favorites and recommended travel resources below. You can search and find the best flights, transportation options, hotels to stay in, tours/activities, and things you can do in each destination during your trip.

Agoda : Search thousands of destinations around the world & quickly compare prices to find amazing deals on the best flights.

CheapOAir : You can find airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and vacation packages all on one site!

Kiwi.com : What we like about Kiwi is the fact that they are able to create combinations of flight, train, and bus tickets and offer them in a single itinerary. Also, Kiwi has what they called “ Nomad ” which helps you find the best way of visiting multiple destinations, saving you time and money.

JetRadar : You can search and compare airfares from 726 airlines and dozens of travel agencies and systems.

Agoda : Agoda is one of the world’s largest online travel accommodation platforms with a network of over 2,000,000 vacation rentals and hotels worldwide.

Hotellook : They have more than 250,000 hotels in 205 countries, working with data from more than 10 online booking systems, such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, and others.

Transportations:  

Airport Transfers :  KiwiTaxi ,  Viator or   GetTransfer  ( offer both airport transfers & car rentals with a personal driver)

Train : EuroRail ,  Trainline  or  RailEurope  

Bus :  Flixbus : Very affordable (as low as $6) and convenient way to transfer between cities in Europe.

Car Rentals :  AutoEurope ,  EconomyBookings ,  or   GetTransfer  (transfers & car rentals with a personal driver)

Bike Rental :  BikesBooking  (Bikes & scooter rentals) 

Transportation Comparison :  Omio  (search, compare, and book tickets for buses, trains, and flights all in one site)

Tours & Activities :

TakeWalks  (WalkofItaly): This is our favorite site for walking tours & day trips.

Tiqets : Great site for entrance tickets. It offers directly bookable, instantly available, and completely mobile tickets for museums, shows, and attractions all over the world.

Musement : They have good activities and tours in Italy and Spain, also many great day trips you can choose from.

GetYourGuide : A large number of tours, excursions, and other travel activities

Viator : The largest one. It has everything from tours, attractions, shore excursions, and private guides in over 2,700 destinations worldwide. It also has many transportations and transfers options and some unique experiences we didn’t find anywhere else.

Need help planning a trip to Europe?

Want to plan a trip and visit multiple destinations in Europe but don’t know where to begin? If you find this type of trip planning to be too complicated to plan on your own, we’re here to help!

At  MultiCityTrips , multi-destination travel and complicated itineraries such as a multi-city, multi-country trip to Europe are our specialties.  Contact us  today to learn more about how one of our experienced travel experts/destination specialists can  personalize your multi-city trip   and craft the best vacation package for you.

Don’t want to start from scratch and need some trip inspiration? Check out our  marketplace  for customizable pre-designed packages available right now for many amazing destinations.

To learn more about how our process of trip planning works in detail, please see our “ How It Works ” page or check out our video on  “How to Plan a Multi-City Trip to Europe in  5 Easy Steps”   here.

Have questions for us? Try our 24/7 live chat, call/text us at  (888)223-2316 ,  Schedule a FREE Call, or contact one of the travel experts/destination specialists at  [email protected] .

Private Travel Coaching & Consulting Call

differentiate independent travel from package tour

Want to plan and book your upcoming trip yourself? If this is your first time traveling to any of the European destinations or you are new to multi-city, multi-country travel but prefer to manage every part of your trip on your own, this option is for you! 

For just  $150 per hour , our destination expert can answer any questions you might have as you plan and book your dream trip. From assisting with route planning, and destination selection, recommending the best areas or places to stay, the best transportation options, things to do and see, saving tips and so much more! 

Ready to plan your trip with our help? Book your private coaching session with our destination expert now and we’ll confirm your appointment within 24 hours!

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Travel resources for planning your own trip.

To make planning your European trip on your own easier, in addition to what already mentioned in our travel guide, we included some of our recommended travel resources below. You can search and find the best flights, transportation options, hotels to stay in, tours/activities, and things you can do in any destination using these travel resources:

European River Cruises:

Uniworld River Cruises : The world’s best and most awarded luxury river cruise line—offers itineraries in spectacular destinations throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, Asia, and Peru. The company’s European fleet features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 120 guests, the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry, enticing shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, impeccable hospitality, and numerous other all-inclusive benefits.

Pre- and Post-cruise/Tour Extensions:  Uniworld curated pre-and post-cruise/tour extensions make it easy to add a few days to the front or back end of your trip while leaving the planning to them

The packages include a variety of hotel options, transfers, and a dedicated destination expert to escort you along the way.

Airport Transfers & Transportations:  

Airport Transfers: GetTransfer offers both airport transfers & car rentals with a personal driver. Other airport transfer options are KiwiTaxi and Viator.

Train :  EuroRail ,  Trainline ,  or  RailEurope are all great sites for train tickets as well as Rail Passes if you would like to add more flexibility to your trip. They are good for most trains throughout Europe. For trains in Italy, we like and recommend ItaliaRail . As for Portugal, you will need to go to the official website for Comboios de Portugal (the Portuguese train company) to book your train tickets when traveling in Portugal.

CarRentals :  AutoEurope ,  EconomyBookings ,  or   GetTransfer  (transfers & car rentals with a personal driver)

Bike Rental :  BikesBooking is a great site for bikes & scooter rentals

Travel Insurance:

Travel Guard :  Their comprehensive travel insurance programs, starting at $30, include per-trip & annual plans, coverage for trip cancellation , trip interruption, trip delay, medical expenses, baggage loss & more! Travel Guard provides 24/7-customer service with a personal touch through its World Service Center.

DISCLAIMER : Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links, MultiCityTrips may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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Need help planning a trip and find the best vacation package for your multi-city trip to Europe? If you find this type of trip planning to be too complicated to plan on your own, we’re here to help!

At  MultiCityTrips , multi-city, multi-country European vacations, and complicated itineraries are our specialties. Contact us today to learn more about how one of our experienced travel experts/destination specialists can personalize an amazing multi-city trip to your dream destinations in Europe.

Ready for a trip? Check out our planning options and get in touch with us today!

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All-Inclusive vs Independent Trip – Which is Better for You?

17 Jul 2019 by Olga Brighton

Everyone has their own unique idea of a perfect holiday. For some, two weeks of doing virtually nothing but laying on a beach and sipping cocktails is heaven. For others, the thought of doing nothing all day is their idea of hell on earth. After all, fun and enjoyment are subjective topics. Which brings us to the age old holiday dilemma of ‘package/all-inclusive holiday verses an independent trip’. Do you prefer to head out as part of a group and have the logistics sorted for you, or are you happier when it’s just you and your hand-crafted itinerary?

We’ve rounded up some of the pros and cons of package/all-inclusive tours vs independent trip:

Choice and value for money

value for money

Generally speaking, if you are heading to a popular location in a well-established tourist destination like Spain or Turkey and you are a couple or family travelling for the usual number of days 1-2 weeks, then a package deal is likely to offer you most variety and value for money. Especially as there’ll be fierce competition between tour operators and holiday companies. Whereas if you are planning your own unique route and timeframe, then an independently booked trip is probably your best bet. Check that whoever you book with is covered by the ATOL scheme giving you financial protection if anything goes wrong.

Do you love or hate the prospect of researching your trip and trawling reviews, blogs and books? Are you happy to leave it to a travel expert to make recommendations based on your list of ‘must-haves’? If you just want to head away with minimum research and planning, then a package holiday with guided tours is ideal because someone else has done all the leg work. It takes away the stresses of researching accommodation options, itineraries and logistics. And if you opt for an all-inclusive package it even takes away the stresses of worrying about which restaurants to choose and calculating potential costs. Everything is organised and paid for in advance, so you simply arrive, kick back and enjoy the vista.

On the other hand if you can’t wait to take a deep dive into the ocean of travel blogs to gain inspiration for your perfect trip, then organising a DIY holiday could be just what you need.

Where to stay

less planning

All-inclusive packages offer good value and choice. With meals and drinks included (check the small print on what’s classed as ‘extras’) it’s a stress free option that takes away budgeting worries.

If you are looking for something a bit more independent, unique, or off the beaten track (like a cave-hotel or glass-igloo perhaps?!), or you prefer to move around, then you may prefer to book direct. With the boom in Airbnb options, the choice is endless.

Want to be alone or looking for a party?

If you’re looking to meet new people, it’s more likely to happen if you sign up for a package holiday – especially one with inclusive tours. Whether your tour lasts for hours or over days, you will meet all kinds of wonderful people – many of whom will share the same interests as you. You could end up making life-long friends! But equally, if you prefer to go it alone, then it's easy enough to plan your own itinerary if you're prepared to put in the effort.

Read also: 7 Castles You Can Actually Rent on Airbnb

When you travel abroad on holiday, there are always risks and dangers to be aware of. This is where travel insurance can be so valuable, and it’s where it pays to prioritize safety. If you choose an all-inclusive group guided tour, not only is there safety in numbers, but the tour organisers will know what to avoid and watch out for. So you can relax as you’ll be less-likely to become a victim of crime or injury. What’s more, if something were to happen, help is at hand.

Go at your own pace and do your own thing

go at your own pace

As great as guided group tours are, you are on someone else’s clock. If you discover somewhere that you absolutely love and want to stay longer, as part of a group you simply can’t. You’ll be herded up at the allotted time to head off to the next location. If you travel independently, it’s you that sets the pace – so if something is amazing, you can linger, or if it’s disappointing, you can quickly move on.

Price flexibility

As much as package tours and all-inclusive holidays offer value for money and budgeting security, there are also advantages with a DIY approach. You can be flexible with your accommodation – mixing hostels with apartments and rooms. You can book flights on the most cost effective days to suit instead of the fixed package dates. You can look to see if sites and museums offer free entry days (some do at weekends) and save there too.

Peace and quiet

peace and quiet

As great as it can be to be around people, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a little peace and quiet instead. If you go it alone, it’s simply you, and whoever else you choose to travel with. You won’t have to queue for the fixed buffet lunch and dinner, or wake up at dawn to stake your place by the poolside. So if you’re looking for a little quiet downtime, you are probably better off selecting a less touristy location with independent days out away from the crowds.

When it comes down to deciding between a package verses independent trip, it really depends on what your own personal circumstances and preferences are. So sit down, crunch some numbers, do some thinking, and decide which suits you best. Before you make your final choice on your independent trip - be sure to cross check there isn’t a package out there with the same elements for half the price. Equally, if you’ve found a package – it’s worth searching flights and accommodation to your selected location separately in case it’s better value than the package you’ve found!

Read also: Travel Problems and How to Prevent Them

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Escorted vs Independent Vacations — Which Should You Choose? Travel Team > Uncategorized > Escorted vs Independent Vacations — Which Should You Choose?

Escorted vs Independent Vacations– Which Should You Choose?

When you’re planning to travel to a foreign destination, one of the first things you may decide is if you will go on an escorted trip, or an independent one. An escorted trip is when you travel with a group of people, including a tour guide. You travel, eat, stay, explore and shop with this group of people. With an Independent Travel vacation, you chose you itinerary and navigate your own way around. Both types of vacations are very different, so it helps to look at each type of vacation before you decide what type to choose.

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Escorted tours.

If you are the type of traveler  who enjoys being social, escorted travel is a great option. New friends and relationships are easy to gain through escorted tours. You are also provided a tour guided with escorted travel groups, a great benefit for as you can get more questions answered and about history of certain sites, compared to viewing these sites alone. The tour guide can help you with communication if you are in a country that speaks a different language. Also, the planning of transportation, navigation, food and entertainment has already been taken care of.

  Call a Travel Team Agent today at 1-800-788-0829 for more information.

Most of the time, meals, site admissions, transportation and lodging are included in the price. Keep in mind, if you like to be on your own schedule, wake up late, stay in bed etc, you may not want to follow the same schedule as everyone else.

Independent tours

Escorted tours usually hit the most popular and well-known sites of the cities. You might not get to see the smaller, lesser known sites. As an independent traveler, you are able to choose sites to visit that interest you. You can even have your travel team agent add other attractions to your itinerary.

Keep in mind you are responsible for navigating and getting around. The cost of transportation may not be included in the Independent Travel package. Make sure to ask a travel team agent the costs of transportation, meals, and admission fees by calling 1-800-788-0829. This can also be a deciding factor. You will have more freedom however than an escorted vacation.

Independent Travel vacations require more planning than an escorted tour. They call for a reliable and experienced travel agent to work out the details. Travel Team Agents are amazing at booking an Independent Travel vacation .

Deciding what type of vacation would suit your travel needs depends on your personality and what is important to you in your vacation. If you find it more important to socialize and travel with a group while seeing major sites, an Escorted Tour may be the best choice for you.

If it’s more important to you to be independent, have a flexible itinerary and explore on your own, an Independent Travel vacation may be what you want.   Call a Travel Team Agent today at 1-800-788-0829 for more information.

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IMAGES

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  2. Is Independent Travel For You?

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  3. Package Tour VS Independent Travel: What is most suitable for you?

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  4. Package Holidays vs. Independent Travel: Which is Right for You?

    differentiate independent travel from package tour

  5. Guided Tour Vs Independent Travel

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  6. a man standing on top of a mountain with his arms outstretched

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  1. Travel plans for 2021

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COMMENTS

  1. Package Holidays vs. Independent Travel: Which is Right for You?

    Package Holidays. As we mentioned earlier, Thomas Cook, was one of the early pioneers of this business model. This simple idea yet revolutionary of providing people an all inclusive (not to be confused with the type of board) experience which consisted of: travel to and from, accommodation and the tour of the attraction itself.

  2. The Pros and Cons of Package Tours and Independent Travel

    The main advantage of an independent tour is that it allows you to be free-spirited and explore on your own terms. You can decide what to do and where to go without having to follow an itinerary or be part of a group. However, this type of travel can be more expensive than a package tour since you have to book each aspect of your trip separately.

  3. Individual trip vs. package tour: these are the differences that you

    Especially in times of Corona, the package tour is the better choice, because you can invoke your rights at home, have only one contact person and do not have to deal with many individual service providers and local law. More details here. The main disadvantage, however, is that the trip cannot be put together quite so individually.

  4. Package Tours Versus DIY Travel (Pros & Cons)

    Joining tours can help you cut down the cost. Some would argue that package tours are not flexible. However, some travel agencies actually allow you to customize the travel package. Also, I believe most package tours allow free time, especially at night, so you can still squeeze in whatever you want to do that the package cannot cover.

  5. Package Holiday vs Independent Travel

    Independent travelling and holiday planning allow you the great freedom and opportunity to spend your holiday exactly the way you want it and you are not limited by the pre-planned experience of the holiday packages. Independent travelling allows you the flexibility in time, experience and even a budget. You can choose to spend less money on ...

  6. Group tour vs independent travel: Which is better for your trip?

    Group tours are usually going to be a tad more expensive than independent travel, however, there are certain things you should consider when comparing prices: Tours will save you a lot (and I mean, a lot!) of time researching your destination. A tour will have your transport, accommodation, some of your sightseeing, and even restaurants lined ...

  7. Package Holidays vs Booking Independently

    Jet2holidays - A highly regarded package holiday company in the UK; On the Beach-An award-winning company offering a great selection of beach holidays. Crystal Ski - An alternative to Skiworld also offering package ski holidays; Skiworld - The biggest independent ski company in the UK - offering chalet holidays, all-inclusive deals and more

  8. Guided Tours vs Independent Travel

    To make your independent travel even more convenient, find a car hire service in your location like Rental24.co.uk. This will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. Cost. Independent travel is the ultimate freedom. You get up when you want, you go where you want, and you do what you want.

  9. Independent Travel vs Organized Tours? The Pros and Cons

    The perks of independent travel…. It's all in one word: freedom. When you travel on your own: » you can do what you want. » you can decide your own pace. » anytime, you can change plans, staying longer in place you love, shortening your stay if you've had enough, and you can modify your itinerary upon your inspiration or valuable ...

  10. Understanding Tours: Escorted, Hosted/Guided and Independent

    Guided tours are perfect for travelers who want some freedom, but still prefer the comfort of having a guide with you part of the time. INDEPENDENT: An independent vacation combines the best parts of escorted and guided tours, with the freedom and flexibility of solo traveling. On an independent tour you set your own schedule, you won't be ...

  11. Package tour VS Independent Travel

    The package cost was 1.18L for an adult and 1.10L for a kid, so total 4.6L for a family of four. 4 countries in 7 days in which practically two days would be spent on flying to and from the destination. But itinerary sounded great! Action packed plan covering a lot of places in minimum time!

  12. Guided Tours vs Independent Travel in 2024: Expert Tips

    Guided Tours vs Independent Travel in 2023. A guided tour company typically offers the convenience of an "all-in" price, with a local guide and all the trip planning done for you. In contrast, independent travel offers the freedom to choose your agenda around your budget. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation says group tours ...

  13. Self-Guided vs. Guided vs. Independent Travel

    3 cons of independent travel 1. It's less safe. Similar to self-guided travel tours, independent travel means you don't have a guide or anyone to protect you if things go wrong. If you find yourself sick, lost, or in an emergency situation, you're the only one who has your back. It's always safest to travel with a guide; however, if you ...

  14. What are independent tours and why you need to do them

    Package tours are good when you don't want to decide anything and want Yin, but it's better to dive into an independent trip with a thick supply of Yang. Independent Travel. We found harmony: the richness, depth of immersion and unconventionality of independent travel plus a ready-made program on a unique itinerary with a guide.

  15. What's the Difference Between Guided, Self-Guided, and Independent Travel?

    It's not as safe as guided or self guided tours: If something goes wrong or you get sick while traveling, you won't have the safety net of support, compared to traveling with a guided group. It can get lonely: Independent travel doesn't give you as much room to make friends. While it's not entirely impossible, you're less likely to find people ...

  16. Escorted Tour, Independent And Hosted Tour Understanding

    There is the hosted, independent, and escorted tour. The independent tour means that you are travelling on your own. This is where the travel company only takes the initiative to book your hotel and then seating on your own for any train or boat rides. When you land in the country you are going to, you will have to find your way to the hotel ...

  17. 10 benefits of a guided tour vs. independent travel

    6. You don't need to research, track, or book flights. Whether you're looking at planes, trains, or automobiles, figuring out all the ways to travel from point a to point b is never fun. One of the benefits of guided tours is that we offer the option to book airfare packages with every tour.

  18. Guided Tour vs Independent Travel

    While it depends on where you go and what you are doing, sometimes traveling independently can be a bit more friendly on your wallet. Rather than purchasing a group tour all at once, you can break up your expenses. You have more flexibilty with how much you spend during your trip. Perhaps you start to spend more than you expected in a certain ...

  19. Guided Tours vs Independent Travel

    Travel Guard : Their comprehensive travel insurance programs, starting at $30, include per-trip & annual plans, coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, medical expenses, baggage loss & more! Travel Guard provides 24/7-customer service with a personal touch through its World Service Center.

  20. All-Inclusive vs Independent Trip

    Price flexibility. As much as package tours and all-inclusive holidays offer value for money and budgeting security, there are also advantages with a DIY approach. You can be flexible with your accommodation - mixing hostels with apartments and rooms. You can book flights on the most cost effective days to suit instead of the fixed package dates.

  21. Escorted vs Independent Vacations

    Make sure to ask a travel team agent the costs of transportation, meals, and admission fees by calling 1-800-788-0829. This can also be a deciding factor. You will have more freedom however than an escorted vacation. Independent Travel vacations require more planning than an escorted tour.

  22. Package, Tour or FIT: Defining the Packaged Travel Market

    At $18.3 billion in 2008, packaged travel represents a substantial piece of the total U.S. travel market, but it is also one of the more complex and fragmented segments as well. In its simplest form, packaging represents the bundling of travel products and reselling them as a combined single product, called a package or tour. A consumer (or travel agent) generally books the package in a single ...

  23. Tour Partners

    You can build a tour package for flexible independent travel throughout Europe, Asia, and Central & South America. AAA agents are dedicated to delivering the highest quality service, ensuring your trip is stress-free and unforgettable. Don't wait any longer to plan your dream vacation - book an Avanti Destinations tour today!