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Traveller Information

Organised Tours vs. Individual Travel

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There are different types of travel (for pleasure) and they all have their pros and cons. This does not mean that one is good and the other is bad. Whether you like an organized or independent tour may depend on you, your mood or your current situation... Below are some guidelines for traveling.

Note that an active trip (~ being on the road, seeing things, exploring cultures) is NOT the same as a beach holiday or a city trip...

How to travel?

Organized group tours

We can participate in an organized group tour. Many tours have great routes and are worth the money!

Benefits

  • Group trips can be a lot of fun!
  • Easy, comfortable, fixed departure dates
  • Preselected hotels and destinations
  • Expert guides, good transport
  • Fixed price, a lot included, sometimes a kitty for daily expenses, no big financial surprises
  • Meet other like-minded travelers
  • You can participate together or as an individual / single person
  • You see a lot in relatively little time
  • You can sometimes go to places where individual travelers cannot go, for example on a safari or a cruise
  • Your guide / tour operator will help you if something goes wrong (e.g. illness, accident, theft)
  • Tour operators offer insurance and booking guarantees, in case of unplanned cancellations

Disadvantages

  • Little flexibility in a full schedule
  • Fix itinerary, little chance to do anything "different"
  • Group behavior (e.g. scheduled toilet, food stops and hotel check-in)
  • A full program and therefore a little more difficult to meet the locals

Organized group tours are recommended for:

  • People who don't want to travel alone
  • People who do not speak English or the language of the destination (in South America, Japan, Korea and China, English may not even be sufficient)
  • People who are new to foreign cultures
  • People who have limited time, but like to see a lot
  • People who do not want to organize all the transport, accommodation and activities themselves
  • People who cannot travel independently, for example due to age, disability or illness
  • Single women visiting countries/regions like India and North Africa
  • Young people (m/f), who like to meet other young people to have a great time together

Remarks

  • A group trip can be cheaper than an individual trip: traveling by bus is cheaper than hiring a taxi; Hotel rooms for a group are cheaper than individual bookings; Sailing yachts and cruises for one person are also not ideal ...
Customizable, individual, private trips

We can go on an individual trip with our family and friends plus local driver/guide. The tour operator or travel agent can suggest a travel program that we can use or adapt.

Benefits

  • Similar benefits compared to organized group travel
  • You can adjust the itinerary, choose the date and select hotels (categories with 3-4-5 stars) yourself
  • More flexibility, during planning and during the tour

Disadvantages

  • More expensive
  • You may not make many new friends because you travel with your own group

Customizable, individual tours are recommended for:

  • People who prefer to travel organized, but not in a large group
  • People who cannot travel in a group, for example because of a family member in a wheelchair
  • People who have a specific itinerary or wish list
  • People who speak English and can communicate with a local driver/guide
  • People who have traveled before
  • People who can afford it

Remarks

  • People on private tours, can meet other private travelers in beautiful locations such as comfortable luxury lodges in Africa.
  • It's easy to be alone, without a driver/guide and spend time with locals.
Completely independent travel

We can organize our Tour ourselves, maybe book overnight stays (Hotel, Bed & Breakfast, AirBnB) and flights online, and do the rest "as needed" (independently).

Benefits

  • All the flexibility you like
  • Travel with backpack or suitcase
  • Meet locals and other independent travelers
  • You can choose luxurious or really cheap overnight stays
  • This can sometimes be cheaper than an organized tour

Disadvantages

  • Requires more preparation and time
  • Requires computer time and internet access during the trip which takes away from vacation time
  • Organize overnight stays and transport as necessary, takes time (not seeing things)
  • Locals may try to cheat you
  • You stand on your own for every small and big problem, including health, theft and accidents

Independent trips are recommended for:

  • People who have traveled before
  • People who speak good English or the local language(s)
  • People who are flexible
  • People who have time to prepare and travel
  • People who are healthy and have energy
  • People who can find their way using the World Wide Web or travel guide (book)

Remarks

  • Good public transport is not available everywhere.
  • Car rental is not cheap, has risks especially abroad and is not possible everywhere from the age of 65. Not everyone can drive a car.
  • In some countries, such as Bhutan or Iran, independent travel is very limited by law and may even depend on your nationality. Solo travelers / backpackers are not welcome everywhere.