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So you’ve decided to plan that much awaited and longed for overseas trip and you’re wondering where to start. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as jumping on a plane and taking off. There are many things you need to organise, prepare and plan prior to the big day. Is group travel right for you or would you prefer to travel independently? This is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself.
Group travel or tours can take all the preparation and planning out of your trip and can be a great way to see a destination, particularly when there are loads of places and tourist attractions you want to visit. However, having experienced both group travel and independent travel I’m here to summarise some of the pros and cons of both travel methods.
Generally group travel is when 10 or more people are all travelling together and are visiting the same places with the same itinerary. Most group travel tours are via a coach or bus, but can also involve boats, trains, planes, bikes or on foot. The most common transport method appears to be aboard large coaches that can seat up to around 50 passengers.
Group tours can be tailored to your taste, including:
I think the biggest advantage of group travel is that it takes away the responsibility of planning your trip. Usually transport, accommodation, some meals, excursions, admission fees and even tipping is taken care of.
But other advantages include:
My first hand experience of group travel is that it is a little “one size fits all” with little flexibility and many long hours spent on the bus travelling from one destination to another. I actually found it very exhausting and there were places where I would have loved to stay longer than just one night.
Amongst other gripes are:
After travelling to Sri Lanka on an organised tour a few months ago my husband and I both agree that group travel isn’t right for us. Although we had a wonderful time on our tour and met some lovely people on our bus, we found the pace of the trip too fast. We spent long days on the bus travelling on congested roads trying to cram in too much. We were arriving at our hotels very late into the evening absolutely exhausted.
Although our tour guide did allow some flexibility with our itinerary, we were locked into visiting some particular tourist attractions that we didn’t find particularly interesting. So my tip is to thoroughly check the itinerary prior to booking the tour.
Other questions to ask are:
One of my biggest interests is planning and booking holidays. I absolutely love the challenge of selecting a destination, researching and reading about the place, asking friends who’ve been there for travel advice, booking flights, accommodation, transport and planning an itinerary. To me this is the best part of travel! It’s the sweet anticipation and the counting of sleeps until the day arrives that you’re setting off on the holiday.
Some of the advantages of independent travel are:
The obvious downside is that the onus is on you to organise the trip, however you can always use a Travel Agent to assist you with planning and booking. Plus if something does go wrong during your trip, then it’s your own responsibility to resolve the problem.
Other disadvantages include:
Like anything, there are pros and cons when it comes to different methods of travel. I think it depends on your confidence, experience and organisational skills, when it comes to planning for the perfect holiday. If you’re not confident then I would recommend you select the group travel option. You will still have the time of your life!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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