To Tour or Not to Tour?
Everyone’s holiday is going to be unique to them. Their experience will be different to the next person’s, even if they are on a very similar holiday. Not only are our perceptions different, but we’ll make different choices along the way, meet different people and explore differently.
Clients often ask if they should do a tour or not. The answer is never a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but rather ‘that depends…’.
There are so many tour options these days that there is genuinely a tour to suit almost any trip for anyone. A tour is great in the fact that everything is organised for you. You often don’t have to organise anything at all or even learn how to use the local transport if you don’t want to.
You’ll have a tour guide with you the entire way, who will not only provide an insight into each destination you visit, but also book any extra day tours or sightseeing you wish to do along the way, make you aware of local customs to enhance your experience (or prevent you getting into any trouble) and will also be able to advise where the best places to eat are, or how to catch the train – if that’s what you want to do.
Tours are an absolutely amazing option for first time or single travellers as you get the full travel experience, with someone with you along the way. Having said that, I am a very experienced traveller and I still love tours – they make travelling easy, take out all the stress and provide a lot of information you may not otherwise get to know while you’re exploring a new place.
Here is a very broad outline of options, but as I mentioned above, there really is a tour for just about any one.
There are the classic large bus tours, which are fantastic for seeing as much as possible in the time you have. Traditionally, they usually will stay in a city for 1-2 nights – long enough to see the big sights and have an explore, taste the local cuisine then head on to the next city.
These large group tour companies also will offer regional tours, which will focus on one region or country with longer stays (generally 2-3 nights) in each city to give you a great balance of structured sightseeing and free time. A large group can also appeal to a wide range of people – single travellers, couples, groups of friends – as there is generally others on the tour who you will get along with great and become friends.
Due to the larger group sizes, these tours are usually the most cost effective.
Small group tours are becoming more and more popular and more affordable too. Depending on the company or style, these options will range in group size from 8-30. Small group tours will generally focus on regions, rather than a whole continent, with 2-5 (or more!) night stays in each place.
A great advantage to a smaller group is that they will often stay in smaller, sometimes locally run hotels and will also be able to visit different sights and restaurants that just can’t accommodate the larger groups. Again, these tours will appeal to just about anybody who prefers to focus their time in one region or country.
A smaller group also enables the guide to have more time providing information about your visits and offering a more personal approach to your trip.
Of course, within both of these tour types are a myriad of options…
…anything from backpackers to 5 star luxury, basic tours (cover transport, accommodation, guides and a city tour) to fully inclusive, adventure tours, city stays, off-the-beaten path tours and everything in between.
The other side of the coin is free, independent travel.
As the description suggests, this allows you to do just about anything you want. You aren’t restricted by time, itinerary or style of travel. You can mix and match however you choose. While this option provides absolute freedom when planning your holiday, a lot more thought and time needs to go in to the process to make sure you get what you want out of your trip. You can plan out the basics like your airfares and accommodation, then arrange sightseeing and local transport as you go – this can be great fun as you navigate each place you visit. But for the wrong person, this can be a very stressful experience.
Alternatively, you can have absolutely everything planned – flights, transfers, day tours with hotel pick-up, sightseeing and accommodation.
This is a great compromise between a tour and travelling independently as you don’t have to organise anything while you’re travelling. You have the benefit of travelling just with your travel party, though you will usually still need to navigate some local transport and go exploring to find where to eat for example. It just adds to the adventure!
A great travel agent will help you identify what will suit you and your particular trip the best to make sure you get the absolute most out of your journey. And it may be a combination of all of the above!
Want to know more about whether booking a tour is for you? Get in touch with Alicia Pringle, your locally based Townsville MTA Travel Agent for a chat today!