A journey of thousands of miles begins with the first step. What to choose: a tour operator or independent travel – everyone decides for himself.
In order to make this choice, it is necessary to consider the advantages and disadvantages of independent tourism. It is not difficult to find such information on the Internet – it is enough to familiarize yourself with the experience of numerous “pioneers” from different parts of the globe and classify their reviews according to two articles: pros and cons.
Pros of independent travel
Financial problems, staffing inconsistencies, organizational overlaps, and disrespectful attitude towards customers on the part of many tour operators are already well known. Relying only on yourself, you make an investment in the most reliable project.
Freedom of choice
Time. The date of departure, return and the duration of the trip are determined by yourself. Very rarely it is possible “day in the day” to bring the vacation time to the schedule set by the travel agency. Do I need to remember that time is money, and every free day spent in vain is also a reason for psychological discomfort?
One who is accustomed to going with the flow will never be able to see the source. You make the route of the trip taking into account your own preferences, not focusing on the tastes and preferences of the guide or other members of the group. You can also change the route at any time and visit any place of interest to you.
Having decided to go to Croatia to Plitvice Lakes on our own by car, we were able to visit Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Austria along the way.
Action. At any time, you can change a luxurious room in a five-star hotel for a reed hut without amenities; no one will give you a command to go somewhere if you want to lie on the beach; you have no obligation to anyone for the entire duration of the vacation, which you can always shorten or extend.
Savings. You are not choosing one of the several fixed-cost tour options. You yourself calculate and plan the budget for your future trip. At the same time, there are always a lot of ways to save money: choose the “cheapest” weekdays for air travel; book an unknown, but highly recommended hotel by experienced Tourists; do not pay for the work of translators, guides, additional services, and excursions if you do not need them.
Cons of independent travel
Planning and responsibility. You will have to spend more than one hour of time (and possibly more than one day), drawing up a route on the map and studying reviews of travelers on numerous sites. You will need to independently obtain a visa, book hotels, and air tickets, and provide for a transfer. All this will take time and effort.
About 7 years ago, we decided to go on a trip to China. We didn’t have a lot of such experience, and it took two weeks to plan: we made and redesigned the route, chose hotels, adjusted tickets, made visas. At some point, I already wanted to give up everything. But we nevertheless brought the matter to the end, and our journey through the cities of China turned out to be truly unforgettable!
However, this disadvantage can be contrasted with four advantages:
The experience of travel planning will make you a “pro” in the tourism business, and the preparation of subsequent trips will seem like child’s play;
having learned how to independently organize long trips, you will be able to give good advice to your friends and acquaintances, which will “raise” you high in their eyes and complement the strengthened self-confidence; while planning a trip, you will learn a lot about the country or city where you are going to go, and you can also find absolutely incredible places that the guides are silent about;
The greatest pleasures of travel are preparation and memories of the trip. Is it worth depriving yourself of one of these pleasures?
Language barrier. Could you have difficulty communicating with native speakers in your chosen country? Certainly. But is it really worth worrying about this if you remember that more than one billion people around the globe speak elementary English!
Security. Weather disasters, crime, domestic injuries, and exotic diseases. You can (and should!) Ensure yourself against the latter by specifying what kind of vaccination you need to undergo before traveling to the selected country, as well as having made medical insurance in advance. All other troubles are almost as likely to threaten you at home. Elementary precautions that should be taken on the basis of the recommendations of experienced travelers who are familiar with the specifics of the color and mentality of the chosen country are the best guarantee of your safety.
Not going on an independent trip yet? Make up your mind!
And we have prepared for you many interesting articles that will help you in planning your independent trip.
The best tour operator is committed to making you feel at home abroad. But is it interesting? The main reward from independent travel for you will be the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the chosen country, which is very rarely possible for tourists who are led on a leash by a guide!