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    Pros and cons of guided tour vs independent travel

    Pros and cons of guided tour vs independent travel

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    Guided tour vs independent travel – which is better for your trip? When it comes to planning a holiday, one of your first decisions will be to choose between the freedom and independence of a self-drive holiday or the curated convenience and camaraderie of a guided tour. We have looked at the benefits and drawbacks of both options to help you decide which one is best suited for your next adventure:

    Independent, self-drive holiday


    • Freedom to get out of your comfort zone

    RV independent travel trip

    A self-drive holiday lets you choose your own adventure, get off the beaten track to find places that captivate you, and tweak your itinerary as you go. There are no fixed schedules to stick to, so you’re free to explore hidden gems, potter about in local markets or spend an hour or two just contemplating the beauty of an unexpected view. Even your mode of transport is up to you – will it be a stylish convertible, a kitted-out RV, or maybe even a canal boat? This independent style of holiday is all about maximising spontaneity, freedom and flexibility, while ticking items off your bucket list.

    • The ultimate in customisation

    If you like your holidays to be designed around a specific interest, it can be hard to find group tours that offer the appropriate level of specialisation. The beauty of a self-drive tour is that you are free to create an itinerary around your most niche areas of interest, whether it’s hiking the national parks of the United States or bungy jumping your way around the world.

    • You get to choose who you travel with

    Travelling under your own steam provides the freedom to choose how, when – and even if – you interact with other people. As an independent traveller, you can find the perfect balance between quiet time in which to recharge your social battery and moments of connection and camaraderie.


    • Longer wait times

    The trade-off for all that freedom is that you won’t benefit from the priority access to popular sights and attractions that is often a key feature of the escorted tour experience. Depending on the operator, some even offer entry outside of regular opening hours. Whereas group tours often enjoy the convenience of express access, dedicated entry points, or extended visitor hours, as an independent traveller with a regular admission ticket, you may need to be prepared for long queues.

    • Possible logistical challenges

    Travel planning takes a lot of time and research and then of course you need to be constantly adapting and changing these plans as you are going along (things like buying passes for buses and trains and aligning schedules or even just finding the right station).

    If you’re planning to drive, you need to familiarise yourself with each country’s rules and be able to navigate unfamiliar routes. You’re also solely responsible for time management and ensuring that you get from A to B safely and on time. Your personal travel manager can assist in minimising these challenges by pre-booking your transport arrangements wherever possible and mapping out the key details of your itinerary.

    However, if you’re the designated driver, you’ll still have to decline that lunchtime stein of Bavarian beer or sample of local limoncello.

    • You might worry about feeling lonely if travelling solo

    It’s a big, beautiful world out there and it can feel a little scary to venture out on your own, especially when you’re exploring in a new destination on your own. Having said that, some people find that it’s easier to connect with locals and other travellers when they are travelling independently.


    Guided group tour


    • You’ll get insider knowledge and local tips

    egypt exclusive guided tour

    A huge amount of time and effort goes into hand-picking the sights, activities and experiences that make up an escorted tour itinerary, with every aspect fine-tuned to ensure that you see and experience as much as possible. Your professional tour director has a vast store of on-the-ground knowledge, insider tips and local insights, and they know how to help their passengers feel at ease in unfamiliar surroundings.

    In many cases, an escorted tour comes with the added benefit of exclusive access to unique experiences that are not available to the general public. This could be a lavish cocktail party followed by a private orchestra performance of Mozart masterpieces in the spectacular setting of Viennese palace or an early-morning guided tour of ancient ruins with your own private Egyptologist.

    • You’ll save yourself a lot of time as all the logistics are taken care of

    Everyone suffers from decision fatigue from time to time: a guided tour is an opportunity to let the experts take the wheel while you sit back and enjoy the ride. All the logistical details, from your transportation and accommodation to local activities (and sometimes your meals) will be taken care of – all you need to do is pack your bags, then get ready to soak up the sights.

    There’s no need for you to worry about tackling big-city traffic, or misjudging how long it will take to travel to your next stop, or finding a carpark when you arrive, or missing a pre-booked activity because something unexpected delayed you.

    • You’ll meet like-minded people

    group of women - women yoga retreat

    Travelling with a group allows you to connect with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds. Shared travel experiences can turn strangers into lifelong friends, and a guided tour can help you meet new travelling companions, especially if you are a solo traveller.

    • Increased security

    Guided tours offer an added level of comfort and security, particularly in off-the-beaten path destinations. The group dynamic increases your sense of security when it comes to trying something new, whether it’s a whitewater rafting or sampling an unusual street food. When others in your group are taking part, and/or the cost is also included into your tour, you’re more likely to take that leap. If the idea of travelling with a large group of people is off-putting, talk to your personal travel manager about small group tours with boutique-style tour operators.


    • You won’t have as much flexibility to tweak your itinerary

    The structured nature of a guided tour may mean you have fewer opportunities for independent exploration or impromptu adventures. That’s why it’s important to choose a tour company that works with your preferred budget, travel style (walking tour, luxury, adventure, cultural immersion), group size and degree of flexibility. Your personal travel manager can help you choose the travel company that’s right for you.

    Some of our favourite destinations for guided tours include Egypt, Morocco, Mongolia, Antarctica and Peru.


    Freedom vs security, companionship vs independence, the expertise of a professional guide vs the fun of figuring things out yourself as you go: these are all important factors to consider when choosing your preferred style of holiday. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of each option, your travel agent can help design a holiday that delivers the perfect balance to suit your preferences.


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