Independent Travel Vs Bus Tours
Being a rookie in traveling and backpacking could raise many questions and worries, one of which is definitely about the kind of tour you’d like to participate in.
«Be a part of a tour group or choose to go solo? » seems to be a never ending phrase that goes on and on in your mind an answer. I know I felt so stressed and tense over this very same issue, before my first adventure out in unknown lands, a couple of years ago.
Being apprehensive is absolutely natural with Independent Travel Vs Bus Tours, so don’t be alarmed or feel that you are not just meant for it. If you have reached a phase in your life that your worry comes down to that one question mentioned before then trust me: You ARE meant for it. Just need a kick off start to keep it rolling!
I am sure you have all heard or read stories of horror on TV, magazines, friends and family members about how bad and dangerous the world out there is, but I can assure you that the world is NO more hazardous that the grounds you walk on every day, if you know what to do, how and when. It all comes with experience, the more you travel the more you learn if you pay attention and listen to what others that have been there have to say about safety measures.
Of course, travelling with other people and a knowledgeable guide that can show you around sounds safer, but as soon as you learn the basics and feel comfortable walking on foreign soils, you will get the hang of it and try the more liberal
version of travelling, even for just once!
To be honest, it took me some serious time thinking as to how to start my traveling adventures, a lot of digging in the internet and many hours talking to gurus of the field. Finally, I did what I always do in cases I face a dead end: I try to make a list of the pros and cons of whatever it is I have to reach a decision for. Being well-organized means that you are almost one step ahead of any condition and prepared the most you possibly can.
So, let’s start by taking first things first…
An important issue that comes up whenever people have to decide if they will follow a group tour or independent traveling is that bus tours are usually more expensive and that is a solid fact no one can deny. It makes sense though; as you have to pay for your guide, the bus driver, etc.
On the other hand, if you could track down a tour company that has some really good deals, like the one I got for myself while traveling to Egypt 2 years ago, you can balance your money and enjoy the luxuries of a bus, a tour guide, a nice and decent hotel and so on. There are many companies that offer backpackers’ budget deals that could just do the job for you, so reach out for them. The internet is loaded with information and tour companies sending out the best they’ve got to all potential or passionate travelers and backpackers.
Another issue that is raised when traveling as a part of a group is that if you happen to experience an unfortunate incident, like for example losing your watch on foreign grounds, you are more likely to get proper attention to your problem and probably solve it. This won’t happen easily if you are completely alone.
Having complete freedom to spend your money at exactly what you wish for is a benefit that backpackers can enjoy. There are people that need not much food or a cozy hotel room to feel good when away from their homeland, as life is an adventure to them they want to experience it at its mosts. Others feel like camping and being close to nature, thus saving money (no, that’s not the reason they do it, but it’s just a money-saving factor to mention). Of course you run the risk of getting your food from sources that are not very reliable (how could you have known that a restaurant or a street vendor is not actually well-respected in that particular area, anyway?), thus being prompt to various health conditions.
Personally, I am a group person; just enjoy being around people, getting to know different personalities and lifestyles and having fun. I also hate eating alone or walking by myself in streets that are full of people and are meant for people, nor I fancy climbing a mountain without having someone to share the view from its top. But, that’s just me…
I remember the time I went on a bus tour to France.There were 20 of us and we got along so well that with most of them I have kept in touch, send Christmas cards and have traveled to other destinations as backpackers afterwards and had a great time! But I must admit, this is quite a long shot…
All in all, you will always have someone to talk to and chat when bus touring, no matter what. If you feel sick or have a health condition there is always someone close that would care as much as to give you a hand, so I go for group travel, but then again….that is just me!
However, there are many people that really need some time off everything and just set off on a journey to the unknown, and that is what makes it perfect for them, not knowing where they will sleep and which country of city will welcome them every sunrise. For them, having a companion means not a great deal as all they want is some peace of mind and solitude.
There is another version of the story, though. Traveling solo means that you will probably be staying in backpackers hostels. If you are among the lucky ones you will have found a really nice hostel to spend your nights and rest with great atmosphere. The best thing is that you have a strong chance to make lifelong friends while staying there, due to the nature of this accommodation. The bad thing is that you never know which hostel is really qualitative, even if it has got great ratings, unless you see for yourself.
It is for sure that you do meet people out and about even when backpacking, like on the bus, in the bar etc but the main source for meeting other people is definitely the hostel.
Both states and needs and are perfectly fine. Who could judge other people’s needs, anyway? So, all you need to clarify is what do you REALLY need…and just go for it!
If you reserve a place in a bus tour that the tour company has put some serious effort so as to make it interesting and fun, then you probably would have a blast! There are two actual scenarios. One is that your guide is a heck of a person and you end up chuckling at your co-travelers’ jokes while learning about the place and having fun and the other one is that you are part of such a dull and monotonous tour that you’d probably feel stuck in a bus with a bunch of other mates, checking at your watch every minute until the end of it. However, I believe that tours that address to backpackers are more appealing as the target audience is young and lively people
with a lustrous need to have fun and make the best of life.
While going solo, you make your own fun, since you have the flexibility to change anything that you feel like boring and turn it into an exciting activity. Moreover, you can make your own plans that can be changed or adjusted to your particular desires at that moment, giving you the lead of your own fun, since you got complete control of it.
(BUS TOUR vs INDEPENDENT TRAVEL)
As previously written, safety is something you can find anywhere in both travel options, if you know what to look out for and how to get yourself protected, which is just the same as when you are at home, just a little bit more enhanced. You wouldn’t walk alone late at night in your town, so why do it on foreign lands? That is what I am talking about. Modesty and precaution. There are many ways so as to be protected while traveling but this is not the place to list them as the reason of this article is different.
- SEEING AND GETTING THE MOST OF A PLACE
Well, this one depends solely on your available time when visiting a place and the way you fancy travelling. Personally, I really enjoy travelling alone bit when I step foot on my destination I wouldn’t say no to a group tour. That way I can get to see the most of a place in a faster pace than doing so alone.
On the other hand, if what you really want is to experience the place or country rather that just see it then I’d definitely go for independent travelling, as there is no one more aware of my needs and desires than myself.
So, it is clear that it eventually all comes to you and you alone. Think of your needs and try to picture the best way to satisfy them. Get the most of what you have chosen, be prepared (to the extent that such is possible, modesty is a virtue after all, no need to overdo with precaution)and just let yourself go and have fun.
When you do…you can always drop a line and let the rest of us know!
Enjoy your trip!