• 3 March 2020

There are all kinds of different ways to travel the globe. Choosing the best travel style depends on a few things: your preferences, who you are travelling with, where you are going and the kind of trip you’re embarking on. While some people prefer to travel independently others love experiencing guided tours. 

If you are planning on doing a big trip somewhere, then figuring out how you will be travelling is the first and most important step.  Deciding whether you do it alone, as part of a group, or a combination of both is a choice you will need to make.

Let’s explore the different paths that you can take when travelling and the benefits of each option: 

Guided tours

Taking a fully guided tour can be an excellent decision. Guided travel is when you join a group and follow a specific itinerary. The tour will be led by a guide that will take you to all of the top sights and attractions along the way usually with transport, accommodation and certain attractions and experiences included. There are many different types of guided travel tours that you can choose from, depending on your personality and preferences. 

Guided tours offer the most when it comes to convenience. The details are all taken care of by the travel company. All you need to do is join the group, and everything else is already planned out for you. This can be very useful if you are visiting an unfamiliar destination, are travelling solo for the first time, or if you simply want to see more of the world without the hassle of intricate planning! Guided tours allow for a completely smooth and carefree travel experience. 

The guided tour option also means that you will be guaranteed to visit some of the most desirable places in your destination. Your experienced tour guide will know exactly what kind of itinerary is best. Also, they will make sure that you don’t miss out on a thing! 

A guided group tour exploring and interesting city
A guided group tour exploring and interesting city
Who are guided tours best for? 

These tours can be suitable for practically anyone – as long as you choose the right tour. However, guided tours don’t offer the same amount of freedom that some travellers desire. 

Organized travel tours come in all shapes and forms. You could do a backpacker tour (popular for those who are looking for tours of Europe), tours aimed towards family travel, niche interest tours (such as bird watching trips), and everything in between. 

Affordable guided tours are also a great option for those on a budget – as you know exactly what is included to help your financial planning

Guide tells about sights to the group of tourists
Guide tells about sights to the group of tourists
Self-guided tours

Self-guided tours can be thought of as ‘travel alone tours’ because you will be by yourself. However, your travels will not be entirely independent. A self-guided tour follows a very specific itinerary that has been pre-planned. 

They are like going on a guided tour, just without the group or the guide. 

When you embark on a self-guided adventure, you will already have the following planned out:

  • Where you will stop
  • When you will stop
  • Accommodation
  • Information on the route
  • Certain amenities along the way

Self-guided tours are arranged by a travel company, but they rely on the traveller to get themselves around. However, these tours can still include things like transfers and pre-arranged transport. 

Great examples of independent travel tours include popular trekking routes or self-guided drives. In these, the maps and itineraries are clearly planned in advance, with exact information on where to stop and where to stay. However, you will navigate this alone as you go. 

Self-guided tours with friends and family
Self-guided tours with friends and family
Who are self-guided tours best for? 

Doing an independent tour is appealing to those that want their own freedom, but still like to be organized. This is a great option for anyone visiting a destination that they don’t know much about or a place that is very foreign to them. 

Taking a self-guided tour is also recommended for first-time, single travellers and those backpacking alone for the first time. Independent travel packages figure all the details out, but they put you in charge. 

Tourists walking in La Plaza Mayor with traveler guide
Tourists walking in La Plaza Mayor with traveler guide
Independent travel

Independent travel can take many different forms. The image we all have of this is a wild solo backpacker, all alone in the world with their backpack. This is a popular form of independent travel, but it can definitely look different. Basically, this kind of trip involves no tour company, guide, or any outside help what-so-ever. 

Travelling independently means that you have planned the holiday, and made all arrangements by yourself. This could mean arriving in a country with no plans, itinerary or agenda, and figuring it out as you go along. It could also mean pre-planning every stop, train ticket, hotel stay and meal in advance – but, planning it without outside assistance.

Independent travel can be done alone, with groups of friends, or as a family. The benefits of this kind of travel style include total freedom and doing things on your own terms. You don’t have to wait for others in the group, or stick to an itinerary if you would rather do something else. 

The downside to independent travel is that it will involve a great deal of planning and research. It is also easier to miss out on certain attractions, hotspots only locals know about, and you could run into difficulties along the way with no option of first-hand expert assistance from a company. 

Independent traveller out sightseeing in a historical city
Independent traveller out sightseeing in a historical city
Who is independent travel best for? 

This kind of travel style is best suited to those with previous experience of global travel. It works for people that enjoy being in charge of their own agenda, and those that want the freedom to choose what to do each day. 

Another benefit of independent travel is that you can better customize your trip as you go, to suit things like unpredictable weather conditions. 

Whether you are looking to see more of the world with like-minded travellers on a group tour, are seeking independent travel in Europe, or just want to hit the road without any plans, then there is a travel style for you. 

Hiker poses in front of mountain peaks
Hiker poses in front of mountain peaks

Before embarking on a trip, understand the kind of experience that you want to get out. This is one of the first travel questions that everyone should ask.  This will help you have the best time possible!  

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