The best thing about
Self Travel is that you get to set your own schedule,
planning the locations you will visit
and everything you plan to see and
do. You are not subject to time
constraints that may be imposed on a
guided tour and you are free to deviate
from your planned schedule should you
decide to do so.
Planning a trip on
your own means you are responsible for
everything. You will need to
booking all your required accommodations
as well as all your transportation
including getting to/from your starting
point and any other required travel such
as rail, busses and ferries. You
will be paying for everything separately
including your hotels, transportation,
meals and activities.
If you are
traveling to a single location such as
Paris and are planning to stay in a
single hotel the entire time exploring
the sites, planning will not be that
difficult. Other than arriving and
departing Paris, your only
transportation may be getting to/from
the airport and your hotel as well as
navigating the subway system.
If your trip
involves multiple loctions and
accommodations, planning will be much
more complex as you will need to
coordinate your hotel bookings,
transportation and activities with all
your arrival and departure dates.
You will also need to research how to
navigate around each location including
getting to/from your hotels and sites.
Based on everything you plan to see and
do, you will need to estimate the amount
of time required at each location.
Depending on the
situation, there may be times when the
best thing to do is book a day-trip with a tour company
or in some cases hire a private taxi for
the day. For example, when we were
in Delhi India, we absolutely had no
desire to rent a car and attempt to
drive there. It was far more
economical and safe to simply rent a
private taxi for the day to take us
around to the local sites.
When you plan
your own trip, you are able build in
time for unexpected detours.
Detours can be anything from deciding to
stay longer in a specific location or
stop to explore something you see along
on your own, you will run into people as
you go and depending on where you are
staying and your activities, you may
make some new friends along the way.
When traveling on
your own, you won't get the special
attention tour groups may receive such
as bypassing long lines to enter popular
attractions. In many cases, there
are ways to avoid lines if you know what
to do. You may be able to alter
your entry to an off peak time, make an
on-line reservation for a specific day
and time ahead of your arrival allowing
you to bypass the crowds, purchase a
city pass in some cases, or depending on
the cost, join a day tour group simply
to bypass the entry lines.
You must be more
adventurous to travel on your own as you
will be just that, on your own!
Should anything go wrong, you will have
to deal with it yourself, not having the
help of others or guides in a group.
groups may receive special access to
sites that are not available to the
independent traveler. We have
found that sometimes it can be just the
opposite. We have been on castle
tours as the only couple allowing us to
go at a faster pace than a group would
go. Due to the extra time and the
fact there were only a couple of us, the
guide was able to take us through hidden
areas of the castle where groups do not
With all that we
have said about self-travel, there are
times and locations when traveling with
a tour group makes the best sense.
Although it is entirely possible to
create your own personalized trip
through Egypt, you may feel safer in
such an environment with a group.
With that being said, we have planned
our own self guided trips with some
reserved day-trips to Dubai in the
United Arab Emirates, Beijing China and
through some remote areas of
Transylvania, all without any issues
involves joining a group of travelers
lead by an experienced tour guide.
The entire trip may be planned out for
you including the locations you will
visit as well as the sites you will see
and other activities. There may be
occasional free time but for the most
part everything will be on a strict
All your accommodations will more than
likely be planned out and booked for you
as part of the tour package. For
your transportation, you may be
responsible for booking you main travel
to/from the tour group starting point,
but beyond that all other travel will
more than likely be scheduled and booked
by the tour agency.
expenses are the tour fee, possible
transportation to/from the starting
point, meals not included in the tour
package and any extras you purchase on
basically nothing to plan as everything
has been planned out for you on the tour
including the locations you will visit
your activities and the sites you will
see. You may have the option to
book additional excursions at certain
locations for an additional cost.
Excursions may be self-guided, or you
may be going with others and a guide as
On a guided tour,
the amount of time you have to spend at
each location if very structured.
It's highly improbably that you would be
able to adjust your time to stay longer
somewhere or to stop and explore
something you may see along the way.
typically try to cram as much as they
can into a short amount of time.
You may visit a different location every
day or so, but did you really have time
to take in all there is to offer?
You may also be escorted with a guide at
some locations when the best and most
fun thing to do is explore on your own.
There may be locations where you stop
during the day for a few hours when you
should have stayed the night but were
unable to due to the tight schedule.
With your group,
you will undoubtedly meet new people and
as you interact with them over the
course of your trip, you may make new
friends or travel companions for future
Often tour groups
will receive special attention when it
comes to entering attractions that the
self-traveler will not receive.
They may be able to bypass the long
lines by going directly to the front as
If you are not
comfortable traveling on your own, then
traveling with a group may be the way to
go. There is definitely more of a
feeling of security when traveling with
a group. Also, should anything go
wrong, they are there to help you though
As tour groups
are continually bringing people back to
the same locations, they may have
negotiated special access to certain
sites that other travelers would not be
able to see. By simply being part
of a group, you may get to see and do
things that others may not.
If you have
limited travel experience and do not
feel comfortable traveling on your own,
you may want to consider traveling with
a tour group your first time. This
will give you a taste of what to expect
when visiting different countries and
interacting with people in different
cultures. Once you have completed
your first trip, you may want to try
planning your own personalized
adventure, selecting the locations and
activities you want to see and
Depending on your
comfort level, you may want to start
with a single city trip to somewhere
like London where they speak English and
there is no need to drive as you can
take the train to/from the airport and
only need to navigate the subway system
which is remarkably easy. If you
feel comfortable, plan a day trip to
another location such as Windsor to tour
the town and castle. Later when
you have gained experience and comfort
level has increased, plan more complex
trips to other destinations involving
multiple countries and cities.