As with everything, there are pros and cons associated when weighing up which form of travel to undertake. Here is my take on it.
Group travel pros
- Transport, accommodation, most meals and some entrance fees are included in the cost so you only need spending money.
- There is less stress because you don’t have to organise the above (which can cause fights with travel partners).
- Group travel gives you the opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers. You can make lasting friendships and even meet the partner of your dreams.
- Many tour companies do not charge single supplements to people travelling on their own.
- Group tours take you to the places you want to see.
- Every tour has a tour leader to assist with any problems, plus provide a rundown on the places you are visiting.
- You do not usually have to carry your luggage around or at least not very far.
- There can be safety travelling in numbers.
Group travel cons
- There is restricted time in each place, thus only providing an overview of each place you visit, which limits you from immersing yourself in the local culture.
- No deviations are allowed to the touring schedule.
- You may unfortunately get stuck with people you have nothing in common with. Iif you don’t like a tour you are not obliged to stay on it, but if you leave of your own accord, you will not receive a refund for the remaining portion of the trip which you did not undertake.
Going it alone pros
- You get the freedom to do as you please and go where you want, when you want and stay as long as you want.
- You are able to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Going it alone cons
- You must carry your luggage around.
- You spend time looking for accommodation (if you haven’t pre-booked) and for places to eat which can be frustrating.
- You may get lost looking for sights (but isn’t that half the fun?).
I chose a combination of travel options. I did a couple of Contiki tours and then did some independent travel on trains and buses. Some times I took a tour and other times I travelled alone. What will you choose? Don’t forget to take out travel insurance.