in the planning of my RTW adventure, I thought significant options of the solo backpack, or booking in an organized tour. On my trips ago, I did a combination of organized tours and solo hiking and both have their good and bad points.
TOURS – ORGANIZED THE GOOD…
time poor – If you have only a limited amount of time to travel, then a tour is perfect because you will be able to travel and see all the things you want, without the hassle of organizing the trip yourself.
new friends – people who book a tour with a specific company all have generally similar interests. I made some amazing friends through organized visits and still, to this day, stay in touch with them.
you can be lazy – once you’ve booked your trip, paid and your suitcase, you don’t need to worry about a thing! You are indeed paying the tour company to deal with transport, meals, accommodation and all the hassles involved in his travels.
TOWERS – HELD THE WRONG…
socially inept – each round has someone on the circuit that will drive you nuts. In India, I was traveling with two friends and because there was 3 of us in total, we had to substitute share a room with another woman. Unfortunately this female was an elderly woman who had no awareness of self and was clearly an inexperienced traveler, some of the ‘ interesting experiences we had with her included:
- she did not close the door when she went to the bathroom, I would never go to the bathroom with the door open, especially when I knew just the person for a few weeks…»
- she brought not enough first aid and medication supplies, unfortunately she came down with a slight cold / flu and have used all the world drugs and she never offered to replace it. When we went past a chemist, it was inconsiderate of what she don’t even think to buy their own supplies.
- she forgot his torch now on this tour we were camping along the Ganges for several days and a torch was essential. So whenever she went to the bathroom, she borrowed my headlamp, the problem was that she put it on the head in sweat and handed to wet me… YUCK!
- she has hung up his underwear all over the bathroom and in my chair and the bed, it was not a pleasant experience having to move him on poofy pants size whenever I wanted to sit down…
- she would leave the hotel with the key, there are several times when I was stranded outside my room and had to wait for his return, rule number 1 of a tour is always leave the key at the front desk when you go out.
people who do not read the travel notes – of the visits that I made, I met two travelers, who should never have booked on the types of trips they made. The first meeting was in Thailand, there was a young English couple on the tour, they had never traveled outside of Britain and were both very young. They winged, moaned, cried and did not enjoy themselves and almost everything in their power to leave the rest of us knew that they did not know the experience. This couple took the time to read the travel notes, they probably would be given what they were getting themselves in and perhaps reconsidered their travel.
waiting, waiting & waiting for – now because tourist officials are well aware that the people are always late, whenever you leave your hotel or meet as a group, the tour leaders say always present at least 1/2 hour before the time of the meeting. That’s fine if you’re the kind of person who always runs late, but for the rest of us this means waiting around the lobby for what seems like forever!
backpack – good
- you do not have to answer to anyone, if you don’t like a place, you can just leave, if you wish, you can stay!
- you encounter incredible minded people along the way, hang out in the hostels and having a beer in the lounge can introduce you to some amazing people
- it’s very inspiring to hear what other people have done and are doing, my addition to travel came out to hear other stories from people on what they have done!
- other backpackers are generally very attentive and eager to meet new people and share their experiences
- it’s cheaper! You do not pay a premium for a tour company, a tour guide and accommodation so you can reduce costs as you wish, stay in a nicer hotel or a less expensive hotel if that suits you!
- If you get drunk and make a fool of yourself, you can just pass! You don’t need to treat everyone the next day!
- , it is easier to have a holiday romance! One of the most amazing books I’ve ever had was when I finished my tour in Thailand and backpack around during a week, I met a wonderful American man that followed me to Bangkok, then to the Australia! I could not have a love story in an organized tour, especially a scope as if things get complicated, it can make the clumsy trip!
backpack – bad
, sometimes you want to just have someone take your picture! If you can’t find someone for side trips, you end up having a large number of self-portraits that are not exactly flattering!
it can be frustrating sailing around cities and countries yourself when you don’t speak the language. Especially if you’re white and travel in an Asian country, people know you’re a tourist and can take advantage of this.
- you are a target, as a female, you can be a target of male advances and this can be quite daunting if you do not have the confidence to deal with.
- , it can be lonely, if you don’t find friendships along the way, you can end up spending a lot of time alone that can sometimes be fun, but it’s very nice to share experiences with other people.
- If you get sick, you’re on your own, there is nobody to bring drugs or take care of you!
- when you go home, you don’t have to share your experiences with everyone, when traveling with a partner that you can always talk about the things that you did, or you can email others to leave your tour and stay in touch. But when you travel solo, the reality is that no one really cares what adventures you have been up to, they pretend they are, but they are not really interested!
overall, there are advantages and disadvantages for both walks and visits organized for my trip I will be do a combination of these two n at the beginning, but when I’m done in Africa, it is my intention to go solo for the rest of my trip and meet some new and exciting people along the way!