Guided Tour versus Independent Travel: Which is the Better Option?

However you look at it, traveling can take plenty of preparation and time to organize and plan. Spontaneous travel does work for some people, but most prefer slightly more planning before they embark on their next big trip. That leaves you with just two main options: organizing everything on your own or going with all the bells and whistles of a guided tour.

Of course, when you plan a tour, you have the option to seek the help of professionals. That is what tour guides are for. However, when it comes to independent travel, you have to have everything from flights and transfers to accommodation organized.

Which kind of travel is the best one for you? Read on this comparison post to arrive at a decision.

Advantages of Guided Tours versus DIY Travel

You have a lot to think about and each section of your trip will come at a separate cost. This can be slightly daunting, especially watching the amounts add up. So what is the alternative?

Conversely, the benefits of a guided tour have most of your travel-related components packaged up. Usually, this includes your accommodation and transfers, alongside lots of sightseeing and meals. While not all guided tours, some include flights and the additional trips and entry fees.

There are guided trips to suit different budgets, ranging from the basic backpacker-style tour to the luxury resort and all-inclusive tours. In addition, you know from the word go how much your guided tour will cost, making it relatively easier to budget compared to self-guided travel.

A guided tour is ideal for newbie travelers, who are unsure where to begin or what they should arrange at their eventual destination. It can be an excellent way for those who need the extra comfort of a crew when traveling. You can make a few great friends when on London guided tours, as well.

There are also downfalls to any guided tour. It gives you a great chance to see a lot of attractions over a short time, but usually, you will get time for only those must-see places. Unless you are taking longer guided trips, you will get up to 3 days at each stop. That means you will miss plenty of less-known places, or maybe do not even get time for all popular ones.

It can also be a rather exhausting tour when you are always on the go, without large breaks in between each stop. Early mornings, late hours and days packed full of things to do and sights to see may not be all that great if you do not have the stomach for the non-stop stuff.

Now, let us run through the pros and cons of each option.

Guided Tours

Advantages:

  • Not difficult to budget for
  • Less to organize yourself
  • You see a lot over a short period of time
  • Different tour packages to suit different needs and budgets
  • Can be more affordable than DIY travel
  • Often includes lots of meals

Disadvantages:

  • Exhausting with little downtime
  • Often big groups
  • Fast-paced, usually with little time to spend at each stop
  • May miss out on the local wonders which you may have otherwise discovered
  • No deviations from a guided tour agenda
  • Can be canceled unexpectedly

Independent Travel

Advantages:

  • Flexibility to plan your trip the way you want to
  • Can decide to spend as little time or as long as you want to at each location
  • More chance for discovering local favorites and hidden wonders
  • Can change your tour plans whenever you wish to

Disadvantages:

  • More planning required
  • Can be stressful
  • Difficult when you do not know what are available at your tour destination with regards to locations, transport and so forth
  • Will need more money for food and all than guided tours
  • Much harder to budget for

Which One Should You Go For?

Your best option depends on what kind of travel you want to do. To determine this, you will have to consider many factors including the following.

  • The amount of time available with you for the tour.
  • The things you wish to see in that time.
  • How slow- or fast-paced you want the tour to be.
  • Whether you want flexibility or structure
  • How much money you wish to spend

Find out your main objectives for the travel and take it from there. In the event you are looking to see a lot with the added convenience of everything being managed for you, then your best option is to take a guided tour.

It is a great choice for short holidays where you wish to cram lots of things in, without needing to bother about how to go from place A to place B daily. It usually incorporates a tour which will take you from one destination to another and accommodation is usually centrally located, adjacent to food, attractions and shopping destinations.

However, if you wish not to hurry, with the ability to be slightly spontaneous and flexible on your holiday, a good option for you is independent travel. At the end of the day, it all depends on your preferences and budget.