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View Poll Results: Tour groups vs. travel on your own?
I like to travel with a tour company/group. 0 0%
I like to plan my trips on my own. 23 76.67%
I like a little bit of both (i.e., plan your own trip but have a day-long group tour squeezed in). 7 23.33%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-09-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: London
1,587 posts, read 3,248,933 times
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Do you like a packaged tour group with a planned itinerary, hotels, transportation, guide, activities, etc.? Or do you like to put together trips yourself and explore on your own (not necessarily by yourself, but without the help of a tour company)?

A friend of mine likes the convenience, opportunity to meet other travelers, and generally cheaper option of tour groups, but I prefer to travel independently. I feel that the former option "sanitizes" the destination and you don't really get to immerse yourself as a traveler should. I'm curious to know how others feel.

Which do you prefer and why?
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:41 PM
 
Location: anywhere but here
296 posts, read 553,279 times
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i imagine a group can get discounts and find their way around easier but on my own i can do whatever i want when i want. the only groups i have seen are either elderly or asian. or even both in one.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 2,257,579 times
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I did a tour once and will never do one again. I hated the inflexibility if it even though by most standards it was fairly flexible. There will always be one person who asks stupid questions and one who is always late or gets lost, then dividing bills at group meals drives me mad - esp when you wind up eating somewhere you didn't want to go anyway and people start counting how many drinks they had and who had starters AARRRGGGHHH...or the group ends up eating at middle of the road tourist restaurants who give a tourist menu and chips with everything.

I have planned a tour myself though. arranging for local guides and drivers to meet us at airports and its worked out pretty well esp in China, India and Myanmar where it would be nearly impossible otherwise.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,092 posts, read 5,977,450 times
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Oh do I have an answer..... I have traveled a bit but took a group tour only once, 2 weeks to Spain/Portugal, and it was the WORST experience traveling ever...NEVER, yes NEVER would I do this again.

Please allow me first to say: Spain and Portugal were fabulous...the food, people, coasts, art, history etc.

Being an independent person in general, these are the issues I had with group travel/a particular company. The hotels etc were fantastic.....but:

-on the bus more than anywhere! climbing in and out of that loud & smelly bus multiple times a day....
-wide variety of folks, who never seemed to agree on anything and had snippy comments during the entire trip
-never enough time in any one location: you might have 2 hours to see/walk one city, but you must be back on that dang bus at a certain time. This does not make for fun & exploratory travel.
-seemed to me some were just on the trip to take up time....they seemed bored or made comments like: "if you have seen one cathedral, you have seen them all" .....I at the time, was an art history major so was always annoyed at these dense statements!
-some started drinking alcohol at lunchtime....
-some were bossy or rude or condescending to others and then, if that was not bad enough, all meals (at set times) had to be with this group
-etc etc etc

If you prefer having time to do and stay and investigate or not, whatever you choose and when you choose, don't go.....these groups are not for those like me and anyone else who has a bit of adventure in their blood and might want to interact with those native to the area or to get off the beaten path.

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Old 07-09-2011, 02:49 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,959,094 times
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I plan all of our trips. Always have.
My husband looks at what I've planned and asks questions/adds input.
We are both too independent to sign on with a tour company.

We are 50-somethings, and perhaps someday we'd appreciate a tour group situation. Right now it does not appeal at all.

I do like the occasional guided tour at museums or castles or vineyards--that sort of thing.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,423 posts, read 17,439,889 times
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I've only taken a couple short "group tours" long ago. I like to decide how long to spend at a particular location. That said, my first group tour was to Mexico, and it did provide experiences that I'd never have seen without being part of a tour. They have their advantages.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,433,227 times
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I am an explorer-type. If I find something I like, I want to spend hours at it - be it a castle, a museum, an archaeology dig, a pub, or a motel pool. I don't like being shuttled about, told when and where. If I want to spend three hours at supper, I will.

I go online beforehand and look for cool things to do and places to go. Then when I get there ( I take my laptop everywhere) I go to the motel lobbies, get as much info as I can, then go into my room and plan my next day - and sometimes the next, and the next. You can find out so much more if you immerse yourself in the area and its culture. I also am a talker; I strike up conversations with waitresses, concierges, desk clerks (as long as they are not busy) - even folks on park benches. I have met many fascinating people this way. (The jerks I overlook completely; they are a part of life, move on.)

My DH is always grinning at the amazing little out-of-the-way places I discover, just from scouting about, walking, and chatting with folks! (He's a GrumblyBumblyBear sort with strangers.)

My kids all say, "Mom doesn't get lost - she has adventures!" - and that's the way life's supposed to be!
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:11 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,047,409 times
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I could never do an organised tour. The idea of sharing my holidays with other people I have not chosen to be with is just too weird for me. I would also hate the lack of flexibility and the sense of having to follow someone else's idea of what to do and see.

Travel for me is about independent travel. I have never understood organised travel, cruises , resorts etc...Just not for me.
To me travel is about finding things out for myself, discovering new things around the corner which are not on someone else's "list". I don't want to get up at a given time or stop for lunch at a given time.

I am in control when I travel not someone else. I do all the organising , I always try to involve Hubby but bar the occasional input he always seems quite happy to just turn up and be swept along. I would be more than happy for him to share the organising but I think he prefers not to think about it too much.

We do discuss certain issues obviously and he gets the gist but I am the one reading the guides, looking for B&Bs/Hotels, what to see and do etc.... I think it's fine for him because we basically have similar tastes and expectations. In a way I am his organised tour guide !

I like to explore new places and have a sense of discovery as well, I could not bear to be part of a group for example.It would spoil everything for me.

One of the reasons I love Home Exchanges is that you become albeit for a short period of time part of the place you visit, more like a resident than a tourist. You meet new people, get to experience the local shops as opposed to the touristy ones and it feels more genuine.

There is something contrived and stilted about tours to me. You do not get that flexibility you get with being an independent traveller. I am extremely organised but because there is only two of us , everything is flexible and nothing is ever set in stone.

If we want to go for a drive at two in the morning we just get up and go. If we want to miss out on a museum or want to skip lunch to go to some hot springs instead then there is no issue, no other people to consider. If Hubby wants to suddenly spend the afternoon walking in the hills then I have no problems with that. My itinerary is always open to changes.

My style of travelling is "be organised" and "be prepared" but also highly flexible and accommodating of any new adventures thrown our way. It is always being changed in a way which is how I like it. Get to know the area and what it has to offer before you leave home but know it is always open to being discarded and embrace what is thrown at you.


I have no idea how people manage to spend their vacation stuck on a bus with other people for example, being told what to see and when or when to stop for photo opportunities for example. Lunch and Dinners are pre-set, as are leaving in the morning. Everything is so regimented it would really bug me.
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: NC
4,112 posts, read 3,830,261 times
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independent. more freedom.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,901 posts, read 20,203,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doobage View Post
Do you like a packaged tour group with a planned itinerary, hotels, transportation, guide, activities, etc.? Or do you like to put together trips yourself and explore on your own (not necessarily by yourself, but without the help of a tour company)?

A friend of mine likes the convenience, opportunity to meet other travelers, and generally cheaper option of tour groups, but I prefer to travel independently. I feel that the former option "sanitizes" the destination and you don't really get to immerse yourself as a traveler should. I'm curious to know how others feel.

Which do you prefer and why?
I personally feel that a full-fledged tourist vacation can be too limiting especially if not enough time is allotted to sight see or do things independently ....

For domestic travel to unfamiliar places, I would probably schedule a city sights type of tour at the beginning just to get an overview and highlights of a particular destination then independently do my own thing.

For international travel overseas, I would prefer the safety of a tour especially if I don't know the language and unable to locate a travel buddy that's familiar with the culture/language.
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