Travel independently - ditch the mass tour operators!
So it is time to book your next vacation and it might seem like a good idea to book a package holiday through one of the big tour operators. After all, you can get your flight, hotel, food and drink, and all your excursions sorted in one swift move, meaning you do not need to do any of the hard work, because surely it is hard work? Actually, if you decide to book everything yourself separately, you would find that it is not hard work at all; in fact, with the internet and its multitude of options, it is now easier than ever to tailor your own trip to suit your needs, desires and budget. But this is not the only reason why you should consider organizing your own travel itinerary. Here is a guide on the reasons why you should plan your trip independently and how you can go about it.
Why you should travel independently
Travelling independently saves you money
When you see the prices for holiday packages offered by the big tour operators, it might seem like you are getting a good deal. However, there are massive savings to be had if you book everything separately. It is a well-known fact that flights tend to be cheaper when you fly during the earlier part of the week – but most package holidays fly at the weekends, which will instantly add to the price of the package. And if we also consider that price comparison sites often offer fantastic discounts, using these sites for your flight as well as your accommodation can significantly bring the price of your trip down, meaning you will have more money to spend when you actually arrive at your destination.
There are fewer restrictions
If you look through any brochure or website of a big tour operator, you will find that their package holidays are full of restrictions: they tell you the day you will depart, which flight you will catch and, to some extent, where you will stay.
There is a degree of inflexibility when booking a package tour. However, this is easily overcome by planning your trip by yourself. By booking everything yourself, you will be able to leave and come back on the dates that you want, choose the time of your flight, and stay wherever you want to stay. In addition what is important, and not the last reason, if travel indepently with local tour providers, you can get to the places you will never get with mass tour operators!
It is better for trips of irregular lengths
Very much connected with the previous point, big tour operators often have very standard holiday lengths, which tend to be seven nights or 14 nights, with occasional ten-day vacations available. Although it may be possible for a lot of people to travel for these lengths of time, it is not that convenient for everybody; some people want to take an extended holiday of a month or even more, some just have a few days to fit their trip into.
However long you want to travel for, booking your trip by yourself offers greater flexibility on the nights you want to stay.
You get greater accommodation options
When you book through a tour operator, you are generally going to be put in a huge resort hotel. Granted, you will probably have great facilities, but these hotels do not tend to have much charm and are just designed to accommodate large numbers of holidaymakers rather than giving any insight into the place where you are staying. By booking independently, a whole host of other accommodation options open up to you. Do you want the chance to meet other travellers while you are on the road? Think about staying in a backpacker hostel.
Would you prefer to have your own space with the added bonus of all the creature comforts you would have at home? Try a website specifically for private holiday lets. If it is a more traditional experience you are looking for, there are many homestays and guest houses that cater to foreign travellers. Or if it is the great outdoors you love, camping is the perfect solution. Whatever your accommodation needs, you can be sure you will find something to suit you – and often at a significantly lower price than what you would pay when booking a package holiday.
You have the chance to eat where you want
A lot of package holidays include at least some food and drink in the price, if not all your meals, which can make them seem very attractive. But surely part of the point of visiting another country is getting the chance to sample the cuisine it has to offer? Eating and food are huge parts of every culture on the globe, so why would you not want to experience it as part of your trip?
One of the best ways of doing this is by checking out the local restaurants, where you can try a whole array of dishes that you may not get when eating at a resort hotel. Of course, you can visit other restaurants in your destination if you book a package tour as well, but you will be paying twice for your meals if you do so, and you will also be missing out on an important cultural experience.
Excursions will be tours by locals rather than big companies
Booking a package holiday means your money is going into the pockets of big corporations – and that also includes any excursions that you take when you are away on your trip. We are currently living in an era where more and more of us are realizing the importance of making sure that our money goes into the local communities and there is no better way of doing this than to take tours by locals. But this is not the only reason why you should book tours by locals.
Those of you who have taken excursions through big tour companies will know the drill: you are put on a coach with many other holidaymakers, dropped off, marched around as part of a massive group, and then it is back on the coach to go back to the hotel. It is definitely fair to say that they are not really the most authentic experiences. However, when using independent booking agents like TripsPoint, you get unique tours by locals which offer interesting experiences and the chance to discover local ways of life, culture and traditions.
You can book multi-day excursions
If you have booked a package holiday through a big tour operator, any excursions you take will generally only be half-day or full day trips. When you book your trip independently, however, you can make the choice of taking multi-day excursions, giving you more chance to experience local culture.
TripsPoint offer a variety of multi-day trips through different tour operators for durations of three, five, seven, 15, and even more days in different destinations of the world where you will never get with the mass tour operators. An example - Tanzania. Extremely beautiful and safe country and a paradise for wildlife lovers. As part of these tours, you get everything included in the price, including accommodation, transport and, in some cases, food, and you will even get transfers to and from the airport or other pick-up point of your choice.
You will get a sense of achievement
Going through one of the big tour companies is easy. You just choose which package tour you want, pay the money, and everything is organized for you. But, let’s face it, that is pretty boring and not really satisfying.
If you book everything yourself, especially if it is the first time you have done it, you can gain a lot of confidence and belief in yourself when you travel independently rather than with a big tour company. It also helps to develop your research skills, making you a more savvy traveller.
How to book and travel independently
Use flight comparison sites
Nowadays flight comparison sites are big business, all of them competing with each other to get travellers to book through them rather than anyone else. This is good news for you; it means flight prices are becoming more and more competitive so there is a higher chance of getting a great deal. There are plenty of flight comparison sites to choose from, and it is worth comparing a few of them rather than just choosing one so you can get the best deal. You can even sign up for alerts from the different sites so you receive notifications if there are any changes in flight prices, possibly meaning bigger savings for you.
Use a hotel booking site or book your accommodation directly through the provider
Just like flight comparison sites, there are also a plethora of sites where you can get great options and prices on accommodation. Which site you use will largely depend on the kind of accommodation you want. There are specific websites for anyone who wants to stay in a private room in a home or to have an entire apartment to themselves, and they have some great deals for what you get for your money. If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, hostel or guest house, there are a number of sites that you can use that regularly offer discounts to potential guests. All of the sites have their advantages, but it is worth looking for the ones which offer free cancellation on most properties, which is useful if there are any last-minute changes to your trip. If it is a homestay you want, there are plenty of local operators where you can book these, depending on your destination.
Whichever accommodation option you decide to go for, it is definitely worth looking through the reviews. Doing this can help you determine whether the accommodation you have chosen is worth the money you are going to pay for it and make sure you are going to be staying somewhere decent.
Consider travel insurance
It probably is the most boring part of booking a trip, but it is very important. The great thing about purchasing travel insurance when you travel independently is that you get to choose what cover you have. If you are not travelling with much baggage and not for too long, you can opt for a basic policy; if your trip is going to involve lots of extreme sports, you can go for a policy which includes this. Once again, use price comparison sites to compare travel insurance companies.
Book your excursions with local operators through TripsPoint
As was mentioned previously, booking your excursions and tours through local and independent operators will give you a more meaningful travel experience and contribute to the local people and economy in the country you are visiting. There are all kinds of tours by locals to choose from. Here at TripsPoint, we offer the following kinds of tours in a variety of destinations through various local operators: city tours; boat trips; sport activities; wine tasting tours; amusement park tickets; shows and entertainment; and many more. When you book your tours through TripsPoint, you can guarantee that you will get an authentic experience with our partners in your chosen destination.
If you are looking to book a multi-day tour and are thinking it seems more complicated than booking a day tour, do not worry. Booking your multi-day trips through TripsPoint could not be easier. Just browse through our selection of tours by locals offered by a number of operators worldwide, choose the one which takes your fancy, pick the date you want to begin your trip, and pay your deposit; that is all there is to it.
Booking all the components of your trip separately might seem like it takes more time, but it really is simple to do and, when comparing with booking your trip through a big tour operator, the pros really do outweigh the cons. You have full control and flexibility over when you arrive, where you stay, where you go, and which trips you book, as well as saving yourself money and contributing to the communities you are travelling in. When you organize your holiday independently, especially if you are using TripsPoint to book your trips, you will find you have a more fulfilling, exciting and interesting time – as well as save money and give more back to the communities you are visiting.