No tour, no problem

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When you travel independently, you get to choose the pace, relaxed or jam-packed

While there’s certainly a time and place for guided travel, I’m a big proponent of independent travel.

It is easier to do what you want when you want to do it. It’s cheaper (so you can travel more!). It keeps more of your money in the local economy (a key component of responsible tourism and one of the ways of preventing the world’s tourist destinations from becoming exact replicas of each other). You’re much more likely to have an enriching experience where you can interact with local people and learn about their language and culture (as opposed to hanging out exclusively with people who are pretty much exactly the same as you, and seeing things that someone else thinks you should see).

The challenge with independent travel is that it takes more planning (and/or comfort flying by the seat of your pants!). This isn’t always easy:

  • Lots of travel information encourages you toward organized travel — to book through a western tour operator, to buy an all-inclusive package, to stay at chain hotels, and to book a group tour for seeing the sites. There’s a time and a place for this kind of travel, but certainly not for every destination or for every trip.
  • Plus, the internet likes to make you think that most places are unsafe or too difficult to do on your own. This is rarely true.

As a frequent solo traveller (and travelling whilst female, at that), I can vouch for the fact that there are very few places where you need a tour.

Of course, independent travel does depend on your comfort level with making your own decisions and for having the time and patience to fix things when mistakes inevitably happen. But the mistakes are rarely serious, and they often have the added bonus of introducing you to something you wouldn’t have seen or experienced if everything had gone according to the original plan.

So, to help guide you on your independent travels, check out my destination page for where you’re thinking about going, as well as my travel practicalities page.

These articles are also specifically aimed at independent travellers:

Johanna Read travel writer in Lima Peru TravelEater.net

It’s easy to make friends when you travel independently, and they’ll kindly take photos of you too (#BanTheSelfieStick). Thanks to Christian Dobereiner for showing me around Lima, Peru and taking this photo of me.

  • Stuff I like, including World Nomads travel insurance, Tangerine banking to avoid foreign transaction fees, and RoadID safety bracelets.

What tips do you have for successful independent travel?

Where do you think it pays to take an organized tour or package instead of travelling independently? 

Responsible tourism Johanna Read TravelEater.net.jpg

It’s ok, independent travel is easier than you think

6 responses to “No tour, no problem

  1. I like the idea of having my money help local people, and not some big hotel or restaurant chain in the US or Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think so too Avril — when you just need a relaxing beach vacation, a charter package is easy to book and usually a great price too. I’m just back from a press trip to Cuba with Sunwing Vacations and Melia Hotels and Resorts. Wonderful hotels and Sunwing has well-priced flights from Canada to all the Caribbean hot spots. Watch for articles to come! :-)

      Like

  2. Completely agree. but sometimes I’m nervous without having someone else take care of the organising.

    Liked by 1 person

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