Jennifer, i think the most important thing for you to keep in mind, is what kind of travel do YOU like? Are you comfortable being alone? or do you prefer the company of other people? Do you have a time constraint? Is money an issue? I can guarantee that if you take off to travel the world alone, you will meet more people than if you traveled with a friend. There are many benefits to solo travel and getting to know yourself, your limitations, your strengths will never become more clear than when you're solely dependent upon yourself in remote locations. But if you're hesitant to take off by yourself, why not try an an adventurous escorted trip to get yourself started and then move on alone from there? I ended up on a 30 day African overland b/c I thought I should go on safari during my RTW trip and it was the biggest bang for my buck. I did the trip with a friend, but ended up making new friends for life, and meeting my husband. So go figure!
Personally, I am not a big fan of escorted tours. I prefer to rock up to my destination and figure it out when I get there. That doesn't mean I arrive with a great deal of ignorance though, as I have usually researched my destination to a certain degree while deciding I wanted to go there. I find I save time and money and its well worth my independence. That being said, I have found great deals that were offered as part of a package that were very worth while. Go with your gut and you can't go wrong...and then venture out from there! Good luck and happy travels!
Absolutely in agreement with the previous post. If you think you even have an inkling of wanting to do it yourself, but you're just dealing with all the "what ifs", then just go for it!
In the past, I looked at booking an escorted tour group, much like the one you described there - independent travellers all hooking up together - but in the end, I knew deep down I'd much prefer to go it alone.
You learn so much about yourself when you brave it. You'll be shocked at what you can accomplish and how outgoing you can be in order to meet people.
At the end of the day, tour companies just take a lot of money from you for providing a service that you ultimately don't really need. On the other hand, if you think you could spend your whole holiday/trip worrying and stressing about the organisation of it, then that's when tours are great!
Maybe if you're considering somewhere a bit more daunting like Africa or the Middle East, you could book a tour just for that leg of your trip and do the rest of it independently
Whatever you decide, best of luck - my advice is go for it yourself - it's the best adventure you'll ever have!
Maybe if you're considering somewhere a bit more daunting like Africa or the Middle East, you could book a tour just for that leg of your trip and do the rest of it independently.
I do not find travelling around the Middle East daunting at all. It is not much harder to do than Thailand or SE Asia. Especially backpacking it around Egypt is a piece of cake as long as you got the Lonely Planet and be aware of ripp-offs. (The touts are a nightmare and have absolutely no shame when it comes to being greedy.)
The reason I started out doing it alone was that I wanted to go to Israel but knew I could never afford a guided package tour there. Then one day I found the Lonely Planet Israel in a bookstore and it blew my mind away. I bought it on the spot, took invention of my finances and realised that with the information in this book and the money in my bank account I could afford to tour Israel. It was empowering. I even combined my trip with a semester abroad at An-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine which I would not have done otherwise.