Just wanted to get some advice. I am planning a 6 month (ish) trip next year, travelling around asia and australia. Originally I was going with a friend, but now it looks like I'll be going alone. Since this will be my first time abroad alone, I was thinking about doing some overlanding and sightseeing with a gap year tour company (particularly places like Japan, China with a language barrier and not as many facilities for travellers as say Thailand) to take some of the hassle out of travelling from A to B and to give me a bit of piece or mind before I leave, as well as doing some travelling solo before and after the tours.
Does anyone have any experience or gap year tours companies and do they think this adds/detracts anything from the experience of travelling?
it depends on what you're more comfortable with. touring companies seem sort of faster-paced, though you see a lot, since they drive you about non-stop, and on your own you have your own time. personally, i like it on my own, since i don't like being shuffled about. what do you like?
I've always travelled on my own, but for our upcoming trip to South Africa we decided the best way to see everything and get the most of our 3 weeks is to go with a tour company. We chose GAP Adventures cause they try to keep things as authentic as possible, with a little camping, group chores, time on your own, and lots of different activities--plus extras you can pay for or pass on. I can't tell you yet how good they are, but the experience so far with booking and planning has been very positive.
If you're gone for 6 months, why not try a group tour for a little bit and see how you like it. You've got nothing to lose! Do what feels best for you. Everyone travels differently.
Good luck--and enjoy!
I agree with the above post in that you should not commit for a long period. Who knows if you'll get along with the group and or tour guide? I'm also considering Gap for a trip next winter to Burma since it's not exactly the easiest of places to travel alone. I just came back from Vietnam 3 weeks ago on a solo trip, and am happy to report that it's a tourist's dream! No kidding, the local people's kindness is what really sets Vietnam apart from many other places, and the tourist industry there is very well developed and it's very easy to go on your own. However, I must say that being older, I'm 64, having companions would have been even better! Australia is also a very easy place to travel, and I would imagine that Japan would be also regardless of the language barrier (I can't afford Japan or Korea). Don't overlook Intrepid Tours either - I read glowing reports of this Australian company. In many of these places, it's so easy to hook up with other travelers (In Vietnam I met all sorts of people from around the world, and have developed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.)