Do you prefer a package tour or making your trip?

Travel Forums General Talk Do you prefer a package tour or making your trip?

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21. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1489 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

It's wise to consider all the options to get you where you want to go. Organized tours might be the solution for destinations and activities that would be difficult, if not impossible, for you to organize on your own; and perhaps do so at a reasonable price. I considered going on my own to Papua New Guinea, where I wanted to travel into the interior, including the Sepik River; and visit the Trobriand Islands. It was a logistical nightmare. There aren't many roads in Papua New Guinea and the same goes for Kamchatka, in Russia's Far East. While you can try to find someone with a 4WD in Petropavlovsk to take you into the interior to hike volcanoes and see brown bears, it's easier with a local tour company that also can arrange for helicopters to ferry you to places such as Kurilskoye Lake and the Valley of the Geysers.

Organized tours also can be helpful to introduce you to destinations that you might not want to do initially on your own. I used an organized "adventure" tour for my first trip in Africa. It was a road trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls with a mixed-age group. I went on two more with the same company (from Kenya to Uganda to see mountain gorillas and from Kenya to Victoria Falls). After the trips, I felt comfortable enough traveling on my own in southern and East Africa. I plan to continue to use organized "adventure" tours in West and Central Africa, particularly to remote destinations such as the Tibesti mountains of Chad.

A cruise may be the only way you'll get access to destinations that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to get to on your own. These include most of the sub-Antarctic islands of Australia and New Zealand; some of the islands of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago; and the South Sandwich and South Shetland islands. Cruises can also take you through the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz and the Northwest Passage. They can even take you to the North Pole!

Cruises and organized tours offer the opportunity to make friends. I had dinner Tuesday at the Indio, California, home of a couple I met on a cruise two years ago in the western Pacific (the Northern Marianas, the Solomons, etc.).

But as described in previous posts, organized tours, especially larger ones, can be problematic.

I continue to use organized tours and cruises. I've booked an August cruise to eastern Greenland and Jan Mayen island. I've also booked a November cruise that will take me through the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz. Next April, I've booked a cruise on an icebreaker to the Weddell Sea, South Georgia and the South Shetland and South Sandwich Islands.

But I'm also planning to do trips on my own, including parts of India that I've never visited before, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

So consider the options. Don't rule out anything. Be flexible.

22. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 234 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Wise words, Berner. I do agree that there can be very good reasons for booking the escorted package tour, for one hour, one day or many days.

There's no wrong answer unless it's wrong for the individual taking/paying for the trip, eh?

23. Posted by GeorgeRodriguez (Budding Member 6 posts) 2d Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your detailed insight, Berner. I tend to travel alone and plan my trips to my liking. However, there's only so much I can do when visiting a destination for the first time. I'll have a general idea of what I want to experience but I also want to be exploring non stop when traveling. Personally, an organized tour just helps me fill up the time with the main attractions that a city/country has to offer. At the same time, depending on how long my trip is, I like spending time exploring by myself at my own pace. Only introverts of this forum will understand. In summary, organized tour or not, depends on what you're trying to accomplish on your trip and how much effort and budget you're willing to put into it.