It’s that time of year (usually in the dark winter months right after the Xmas season) when everyone seems to be planning their annual holiday. You scan the web pages of the big tour operators and decide on location, dates, and budget and in one swift mouse click, accommodation, insurance, flight, meals, excursions are all sorted. Why on earth would anyone go through the hassle of arranging all of this by themselves? Because independent travel gets you in touch with people of different backgrounds, can be tailored to your specific wishes and needs, is cheaper, more authentic, less bland and sanitised, whilst giving you a deeper sense of travel satisfaction. That’s why.
Also, why would you fly on a package tour that leaves at weekends, when usually flights departing early in the week are cheaper? Why would you stay in a hotel chosen not by you but by your tour provider? Why would you prefer to be surrounded by people with by and large identical backgrounds than you? Why would you restrict yourself to a one or two week holiday, when you really want to travel for 4 weeks (or when you only have a couple of days to spare?) Why eat in a three star hotel complex when the local cuisine has so much to offer? Why join fellow travellers on a tour-bus outing, when you can explore sights at your own pace and leisure? Why go to mass tourist hot spots when you long for peace and solitude? The list goes on and on. Apart from time constraints and convenience, there really is no reason to stick with tour operators. Today’s apps, travel websites and online booking services makes organising your own, tailor-made trip a straightforward exercise. Here are some thoughts.