To tour or not to tour? The pros and cons of organized trips

There are pros and cons to every travel decision that you explore. When you are backpacking, you can enjoy independence and spontaneity by going it alone, or alternatively you can join a guided tour where you’ll learn all about the attraction thanks to the help of your expert guide.


Among the advantages of going on a guided tour are the following:

  • Safety is very important, and so the tour company will likely take all precautions necessary. This will give you the assurance of safety and security during the time you are away on your trip.
  • A group tour means you’ll have travel companions to share your experiences with.
  • On a group tour, everything is planned for the traveler. All you will need to do is to prepare your clothing and day pack, and make sure you’re on time.
  • You’ll see more in less time as tours are usually very efficient at bringing you to the places stated in their itinerary.

However, it goes without saying there are quite a few disadvantages of going on a guided tour:

  • You can’t pick your tour guide, and not all tour guides are equal. While most are very good, there’s always a few bad eggs
  • A guided tour costs more than traveling independently.
  • Sometimes, there will be additional or optional activities and you need to pay for them, too. Make sure that you know all the costs of your trip before signing up.
  • Since everything is planned for the trip, you need to follow the schedule which means no impromptu parties with the locals or running off to see something that’s not on the tour itinerary.

If you do plan on traveling on your own, you need to take a hands-on approach when organizing your trip, e.g., fulfillment of the requirements for documents needed for the trip, researching for places to stay or visit, hotel reservations, flights, and even learning about the language of the destination. In most cases, it’s essential that you have travel experience and learn more about the place and the culture of the people before you go. You get to decide on your itinerary and what you want to do or where you want to go.

Though there are advantages to traveling independently, there are also consequences to it. These include spending more time to research and arrange booking for your flights, accommodations, etc.; the lack of knowledge in the place, which might put you in an unsafe situation. Even so, these are minor problems that won’t deter the most determined travelers.

The decision of whether or not to join a tour often depends on where you want to go. Some places can be difficult to travel around by yourself, in which case a group tour might be a better way to bring you there. Group tours are good if you don’t have the time to organize and research everything. However, if you want more adventure and independence, then you are better off traveling on your own.