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The Traveller's Magazine
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Surely there is a certain ideal to escaping on a trip already planned for you: no stress, no time spent planning. Just book and go. On the flip side, a lot of travellers love the sense of freedom they get from planning their own trips according to their own rules. Which side of the fence do you fall on?

There was a lot of talk on this week’s Travel Talk on Twitter (#ttot) about package holidays and tours. We’d say the crowd was leaning towards independent travel if they had the choice but there is certainly some great points as to why package holidays are a great option. We weigh the pros and cons but it’s up to you to decide!

Why package holidays are perfect

Beach

Package tours are great options if you’ve never been to a destination before, if it’s practical (for visiting inaccessible countries like North Korea or Tibet) or if you just don’t want the stress of organizing the trip yourself. Sometimes you just want a break, right? That’s when an all-inclusive package holiday comes in, where you just need to book and show up at the airport and all you’ve got to do is r-e-l-a-x. Organized tours are great ways to get acquainted with new cities and get a more comprehensive introduction to a region. After all, tour guides are known for their wealth of interesting (most of the time) trivia!

Here’s what the Twitter travel community had to say about package tours:

@globescribbler: Meeting great people whose paths I might not have crossed otherwise.

@wanderplex: I do like tours of “hidden gems”. I did a tapas crawl/tour in Spain & discovered gr8 places I wouldn’t have found myself.

@L_e_a_h: Safaris. Even though I’m a country girl from Texas, I don’t think I could take on a pack of hyenas with my iPhone and nail file.

@thenavigatrice: Getting to do things I would not have thought to include on my own. It can be good to take tips from the pros!

@AllyTravels: I LOVE walking tours. What a great way to get to know a city. Esp. History or ghost tours.

@OneikaTraveller: For beach vacations package tours all the way!

@WeWantSun: It was worth getting a tour guide inside Machu Picchu as I learned so much more about the ancient city.

Why package holidays might not be for you

Grand Canyon

There are some travellers who loathe the constraints of a packaged tour or holiday. You’re told when to eat, what to see, where to shop and where to sleep. For some, making these decisions is the whole point of travelling. The adventure is found in the planning and, of course, in the mis-planning and trying to find a solution when you’ve arrived in a new city on a holiday weekend and find that every hostel in that city is full! (speaking from experience here) When you travel solo or independently in a small group you have the freedom to make your own rules, to sleep until noon and fill your days with the activities you most like.

Here’s why some travellers just aren’t keen on packaged holidays:

@ColorMeRed: Most frustrating part of package tours is lack of choices. Can’t choose airline, hotel, etc.

@traveldudes: Getting dragged into shops/restaurants I wouldn’t have stopped for, only that the guide makes a good commission.

@BeyondBlighty: Travelling alone is so much more rewarding. Sure, it’s scary at times, but you feel amazing when it all goes to plan 🙂

@itravel81: I’d rather make friends with local people at the pub & have them tell me about their backyard rather than a scammer of a tour guide.

@BackpackerBecki: Frustrating: moving on from a place that you love and want to stay longer & uncultured, rude passengers who shouldn’t tour!

‏@sudhamathew: Definietly on my own. I can decide when to be lazy and when to be an eager beaver 🙂 annoying to wake up on a schedule on holiday!

@IdealBreaks: Independent travel, no contest. It’s my free time, it’s precious, and I want to do what I want to do!

What’s your take on package holidays? Have you ever been on one, would you do it again?

Travel Talk on Twitter takes place weekly on Tuesdays at 9:30 GMT and 21:30 GMT, why don’t you join in? Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and answer the travel questions that pop up every 10 minutes for an hour. Next week’s topic: domestic travel.

Imgs: yosoynuts, Phillip Pessar, Grand Canyon NPS / Flickr cc.

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