The Package Tour vs. DIY Travelp
The big question for a lot of travellers is whether to book your trip, or any part of it, before you head off or to just get out there and make things up as you go. In typical backpacker style, a DIY trip is what it's all about. The whole idea is that you're out on an adventure, and any possible surprises or mishaps along the way should be both expected and easily handled. This type of travel is what leads, in many cases, to the most valuable travel memories because of the unexpected surprises that happen along the way. Usually when we head out on a backpacker adventure we have plenty of time for these kind of things to occur, however if you're on a shorter trip then you can't really take your chances with missing flights or getting yourself lost. There are pros and cons of both packaged tours and DIY travel, and choosing which one will suit you will really depend on the type of trip your taking and the type of person that you are.
The great thing about organising your trip through an agent is that you'll be able to get a good deal on an all-inclusive package. This means that you won't have to worry about having to individually find, compare and pay for flights, accommodations, transport and whatever other sight-seeing that you will need to organise. Having to do this yourself can be tedious and at times confusing, with the online prices of airfares constantly changing, and many overseas tour companies or hostels hard to contact and communicate with. A travel agent will make sure that all of the effort and cost involved in organising your trip are handled for you, and usually there will be someone to contact in the country you are visiting if anything goes wrong.
On the other hand, it can be pricey. You will be paying commission for the agent's services, and you may also realise once you're over there that it would have been much cheaper to organise everything yourself. The tricky thing is it's hard to know this unless you have had experience in the particular country, and it is also easy to get ripped off by overseas companies who are very difficult to track down. For this reason, if you're going on a short trip and want to include as much as possible into it, then it's probably a good idea to consider planning your trip with the help of a travel agent or even a tour company. Through pre-booked tours you can cover over ten countries in a matter of weeks, and if you do it through the right company with others of the same interest it can be a massive party the whole time.
Of course if you have a bit more time up your sleeve then a rigid itinerary isn't really necessary. This is where the DIY trip comes in to be the preferred mode of travel. Once you've got your flights sorted then you really don't need to do too much more than a bit of background research. With nothing other than perhaps a return flight booked then the rest of the trip is completely in your hands. This means that if you find the perfect spot then it's all yours to explore rather than having to rush on through to the next big city or town. Plus your travel plans may completely change depending on the experiences you have and the people you meet. Backpacking is a great way to meet new people from all over the world as well as to hear their travel stories, so it's a fantastic thing to be able to change your travel plans when you hear about that great little beach that you missed.
There really is no winner in the debate between the packaged tour and DIY travel. It all depends on you and the type of travel you want to experience.
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