Whether you’re looking forward to your first out-of-town adventure as an independent adult, or already have thousands of travel miles to your account, you’d probably appreciate the ability to maximize each travel experience. Here’s why taking the extra effort to exercise the modern traveler’s option to go DIY instead of sticking to a tour package will enhance every trip.
Select destinations that matter
The most obvious reason to plan your travel itinerary may also be the most important one for you: having the ability to ‘choose your own adventure’, so to speak. Taking up a tour package limits your options, and while the top attractions will usually be covered with a pre-arranged travel plan, not all of them may line up with your preferences. You might not enjoy museums, and plenty of tours will feature at least one or two each day. Even a simple outdoor trip can become a vastly different experience; when you want to enjoy water sports in Shreveport, getting a personal watercraft from local boat dealers will let you go where you want and do as you please. Beyond that, more seasoned travelers probably have an idea of what to expect from similar types of attractions; if you’ve been atop Tokyo Tower, is the visit (and fee) to Tokyo Skytree worthwhile? Skip what’s boring or familiar, and head off to the new and exciting stuff.
Allocate time and budget
As much as we’d love to travel every month or two, most people don’t have either the requisite time or money to afford this sort of lifestyle. This makes it even more essential to have a great experience by making the most of each limited opportunity. A tour package may seem to offer economic value, but that’s not always the case. As mentioned previously, not only do you sometimes end up paying to visit places you may not enjoy, you also might not get to spend much time exploring the ones you do like. Tour groups can also run on a tight schedule; when you have an hour for lunch, it might not be enough time to sit down and enjoy a meal at that highly-rated local restaurant you discovered online. Taking control over your itinerary shifts the burden of planning to the days and weeks prior to your trip so that you can be assured that from the moment of arrival, you’re allocating valuable time and money on the activities you really want.
A more authentic local experience
Visiting a new city or country isn’t entirely about taking in the highlights; increasingly, today’s travelers would love to get a better sense of how locals live. Going on a tour package often disengages you from that local experience and puts you at the mercy of the tour guide’s ability to explain features and traditions of everyday life, and immerse you in this new setting; needless to say, your mileage may vary in this regard. A DIY itinerary lets you take public transportation, find accommodations in interesting neighborhoods which you can explore on foot, and potentially have memorable interactions with locals instead of fellow tourists. It opens up the possibility of serendipity, which is something that every traveler could use a little more of.
Tour packages remain a convenient, low-effort option of organizing a trip; but having the power to customize your itinerary will maximize every travel opportunity and let you take more of the best memories home with you.