Tour vs. Self-Guided Holiday: Which is Right for You?

It’s time to pack the suitcases – there’s a holiday abroad in your very near future! There are just a few key things left to decide: where you’re going, when you’re going, and whether you want to join a tour group or venture out on your own.

Touring with a group and travelling independently both have their own advantages. If you’re struggling with this choice, the below breakdown of pros and cons should help you decide.

Tours: Great Company

Making new friends is one of the enduring highlights of all great coach tours. Sharing exquisite meals, exploring breathtaking sites, admiring beautiful views… when you’re doing amazing things together, strangers quickly become good mates – or even lifelong friends!

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why tours are a particularly good option for people going on a holiday by themselves. Likeminded companions can make it easier to feel comfortable and secure. As we discussed in a previous blog post, travelling solo is not quite so daunting when you’re part of an organised tour.

On the other hand, some people prefer to stick to themselves during a holiday. If you’re already planning to travel with good company (such as a partner, a family member or a colleague), making new friends while travelling might not be an important factor for you. 
 

Albatross Group on the Sound of Music Tour


Self-Guided: Freedom

A key attraction of arranging your own holiday is that every stop, meal, site and activity is up to you. And, if you do all your research and make the right choices, this can lead you to an amazing, personalised holiday.

However, this is extremely difficult to achieve. Researching all the possibilities is exciting, yes, but it’s also time-consuming – or even exhausting at times. If freedom is important to you, you should weigh this up against the effort you’ll need to put into organising your day-to-day itinerary. There is also the risk that the attractions you decide to include may not actually be the best choices for you or your companions.

When you opt for the extra freedom of going independent, you also miss out on an invaluable resource: a passionate tour guide with specialist knowledge of your destination. When choosing where to go for dinner or the best way to spend a day of leisure, an expert guide always has great ideas and suggestions to provide.

Vernazza Le Cinque Terra, Italy


Tours: Everything Taken Care Of

A coach tour provides for a more relaxing holiday experience. All the things you would need to prearrange on a self-guided trip (accommodation, meals, transport between stops, attraction tickets and so on) are all secured for you.

While you have slightly fewer opportunities to pursue specific interests, you can rest assured your tour organiser has handpicked the best sites and activities for the itinerary. They’ve done all the hard work and research to create an itinerary that is sure to impress all travellers.

As an added bonus, tour managers can often organise for their groups to jump the queue at attractions, which means more time enjoying the landmarks and less time twiddling your thumbs while standing in lines.

Le Grotte della Civita, Matera Italy

 

Costs and Budgeting

Working out your budget for a self-guided journey abroad can be tricky. There are fluctuating exchange rates to keep in mind and incidental costs you just can’t predict in advance. Even if you try to research how much each meal, public transport usage and site entry will cost, this is still an estimate at best. And if your budget gets blown, you may have to make some hard decisions, such as buying less souvenirs or even skipping one of your planned attractions.

With a coach tour, you have the security of knowing how much all the important things are costing you upfront. This is particularly true for tours that are genuinely inclusive, like the ones we run at Albatross Tours. This allows you to understand your budget requirements in advance, so you can comfortably set aside an extra cash pool for those irresistible extra purchases – like a delicious slice of Split cake in Croatia or a charming cuckoo clock from the Black Forest in Germany!

It’s also worth knowing that tour companies are often able to negotiate good rates for all aspects of a trip because they make bulk bookings. This means you are likely to be paying less per room, trip and experience when touring than you would if you travelled independently.

So will you be joining a tour for your next voyage overseas? Or will you venture out on your own? We hope this information has helped you reach a decision. If you’re still on the fence, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team to find out more about how our tours can make your next holiday unforgettable and stress free.

Albatross Travellers wine tasting in Tuscany, Italy

Marissa Prince is the Marketing Coordinator with Albatross Tours