Benefits of Touring for Solo Travel
As a solo traveller there are two distinct ways to travel. You can either travel by yourself, also known as self-guided travel, or you can travel with a tour company on a guided tour. There are pros and cons to both, but I believe travelling on a guided tour is the best option for solo travel. Here’s why.
1. Save Time & the Hassle of Planning & Organising
When it comes to planning and organising your trip, the entire responsibility falls on you. Not only do you have to plan, organise and book your accommodation and transport for each destination, you also have to research the best places to eat at and what to see and do there. That’s a lot of work for one person.
A tour company is an expert in travel. They know the destination inside out having travelled there several times. They will provide you with the best value accommodation, take you to the best local restaurants and organise comfortable transport to take you to the best places.
2. Safe Travel
Some countries more than others are not safe to travel alone, especially as a solo female traveller. Every traveller is a target for petty theft, muggings, harassment, physical and sexual assault, but a solo traveller is the most vulnerable target.
Travelling with a group on a guided tour is a safer option than travelling by yourself. You and your belongings are protected as you travel in the safety and comfort of an organised tour group.
3. Organised Transport
There are some countries where public transport is not easily available. For most countries, if you want to visit the countryside or get off the beaten track, you have to hire a car. Hiring private transport can be a costly affair as a solo traveller because there is no one to share the expense with.
When travelling on a guided tour, how you get around is taken care of and is factored into the cost of the tour. It is economical as this cost is shared by everyone in your group. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get from A to B as the tour company will organise the transport for you.
4. Knowledgeable Guide
When you travel on your own, you have to rely on guide books and the Internet for information about the attractions and places you visit. If you hire a local guide to show you around, it will be costly as there is no one to share the cost with.
Every guided tour has a guide who travels with you from beginning to end. In most cases, he or she is a local person who is knowledgeable about the country and places of interest. Usually, they have a background in tourism, and having been a guide for many years, they also have a lot of insider knowledge and interesting stories about the places you visit.
5. Travel with Like-Minded People
It can sometimes get lonely travelling solo as you don’t have any companions to travel with, share memories with and assist you along the way.
When you travel in a tour group, you are travelling with other people who are on the same journey as you are. They will most likely be similar to yourself, with common interests, background and a love for travel. You will also make friends with people from different countries, share stories and make memories together. Plus, you have someone to take photos of you instead of taking selfies.
Note: Some tour companies have dedicated tours for solo travellers only as well as tours for solo women travellers only.
6. More AffordableTravel
When you add up all the costs of travelling solo, it can get expensive. There are two alternatives. One, you can be a budget traveller staying at budget hostel accommodation, eating at cheap places and taking public transport everywhere. Or two, you can choose to travel on a guided tour where all your expenses are packaged together saving you money in the long run. The benefit is that you get to travel in comfort – staying in comfortable accommodation, eating at nice restaurants and travelling by private transport mostly.
7. Choice of Guided Tour
The introduction of online travel agencies for tour bookings has opened up a world of options you never had before. When you booked through a travel agent like Flight Centre, you were limited to what they offered you. Today, you can choose from a range of tours based on your preferences and needs.
Apart from the usual country, dates and trip duration, you can also choose –
- Tour group size (as small as 8 or 10 people per tour group)
- Standard level (budget all the way up to luxury)
- Physical endurance level (easy to difficult)
- Transport options (public or private transport)
- Accommodation choices
- Special interests (cultural, adventure, overland, cruising and many more)
8. Convenience – One Point of Contact
When you organise your own travel, you have several points of contact. You will probably book your accommodation, transport, tickets and passes through several different providers. Should you need to cancel, amend or change your travel plans, you will need to contact each one separately.
Booking a guided tour, you only have one point of contact if you need to make any changes to your travel plans.
9. Carry Less Money
When you travel on your own you either have to carry lots of money with you or withdraw money from ATMs along the way. If you carry money with you, you risk it being stolen which can cause you some stress. Withdrawing money from ATMs along the way is a better solution, however, you will be hit with ATM fees and foreign transaction fees which can be quite costly.
When you book a guided tour, the price you pay for the tour includes the majority of the expense of your trip. You only need to carry a small amount of money for some meals, gratuities and tips.
10. Avoid Language Barriers
Travelling in some countries can be quite a challenge if you can’t speak the local dialect. Asking for directions, ordering meals and finding public transport in countries like Russia and China where English is not readily spoken would be a nightmare.
If you travel on a guided tour, you don’t have to worry about learning a new language. The tour guide will speak English, translate everything for you and communicate with the locals on your behalf.
Bear in mind, while there are many benefits to travelling on a guided tour, there is also some downside to travelling on a tight schedule. If you’re the kind of person who likes to travel leisurely, you might not like to be whisked from place to place at a fixed time. When choosing a tour, check the detailed itinerary and make sure that you are comfortable with the tour schedule so that you will enjoy the pace of travel and not feel rushed.
Also, not all tours are the same in terms of what is provided. While all accommodation and transport is included, included meals and activities can vary from tour to tour and operator. To avoid any nasty surprises on tour, check the inclusions and exclusions so you know what you are getting and paying for.