Which of these spark more joy?
- Benefits of self-planned travel
- The complete freedom to plan your own itinerary
- You learn more about yourself and gain more confidence
- You sometimes get to save time
- Benefits of joining a packaged tour
- Free and easy travel
- No need to worry about missing out
- You get to save more and cut waiting time
- Safety in numbers and meeting new people
- What fits young travellers better?
After more than two years of putting our travel plans on hold, I’m more than ready to start travelling again! And with borders around the world now fully reopening, I think it’s high time to start planning your next big adventure too. After all, that’s no better time to travel than the present!
The question to ask though is how you should travel. After all, different people prefer to travel differently. Some enjoy the process of planning their own trips down to every last detail while others prefer to simply jet off to their destination on a packaged tour.
Image credit: Contiki
Let’s take a look at the difference between self-planned travel and joining a packaged group tour, and figure out what fits young travellers better.
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Benefits of self-planned travel
The complete freedom to plan your own itinerary
Image credit: KaLisa Veer
As an avid fan of self-planned travel, the one thing that I absolutely LOVE about planning my own travels is the freedom it gives me.
Brunch at a nearby cafe to start your day because you wanted to sleep in? Sure! Want to spend the entire day at the nearby park watching locals go about their day? Go right ahead. What’s more, because your travel plans are not confined by any schedule, you are more likely to discover off-the-beaten-path locations as you explore your destination at a leisurely pace.
You learn more about yourself and gain more confidence
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While you’re planning your own travel, you’re bound to learn more about your own likes and dislikes. Some of us like to follow the crowd and visit the most Insta-famous locations while others like to visit hidden gems that only true locals know about.
If you’re travelling by yourself, you’ll also learn to enjoy your own company and gain confidence in your decision-making skills as well. Although inevitably not every decision will be a good one (such as spending too much time at a flea market in Santorini and missing a sunset cruise, true story), you’ll learn to trust yourself more, especially if you’re the one tasked with planning the itinerary on a group vacation.
You sometimes get to save time
Conventionally, most major attractions give priority to tour groups that have pre-purchased their tickets. That said, sometimes arriving on a self-planned trip cuts your waiting time significantly.
That’s because if there are multiple tour groups arriving at the same, most locations have a limit on how many people can be admitted at one time. If you’re travelling in a smaller group or by yourself, you may just get lucky and skip the long waiting lines.
Benefits of joining a packaged tour
Free and easy travel
Image credit: Claudio Hirschberger
While I personally like planning our own trips, I have to admit that one of the clearest advantages of joining a packaged tour is the convenience of it all. Rather than having to spend hours researching and planning, all you have to do is contact a travel provider, pick out the destination, and voila, you have yourself a trip!
What I like most about joining a packaged tour is how every minute detail, from the accommodation right down to the itinerary, is planned out for you. This is especially helpful when you’re looking to travel across multiple countries, such as exploring Scotland and Ireland or embarking on an epic post-graduation Euro trip from Rome to London since you don’t have to worry about the logistics.
No need to worry about missing out
Image credit: Contiki
With a packaged tour, you won’t have to worry about missing certain activities or locations because tours often come with an expert guide who will chaperone you throughout the trip. That way, you just know you won’t be missing out on any of the quintessential travel experiences. This is especially useful when you’re travelling in a place where you don’t speak the language, like in Italy.
At this point, many young travellers will say that one of the downsides is how it can sometimes feel restrictive. Your trip is basically bound by the itinerary provided by the travel agency. However, these days, many travel agencies allow customers to customise their travel plans and include certain locations or activities they’d like to have on the tour.
So not only will you be able to fulfill your #travelGoals, but you’ll also be able to travel knowing that you are less likely to miss out on any essential experiences!
You get to save more and cut waiting time
I’m sure many avid solo travellers can attest to this. When you plan your own travel, you often have to spend just a little bit more when it comes to attractions and experiences.
However, when you book a packaged tour, you actually end up spending less because most agencies will be able to get better rates for accommodations and popular attractions. What’s more, since the travel agency plans everything, you’ll often arrive at a restaurant and attraction and be given priority access because your arrival was already booked.
All in all, while a tour package might seem pricey at first glance, you’ll realise that, in the long run, you end up saving just a little more than if you planned everything on your own. And that’s a major plus point especially if you’re a young traveller who’s on a budget.
Safety in numbers and meeting new people
Image credit: Helena Lopes
Your travel agent will also be more aware of the latest happenings around the locations you’re visiting. So even if you’re heading to unfamiliar territory, you can rest assured that you’ll be in safe hands.
But perhaps the most important advantage of a packaged tour is the concept of safety in numbers. As you travel along with your group, you are less likely to attract unwanted attention, which makes it ideal for solo travellers especially.
Another plus side to that is that joining a packaged tour also opens the door for you to meet like-minded travel buddies! After all, if you guys end up on the same tour, you more than likely have the same interests when it comes to travelling. As you spend more time together on the tour, it’s possible to develop lasting friendships with the people you meet, with whom you can then plan even more travels together in future!
What fits young travellers better?
Image credit: Omar Lopez
Having looked at both self-planned travels and packaged tours, it’s clear that there both styles of travel have their own advantages that appeal to young travellers. Well, what if I told you there’s a perfect go-between that combines the best of both worlds?
Contiki is a global travel brand that specialises in providing immersive and unforgettable packaged trips exclusively for young travellers between 18 to 35 years old. However, unlike conventional tours that chaperone you from one location to another, Contiki emphasises building lasting connections and creating unforgettable memories under its Social Travel experience.
Image credit: Contiki
Right from the get-go, you’ll see that the activities on Contiki’s trips aren’t your typical day-to-day experiences. Instead, each trip is tailored specifically to the group’s likes and dislikes. You’ll also be given the flexibility to choose what you want to do on certain days. What’s more, travellers on Contiki trips have a chance to stay at some truly unique accommodations, such as the Contiki Chateau De Cruix in Lyon (France), eco camps, and youth hostels.
More importantly, Contiki caters to similar age groups which means you’ll be travelling with like-minded individuals who you can easily connect with. Even if you’re travelling solo, you don’t have to feel shy about joining a Contiki trip! As part of your Contiki itinerary, you’ll also have the opportunity to interact with locals, some of whom will act as your guide!
Finally, Contiki is a responsible travel brand that is big on sustainable tourism. Every trip that is offered is carbon neutral, allowing you to travel guilt-free!
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Whether it’s island-hopping in Thailand, admiring the rustic sights of North Queensland, or a magical trip across Europe covering eight countries, there’s an unforgettable trip for you on Contiki!
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It’s time to make that post-pandemic trip happen for real!
Brought to you by Contiki.