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Choose a Guided Tour or Independent Travel?

One of your first trip planning decisions is this: Are you going to choose independent travel and strike out on your own to wander and sightsee with the freedom to change, add, and delete as you go . . . or will a guided, group tour be a better choice?

How do you decide?

Well, below are some guidelines Jean and I wrote while helping close friends decide.

First One and Then the Other

In their mid-40′s, Carl and Connie had rarely traveled. Then they decided to go to Europe.

She wanted to take a tour where someone experienced made all the decisions, where she felt safe among others, and where everyone around her spoke English.

He, on the other hand, chose independent travel. He felt capable of planning a trip and getting through it with no problem and thought independent travel was the best option.

In the end they took the tour. However, in each of the last 3 years they have traveled on their own and loved it. That first tour was small and gave them the freedom to spend part of each day sightseeing on their own. They both discovered how easy it was and how much more they could see and do by themselves.

Choose a Guided Tour or Independent Travel?

The difference between a tour and independent travel is the
difference between observing Switzerland and experiencing Switzerland

Here are some points to help with that decision:

Go With A Tour if you:

  • Don’t like planning,
  • Will feel safer and more at ease in a group,
  • Can afford the increased cost of a tour,
  • Want someone more experienced to handle the details and decisions,
  • Want to relax and see the sights, not manage trip details,
  • Are not comfortable traveling alone,
  • Are too busy to plan a trip, but still want to go,
  • Have a mobility problem and can find the right tour,
  • Can fill a whole tour with your friends and family.

Travel Independently if you:

  • Prefer to do your own thing most of the time,
  • Enjoy walking, window shopping, wandering, being spontaneous,
  • Are young, young-at-heart, or fairly independent,
  • Don’t mind planning trip details,
  • Think the freedom to wander or change itinerary is important,
  • Don’t like to be in groups of people,
  • Have someone to travel with,
  • Are confident in traveling alone,
  • Can’t or don’t want to pay the extra cost of a tour.

When Jean and I decided to go to Europe the first time in 1995, there wasn’t even a question about how we’d travel. And you know what, independent travel was easy, we never got lost, and we completely revised the trip plan the first night in Munich.

If you have a map and can talk you can’t really get lost; and so what if you do. Your time is your own. Maybe where you ended up is better than where you were going to begin with.

Often young singles or couples worry about tours. For them the word “tour” conjures up images of being trapped with 24 elderly grandparents for 2 weeks on a bus.

However, there are tour companies that specialize in tours for younger adults, tours for retired adults, walking tours, biking tours, long tours, short tours, and more.

If being part of a tour fits you better then do it. The object is to immerse yourself in the grandeur that is Switzerland and its people. So do whatever it takes to have a great, fun-filled trip.

So, is it a tour or independent travel?

Switzerland has so much to see in so many different places it doesn’t really matter how you get to it. What is important is that you go.