Last updated on August 18th, 2017 at 04:28 pm
We always plan our holidays ourselves and get asked frequently by family and friends – “Why don’t you book tour packages”, “Some XYZ company has a good tour package for the country you are visiting, did you check them out?”. To be very frank, when we started travelling abroad we did ask for quotes from tour packages. These are our reasons why we think tour packages are not worth it:
The hotels that are available in tour packages are usually not the kind one would book themselves in that budget. They are either in outskirts or in a small lane or sometimes will not have good reviews. Check the hotel reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor and you will know this.
You are in a group of 40-50 people, led in a bus to attractions the tour company thinks are worth it. These may or may not be the best attractions, and are mostly the ones which are very crowded because every other tour company will get their tourists there.
At every attraction, you are given a time when you need to assemble back. Even if you like a place and want to spend some more time there, you do not have a choice. You are rushed all the time. Some attractions are photo-stop, which means you get there, click pictures and move on. I have heard of experiences where people took tour operators to go to Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace and were told its not open to public (its closed to public only on Fridays, and we have been inside). You do not want to be in that position.
The tour company will tell you the itinerary and you need to follow the same. Some companies do give you the flexibility to opt out for the whole day and do something else; but since you have already paid for it, not many people do that.
Since you are already with a group of people who are similar to you, you won’t feel the need to interact with locals for anything. Unless there is a need, people hardly go out and interact with others. You will never get immersed in the culture, which is the essence of travelling.
Now that the world is so connected, most of the information is available online. You can get discounted tickets, discounts on hotel reservations and get in touch with most of attraction managers (if need be). If you compare the costs, you may not be saving too much.
Most of the tour operators want to cover as much as possible in as less time as possible. They start the tours at 8am and end after dinner after being on the move whole day. If you have a kid with you, you know how difficult it can get. And if you are travelling to places like Singapore, late comers are not entertained at all!! Is that how you would want your vacation to be? I surely would want to be relaxed, get up at whatever time I like and plan my day as per my convenience. Sure I will get up at 6 am if I want to watch the sunrise from a view point; but that’s my choice and I do it on any of the days I want 🙂
This could be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you are with 🙂 If you like the people who are sharing the tour, you end up making good friends too! But if you are with someone who cribs and whines all the time; or does not share your enthusiasm for various things, it may even spoil your holiday. Is that worth it?
There are some advantages too of choosing a tour operator:
Got a good travel tip for me? Or a suggestion? Leave a comment below the post. I love to hear from readers. If you have any travel question, you can ask post it on the travel forum.