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  • Jack Armitage
  • "Tour group travel or do it yourself?"

Tour group travel or do it yourself?

Hi,


I've booked flights to SEA later this year where I plan on backpacking for an undetermined amount of time.


Although I will be flying out alone, I don't really want to backpack alone - I'd like to meet people out there to get about with.


Ideally I'd like the freedom of making the trip up as I go, but I'd be concerned about missing certain experiences along the way which some organised tours include - for example, homestays with hill tribes (I can't imagine how I'd organise that alone!).


I've heard of some tour operators that offer a hop-on hop-off style service where the itinerary is much more flexible but still includes organised activities and said experiences with hill tribes etc. Does anyone have any experience of these tours?


Undoubtedly it comes down to personal preference, but what advice would you give regarding organised group tours Vs making it all up yourself?


Thanks,


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6 Answers

  • Jae Oh

    answered by

    "backpacking for an undetermined amount of time."


    Most people who've written this phrase fall into the category of the do-it yourself group. If you fear missing out on something, do your research ahead of time (don't be lazy). Also, there's plenty of other backpackers intent on doing the very same thing you are considering embarking on, so don't worry- you won't be alone. Lastly, it's o.k. to miss out on some things- you cannot possible do everything. Just try to enjoy the things you end up doing and you won't have to worry about anything else.


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  • Crystal Leturno

    answered by

    Hello,

    If it were me I would do it on my own. Southeast Asia is an amazing place to travel and having flexibility to go where you like and stay longer in a place if you wish is invaluable. It is less expensive to do it on your own as well. If start your trip in popular backpacker areas you will have no problem meeting other travelers as you go along.

    In my experience I would meet someone or a group of people and we would find out that we were both wanting to go to the same cities/destinations and so agreed to travel together for a few days or so. Some have turned into great friendships!

    Homestays are pretty easy to add into organize on the fly. Just ask around the guest houses and other travelers will give their input. There are also a ton of little travel agencies everywhere that could organize that for you, including with hill tribes.

    My general technique is to do tons of research before I go to learn about places I might want to go, but not commit to anything until the time comes. You never know what kind of secret places you'll find out about once you get there.

    I totally understand the FOMO with not going on an organized group tour, but I think once you are there you will be glad you did it on your own. It is so much more rewarding that way!

    Just my opinion though, happy travels!

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  • Nam Onrit

    answered by

    I am not sure about that kind of the operators. It is better to specify your itinerary and interests more.

    Plan your trip by each tourist hub. Better to choose the reliable local operators than one operator throughout your whole trip.

    For example, you are traveling in Southern Laos and want to stay with the hill tribes in Bolaven plateau. You can find the adventurous tour operators in Paksecity. Activities you can experienced are a lot which you can ask the operators or see in their websites first.

    In Vietnam, there are open bus service which you can hop-on hop-off from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City but you have to organise tours by yourself.

    Tourist towns and cities in SEA from Chiang Rai from the North of Thailand to Bali in Indonesia surrounded by tour desks even at the hostels where you can book the tours or private tours conveniently.

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    1. Pakse (city)
    2. Hanoi (city)
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  • Rasto Elgr

    answered by

    If you travel by yourself you don't have to discuss what to do and where to go with anybody. And don't you worry, you will not be alone! You will meet plenty of people on the road, in hostels, your day/overnight trips. I have mostly bad experience when organizing trips with someone. Everybody wants to go everywhere when sitting over beer, but very few actually do later (I don't count resort packages, this is not really traveling in my opinion). The only disadvantage of traveling solo I found is extra expenses for you when it comes to taxis or many times you have to pay for 2 if you prefer private room because single room is not always available.

    I don't recommend jungle treks or hiking in areas you are not familiar with by yourself. A lot of things can go wrong. Almost everywhere you go, there is at least few tour operators or you can simply hire local person who many times serve as a guide. Many places will not even allow you to hike by yourself and you can get fine if caught. It's either because they simply want to make money, try to prevent the worst or both. But do your research to be sure you will be getting what you want. Good hostels usually have very good grasp on what is going on in the area and who is a good choice to go with. You can find reviews for many companies or recommendations on the Internet.

    I almost always travel solo, always have fun, meet a lot of people and never regretted it.

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  • Amanda Boleman

    answered first by

    Do it yourself! It'll be less expensive and you can choose who to spend your time with. If you really love one area, you can stay there as long as you want without having to follow the tour's rules. Go with your own flow and enjoy the randomness that comes with traveling without a plan. That's always when the best experiences transpire. Happy travels!

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  • Amanda Boleman

    answered by

    Do it yourself! It'll be less expensive and you can choose who to spend your time with. If you really love one area, you can stay there as long as you want without having to follow the tour's rules. Go with your own flow and enjoy the randomness that comes with traveling without a plan. That's always when the best experiences transpire. Happy travels!

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