"Should I go on holiday with a tour group, or not." I am always conflicted as to what answer I should give and here is why. 

On one hand, if it’s your first time, you have the security in knowing that everything is being taken care of. You don’t have to worry about where to stay, where to go eat - and if the food is safe, or how you need to reach a particular site. All of this is arranged for you. 

When I was 18, I was desperate to travel. But I had absolutely no idea how to plan such a thing. Travel? What’s that? 

So I set about trying to find a company to go with. It was a bit of a risk, I was using all my money I had saved working a Saturday job. And, as it was the same year that I was going away to university, this money could have been used to live an indulgent first term. 

But travelling is important to me and the idea of spending a boring summer at home verses setting off somewhere far and wild – the answer was simple. 

I ended up booking a 4 week trip to Thailand with realgap.co.uk 

They were what I needed. I phoned, I said what I wanted to do, they posted me a brochure. They even emailed me over a packing list, they explained what insurance I needed and where I could buy certain things from. Before I flew out, they sent each person on the trip the email addresses of all the other people on that trip, so you could see who was on the same flight as you. 

Now, I imagine they would have a Facebook group and you meet each other that way. The point is, if you are heading out on your own, like I was, they do their best to make you feel comfortable.  

And the trip was as expected: accommodation was provided, transport was arranged, food was served, we stayed with monks, taught English in a school and went on a three-day trek. 

So why the conflict you ask? 

Because, I think that you can easily go away on your own. Of course, Real Gap was a great place to start; it gave me the confidence to know that I could easily set off on my own. 

Furthermore, the internet (god bless you) makes everything extremely easy when it comes to travelling. You can book flights within 5 minutes, contacting a hotel and arranging transport takes just an email, and you can go on Tripadvisor to see which tour agencies to use. 

This many sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Far from it. It takes no time at all. 

Going by yourself also saves a lot of money. And who doesn’t want to save some cash? 

But then again, if I didn’t use RealGap, I probably wouldn’t have gone travelling that year. And this would have resulted in me being a) very bored and b) probably not having the confidence to go on my own. 

In conclusion…

If you’re someone who is nervous about travelling but desperate to do it – go with a travel agency. I would recommend Real Gap. 

If you have a little bit of confidence, go on your own and you’ll see just how easy it is. 

Tour Group Or Not?

Posted on

Thursday, 19 September 2013

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