Travel Tours: Tour Package or Plan Your Own?

When planning vacations, many travellers are opting for cruises or all-inclusive resorts. Most cruise packages offer optional travel tours when in port. These vary in length from a couple of hours to several hours. Such travel tours are also available at resorts and provide opportunity to see nearby attractions or visit major centers. They are offered by tour operators with pre-arranged itineraries and fixed prices. However, you also have the option of planning your own travel tours. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative and will assist in deciding which may be best for you.

Pre-arranged Travel Tours

Group excursions are travel tours pre-arranged by tour operators, often in conjunction with the cruise line or tourist resort. They are offered at a package price and can include a guide, transportation, meals or snacks, and entrance to specific attractions. They involve a set itinerary to visit a destination, often with a number of planned stops, each with specific time allotted. These pre-arranged outings are attractive to travelers who are seeking convenience and optimum safety.

You may find some great ideas for travel tours, see National Geographic’s Tours of a Lifetime

Self-planned Travel Tours

Planning your own independent travel tour provides the opportunity to tailor the experience to your own needs and desires. Due to the nature of pre-arranged travel tours, there is often less time allocated for a particular stop than you would have liked. The stops are pre-determined and may not include some that you desired. As well, traveling with a group can present some challenges such as incompatible interests and personality clashes. Planning your own itinerary allows you to avoid these travel tour issues.

Local service providers, usually found just outside the resort or port facility, frequently offer individual travel tours which can be adapted to your specifications. Other alternatives include renting a car or hiring a local taxi to tour the area. It is recommended to negotiate the price for these services in advance.

Travel Experience

The amount of travel experience you have is always an important factor in making your vacation and travel tour plans. If you are a frequent traveler, you may have more skill in planning your vacation and be more inclined to design your own travel tours.


The cost of pre-arranged travel tours is usually higher than those you plan on your own. This is because tour operators incur certain expenses including knowledgeable and professional tour guides, regulated transportation, approved meals, and entrance fees to attractions. If you organize your own travel tour, you are free to explore all options including local guides if desired, taxis, buses and other local transportation, any restaurant or eatery that you wish, and only those stops and attractions that are of interest to you.


When in a foreign country, your health and safety are always priorities. Do your research and be aware of any current issues that require special attention, such as health warnings, civil unrest, political activity, etc. Being fully informed will enable you to make good decisions when considering travel tours away from your resort or cruise ship.

Knowledge of the Area

The more knowledge you have acquired about a travel destination, the better equipped you will be to identify the sights and attractions that you want to visit and how much time you wish to spend at each. You will also be in a better position to make informed decisions about transportation and the need for local help, such as independent guides for travel tours.

Comfort Level

As with anything you do in life, your comfort level is extremely important when planning a vacation and deciding on your travel tours. If you are averse to exploring unfamiliar territory on your own or are uneasy in planning your own itinerary, perhaps the pre-arranged travel tour is for you. However, if you have an adventurous spirit and desire the flexibility that comes with designing your own activities, then you should consider planning your own travel tours.


There are so many places to go and so much to see. Whether you are planning a one day excursion during a resort retreat, several travel tours during a cruise, or a series of travel tours as part of a major trip, the same factors will apply. The main priority is to enjoy your experience as much as possible and plan it in such a way that you have no regrets. I hope that this article will assist you in accomplishing those goals.


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