THE ORGANIZED TRIP, IS IT A GOOD OR A BAD IDEA?
04/26/2018

If there is one type of trip that combines all the clichés, it's the organized trip! When we talk about accompanied tours, we hear that this is a concept for the old and less dynamic of us.  Visits are done in herds and we spend hours in an air-conditioned bus without actually discovering the city that we visit.

So, what to think about group travel? Is it worth trying? Are our thoughts on the matter just preconceived ideas? What type of traveller might enjoy an organised tour?  Here is our opinion and our advice on the matter!

The accompanied tour might interest a variety of different profiles of travellers.

Solo Travelers - You go on holiday alone, by choice or by necessity. We want to take time for ourselves, we cannot find a travelling companion available on the dates that suit us, we are single and we do not want to stay alone in a hotel ... The organized trip allows you to meet different people, to share experiences and stories and to benefit from safety in numbers.

Active families - As a family who doesn’t like the idea of staying in the same place, throughout the holiday, organized trips can allow you to discover several places without having to worry about logistics, transport , hotel reservations and so on.

Seniors - Age does not prevent us having desires of adventure! But often as we grow older, we do not want to bother with the organization ... and we also look more towards comfort. A bad night's sleep can be quickly caught up when you're 20, but the older you get, the more it can ruin your stay! So it's tempting to choose a  destination where you know what to expect.

The benefits of organized travel:
Today, organized travel has changed a lot. Beyond the mythical large, air-conditioned buses, there are now many alternatives: small group tours, treks and hikes with short transfers by minibus, hiking-lodges that allow you some time and freedom ...

The circuits also offer other advantages:
You learn about the history and culture of a country or region. It is a good way not to miss the iconic places. We often talk about the top tourist attractions in a pejorative way, but in reality, these places often represent the heritage of a city, so it is interesting to visit them.

‘Local discoveries’
a dive into local handicrafts, local gastronomy, so many little moments for you to grasp and to learn more about the culture of a country.

Free time to rest or visit more:
It's a great way to get an overview of a country. The tourist circuit will be more "standardized" than a trip with a backpack with full autonomy ... but it will allow you to taste the charms of a region. You may feel that this discovery is sufficient, or you will wish to come back with the desire to explore further.  You will know exactly where to return to and which city marked you the most.

Some people love the idea of booking a hotel for a week in the sun and will spend the entire time going back and forth between the bar, sun loungers and pool, with a good book always at hand! No logistics to worry about at all! Or you can be thirsty for adventure, want to go from one city to another ... without bothering to book a rental car, several hotels, to plan your trips and book your visits in advance.

Combine relaxation and discovery:
The organized trip can offer a good balance between moments of relaxation or idleness and cultural discoveries. In addition, you can often extend your circuit to spend a few more days in a relaxing spot. These extensions allow you to rest after a week of visits to get back into shape.

Anecdotes and information:
Guides have  magical powers, they alone can turn a commonplace tourist circuit into a memorable experience. With their anecdotes, their knowledge of the area, their little tricks and their precious advice. They sometimes make it possible to discover a country as one could never have done it alone. A good guide will give you tips to enjoy your evenings, the best restaurants and to find the best place to take THE photo ...

What about the disadvantages of tourist circuits?
Of course the circuits have disadvantages!  We must remember that not all agencies are equal ... and all circuits are not equal either.

The schedules too tight:
I advise you to look closely at the detailed schedule, day by day, of the circuit that interests you. If it is too vague, do not hesitate to use a site like Google Maps to calculate the distances between the places you will visit.

Likewise, you will sometimes have to get up early. If you are very tired and want to enjoy your holidays to recover physically, a tour can tire you more than anything else!

The feeling of lack of autonomy:
In a tourist circuit, it is easy to be guided and we are left with the impression that we have no autonomy because everything is timed down to the last 10 minutes! In fact, you can use your free time to explore a village, meet the locals, and so on.

Lack of authenticity:
When traveling in a "big group", local excursions may be totally lacking in authenticity. For example, we will take you to a village to meet the locals but obviously, everything will have been pre- arranged in advance for you to do your shopping at this place, take a picture with that person who is used to posing with tourists. Nothing will be natural.

A trip too standardized:
By doing a tour, we must accept the idea that there is a need to conform. Visits are planned in advance, you can not unexpectedly decide to stay one more day in this small village for which you have a crush ...

So, I advise you to choose a circuit that gives you free time, to avoid the feeling of the "express trip" that herds you from one place to another!

The accompanied tour, good or bad idea?
I hope to have given you in this article some tips to help you choose the style of holidays that suit you. I would especially advise you to study the schedule of your guided tour and do some research yourself on the destination to assess whether this schedule is well done or not.

It is thanks to this little exercise that you will discover if the circuit of your dreams includes some places that you absolutely want to visit. This is also how you will spot potential problems: too long trips, too many places in a single day, poor hotels, a lack of free time... There will always be surprises, but this is is also what gives its charm to the organised trip!