To us, independent travel is the type of travel we plan, organize and book ourselves and where we are not part of a packaged tour group.
While independent travel works for our travel style, it doesn’t work for everyone. But why doesn’t it work for everyone? See my 3 key reasons:
1. It is time consuming: try planning a multi-country, two week trip for your family. You know everyone’s likes and dislikes but want to expand their horizons and at the same time wants to make sure everyone is happy. Plus, it’s your money you are planning how to spend in those two weeks. If you want it to tick the “everyone is happy” box and the “I am spending less than with a tour” box, you need to invest time, a lot of time. And by the time you are all booked and ready to go you will have a better appreciation for a travel agent and a tour operator.
2. You will not see all the “must sees”: even though I am a compulsive planner and I would love to cover all “must sees”, I would rather skip two or three main attractions to sit on a bench in a park and have an impromptu picnic with my family and relax.
If you ask my daughter what she remembers about our trip to Paris when she was 5, she will say the Eiffel Tower and the ice cream we had at “that bridge close to that church”while watching a street performer. She remembers the moment we had, her memorable moment in Paris!
But hey, it’s ok to have a jam packed schedule. I know a lot of people that went to a two week Europe tour, with an average 12 hours a day between sightseeing and bus ride and loved it – even though all agreed they wish they had more time to take it all in and relax a bit. To each, their own! 🙂
By the way, “that bridge” was Pont St-Louis and “that church” was Notre Dame Cathedral.
3. You will have the power… too much power, perhaps: since you’ve planned it all and are the family “expert” in those locations, you will hear a lot of “so, where do we go next?”, “where are we having lunch?”, “which bus/subway/train should we take?”. If you like the illusion of power, you will love it; if you would prefer delegating more, you could designate a “boss of the day” and let someone else in your group plan for that day.
To sum it all up, independent travel is not easy but is not complicated either. All you need is time, patience and persistence.
We will share more of our travel tactics in the upcoming posts and will invite you to tag along our next vacation planning process.
Hopefully you will enjoy the ride and will get encouraged to plan your own trip. 🙂