Why Travel with Organized Tours vs. Independent Travel

Visiting the John Lennon tribute wall with a group of students in Prague.

Visiting the John Lennon tribute wall with a group of students in Prague.
We here at FlorenceForFun are big advocates of independent travel. Traveling on your own can be an incredibly rewarding experience, one that we all highly recommend trying at least once in your life (even if it’s just a day trip). However, there are a ton of benefits to traveling with a tour company, especially within the constraints of studying abroad. Here are some of our top reasons to travel with an organized tour company over independent travel.
When you only have the weekends free to travel, the last thing you want to do is waste your time wandering aimlessly in a foreign city, trying to figure out where to go and what to see. Organized weekend trips often include walking tours, which maximize your time and stop at all the major sights in less time than it would take you to navigate a new city on your own.
Comfort Levels/Safety
You know the old saying—there’s safety in numbers. Travelling with a guided tour group allows you to explore foreign cities within your comfort levels, and avoid the less safe areas of a city. In case of emergencies, there is always a knowledgeable tour guide available to assist you.
Reliable Information
Traveling independently means it’s entirely up to you to make your trip worthwhile. Most people want to learn more about the places they are visiting (isn’t that the whole point?), and if you’ve got your nose stuck in a guide book, you won’t be able to fully appreciate your surroundings. Guided tours are a great way to sit back, enjoy the city and let someone else tell you all about it. Group travelers are accompanied by an experienced tour guide whose job is to give you the most up-to-date, reliable information (and of course, share some of those local secrets that you won’t get on your own).
Meeting People
If you’ve got your heart set on seeing a certain area but your friends are less than enthusiastic about coming along, then group travel is the perfect solution.  Rather than be stuck listening to your friends complain all weekend, why not share the experience with other like-minded people? Group travel is a great way to get out there, meet students from all over the world and make lasting friendships.
Less Hassle
Planning a trip takes an incredible amount of research, time and effort. You have to decide how to get there, where to stay, what to do, what to eat, what to see, and who to talk to for help along the way. This can quickly become stressful and irritating, especially if you’re the designated planner amongst your group of friends. Booking a trip with an organized tour company gets rid of the hassle, allowing you to relax and focus on exploring, eating, drinking, shopping and having fun!

Travel Tips When Booking an Organized Tour:

Do your research.  There are tons of companies offering package deals, but it’s important to find the best one that suits you. Ask your friends who have studied abroad, read reviews from previous customers, and look through the Facebook page of each company to find your perfect fit.
Costs. Make sure you know exactly what’s included in a package, and what’s not. There’s nothing worse than showing up for a trip and realizing you are short on cash needed to participate in those awesome extra activities.
Be clear about your travel goals. Do you want to learn about the history of an area, try the local cuisine, or experience crazy nightlife? Make sure you know ahead of time what your absolute must-see/must-do list includes.
Want to research organized trips that are offered by FlorenceForFun? Check out our website at www.florenceforfun.com or find us on Facebook by clicking here. If you have any questions about upcoming trips, email travel@florenceforfun.org or post em’ in our current Facebook group Spring 2013.


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