Today is a somewhat non-standard topic for the blog yaturfirma.ru. The blog was originally created to help independent travelers who prefer to plan and organize their own trips using well-known tools, such as this one or this one.
Travel organized by yourself will often be more intense and cheaper. However, in certain cases, it is more reasonable to purchase a tour from a tour operator in certain destinations. I propose to use this feature exclusively as another tool, on an equal footing with others.
Advantages of finished tours
Of course, there are certain advantages to ready-to-use tours over self-organized trips. Not on all tourist destinations and with many reservations and yet. I consider it one of the advantages:
Lower cost in certain cases. This is especially true for beach holidays in distant countries. And a low cost is achieved, including charter tickets, which are available to tour operators.
Indeed, when I estimated a couple of years ago how much it is possible to fly to Egypt on my own, including the use of European low-cost carriers, such as EasyJet, the cost of tickets I have issued at the level of inexpensive tours “all inclusive” in four-star hotels.
That is, one ticket cost the same as a tour with meals and accommodation. This, by the way, is a question of whether it is possible to bypass the ban on travel to Egypt, getting there independently through other countries.
It is possible, but in addition to the fact that it is really dangerous, so also the total cost will be quite uninteresting, and will exceed the cost of travel to Asia. Similarly, cheaper tours, as a rule, will be in Thailand and India, as well as in other popular places, primarily – at sea.
It’s a little easier. For a person who has no experience of independent travel, of course, it is easier to come to the travel agency, pay them money and, like, do not worry about anything. All the rest of the work is done for you, such a “journey on a turnkey basis”.
In fact, the tools I’m talking about on the page of this blog aren’t complicated at all, and almost everyone can organize a trip on their own. Nevertheless, it will take to overcome the initial fear, yes.
Less discomfort from not knowing the language. Knowledge of foreign languages, especially English, is an important factor for any traveler. However, people who buy ready-made tours can afford to be completely fluent in languages and not to feel uncomfortable.
Indeed, they do not need to buy tickets themselves, knowing the English language sites, do not ask strangers how to get from the airport to the city, etc. They fly to their destination, where they are met by a transfer to the hotel and often by a Russian-speaking guide. Inversely, there are no problems.
Tour operators have burning tours. Maybe the most significant advantage. When a tour operator realizes that he has unsold tours for specific dates (primarily free seats in charter planes), he makes significant discounts.
It is profitable for him to get at least some money. Burning tours become a few days before departure, for visa-free countries it is 1-3 days, for visa countries – the minimum term of obtaining a visa plus 1-3 days. That is, when looking for tours with large discounts, you should be ready for a certain spontaneity.
Not everyone has such an opportunity, first of all, because of difficulties with employers, who usually do not like spontaneity very much. Nevertheless, the burning tours have always attracted and will continue to attract a lot of people.
Shortcomings in ready-made tours
In addition to the advantages, I also see significant disadvantages when buying ready-made travel. Here are the main ones:
Unreliable. Ironically, many people believe that self-organized travel is unreliable and involves many risks. I do not argue that there are risks, any hotel and ticket bookings should be carefully read the rules, etc. But nevertheless, if I have booked a hotel, I know that I will be waited for there on that day. Similarly to a plane or train ticket.
Yes, theoretically the plane can be cancelled because of bad weather or other factors. But it can also be cancelled when travelling with a tour operator. In addition, when you pay money to the tour operator and prepare to travel, you don’t know if anything is booked at all.
It is not uncommon for a few days before your trip, when everything has been decided and paid for, you are told that there are no places in your hotel, and offer other options. Including other dates or other destinations. What planning and guarantees can I talk about here?
And sometimes you are offered worse options, you naturally refuse and try to get your money back. They don’t want to return anything to you, and then it’s just an option to go to court. I have acquaintances who have been in such situations.
And I’m not talking about quite unpleasant cases, which have become more frequent in recent years, when during your vacation tour operator goes bankrupt, and the hotel evicts you, because your stay, it turns out, has not been paid in full. And such stories happen even with major players in the tourism market.
Higher cost in certain cases. Of course, it is possible. Ready-made trips to the mainland of Europe, as a rule, will be more expensive, especially if the tourist is able to independently use the low-costers.
When you organise your own trip, you have a great deal of flexibility in the choice of transport or accommodation. An example with a budget, but very busy trip to the Canary Islands here is very useful. Much depends on where you live, of course.
When you buy a tour, you are very much tied to one place. For example, you are going to Thailand for a week and your hotel is paid for a week. You will not be able to move to another place to stay for a while.
If you have a guided tour, your location and time will be determined by a pre-arranged program. You will not be able to sit in a cafe for an extra hour, just because you want to, everything is already provided. You are tied to your bus or guide.
A little freedom in travel arrangements. This point follows from the previous one. When you buy a tour, you have absolutely no flexibility to organize your trip. You choose from some of the average options that the tour operator has developed. But the tour operator cannot take into account your personal and unique preferences.
Maybe you want to try rubber surfing. Or you prefer rented apartments to hotels. Or if you’re going to Paris, you’re not interested in visiting the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, and you’d rather go shopping and in a cabaret (although I advise the Louvre and Eiffel Tower itself:).
If you are organising your own trip, you will fully determine where to go, for how many days, where to live and what to do. Very convenient.