Package tour or free & easy?

Singapore
July 8, 2008 11:04am CST
personally, i've never gone on a package tour before. the main difference between a package tour and a free & easy will be the transport arrangement. for a package tour, you are picked up from the airport and sent to the hotel. the tour guide will tell you what time to meet and when to eat. you don't get to choose where you want to go or what you want to do. you don't even get to choose what time you want to wake up. but the good thing is you don't have to do any research. the tour guide will bring you to most of the tourist attractions there is to be found. free & easy requires a lot more work. you got to do loads of research and decide what you want to see. you've got to find your own transportation to get to your destination. good thing is you make all the decisions. from what to see, to what to eat. from what time to wake up, to what time you want to sleep. so what's your choice?
2 people like this
9 responses
@squaretile (3833)
• Singapore
10 Jul 08
Great discussion topic, applefreak! personally, I prefer free and easy because i think part of the fun in going on a trip is the online research and going to the library, reading through guidebooks, reading online reviews of hotels and what to do in certain places. of course very much depends on which country you are going. In south east asia, i much prefer planning my own trip. and cobbling together all the aspects from flight to hotel to itinerary to restaurants to search out on foot. that's what i did for my recent trip to hanoi. for my honeymoon to new zealand, we did a mix. we did a hop on hop off coach deal, so the coach tix were fixed and the hotels were booked for us by the travel agency. but after being dropped off at teh hotel we could go wherever we wanted, eat whereever (even at the supermarket!) and just turn up the next time it's time to leave the town for the coach to the next town. so we didn't have to fight about directions or getting lost en route. although some people who like driving would say taht is part of the fun. for korea, when i went wtih my parents i just chickened out and went on a package tour. since i don't speak the language, i preferred to have everything nicely catered for. and there were the usual long coach rides, adn obligatory trips to ginseng factories and jewellery shops where they try to con you into parting with your money but i didn't mind as much. and i covered the major attractions without much planning. another factor to think about is whether you want to travel with the same group (of singaporeans usually) if you're on a package tour. i would much rather not. for new zealand, we saw different folks on each coach ride and could decide how friendly we wanted to be. so we chatted on some rides and kept to ourselves on others. lovely.
2 people like this
• Singapore
10 Jul 08
thanks for your kind compliments. i've always wondered why some people swear by free & easy while others only take packaged tours. same as you, i enjoy the research part. the whole trip is made even more exciting as i usually start my planning about six months if i'm going to a new place. so far i've only traveled in asia so free & easy is easy. even with my parents i went free & easy too. we went to japan, china and thailand all free & easy. the hop on hop off coach deal sounds really interested. that's something i really want to try. it makes going to countries like new zealand so much easier. driving is no fun especially if all your passengers are asleep
1 person likes this
• Singapore
25 Aug 08
esp dangerous if there's no one to keep you awake either! thanks for the bR!
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@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
9 Jul 08
That will really depend on the amount of time you have left with the planning. If you got the time to plan a head, of course going on your own would be so much better. Package tours, the guide is always wanting you to go on so many of their "optional" tours. Which if you choose not to go, they will start to treat you different. But if you are lazy to do the full research, go on a tour package that is local to that country you are visiting would be slightly cheaper as the accommodation and transport is already catered. All you need to do is a little home work about the places in the itenery and you are set for a pretty good holiday without the fuss or worries about not being able to get the accommodation you wanted.
• Singapore
9 Jul 08
i guess i'll just stick to the free & easy way. i can't imagine following someone else's itinerary. worst is those 'optional' tours. i don't want to be stuck in a tour bus waiting for others to return from one. yet i don't want to be suckered into paying for a 'optional' tour i can well do without. maybe doing the research is half the fun. seeing the real thing after reading so much about it completes the experience. cheers ;]
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@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
22 Aug 08
I agree with the last part. Doing the research is just half the fun. IT not only builds up the excitement of going to the place to visit. It also adds to the fascination of the place that is being researched. The second half is to go and visit the place itself! Being there to literally experience the feeling of what is being written in the books. It is never the same!
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Aug 08
yes yes doing research is so much fun. it's almost like taking a virtual tour of the country. thankfully it doesn't give me a fixed mindset of how the place will look like although i try to imagine from descriptions given by others. when i see the place physically, i usually am amazed by the beauty of it. guess my imagination skills are not too good. ;p
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@maximax8 (28490)
• United Kingdom
10 Jul 08
I am an independent traveler not a package tourist. I like to book my flights either direct with the airline or through a travel agent. I read guide books about my destinations before I go. I travel around a region by train, bus or ferry. I try to stay in locally owned accommodation like beach huts and guest houses. I like activities like swimming, snorkeling, walking, seeing wild animals and taking photos. I am free to make all my own decisions about traveling. I tend to move at a fast pace seeing as many different places as possible on a trip overseas. Not everyone has the confidence to travel independently but for me it is the best way to travel. One time I got a last minute package deal to Kenya. Then whilst there I took a train from the coast to Nairobi, then took a safari for five days to see wild animals. It was a cheap way to have the holiday of a lifetime. I have seen last minute package deals to Costa Rica offered. This would be a great way to have an independent holiday in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
11 Jul 08
wow you sound like a lot of fun. i've only stayed in locally owned accommodation once when i was very young. that was in hong kong and we flew there without any reservations. we reached there, checked the local newspapers and rented a room. that was the wildest thing i've done in my life. we didn't have much cash, no credit or debit cards. so if the room didn't materialise we'll have to sleep on the streets. can you book the safari from nairobi? i'd love to go to one but the prices are exorbitant.
@maximax8 (28490)
• United Kingdom
11 Jul 08
I have also been to Hong Kong and when I was there I stayed at the youth hostel on the top of Mount Davis. The views, especially at night, were amazing. It is always great to have some local currency with me. I did go to Italy without this once. I had to change money with a tourist then catch a bus to where there was a bank. The safari for 5 days only cost $150 and included a bed in a tent each night, all meals and a seat in the mini bus. It is far cheaper to book a safari once there than though a travel agent in my home country.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
12 Jul 08
i've heard of the hostel on mount davis. from what you've describe, i must check it out the next time i go to hong kong. i love sitting down with a nice drink and enjoy the view. yes it's good to have local currency. it's really a hassle to have to make a detour so change money. it's worst when the exchange rate is terrible but i've got no choice. $150? that's really dirt cheap compared to what the travel agencies here charged! the cheapest safari tour available here where i am will cost at least a few thousand dollars. one of these days i must make my way to nairobi. it's one of the things on my bucket list. ;p
@Shavkat (63588)
• Philippines
30 Nov 12
Whenever I am having a tour, I rather travel without them. It is a great adventure to explore the world. The initiatives to know the places, discovering the worth of being adventurous in life.
• Singapore
1 Dec 12
i feel exactly the same way! it's great to not know what i'm going to find the next turn. i've always travelled without taking tour packages. this way i get to learn about the city i visit just like a resident. i've discovered many things that i would have never seen if i had joined a tour.
@liulin (68)
• China
11 Jul 08
If i have enough time i would try to be the way of free &easy ,you know ,you can enjoy yourself,go where you want, choose the time you want to go or want to back .That is cheerful! But if the time of travel is short,i would choose go on a package tour, there has little time for you to arrange it.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
12 Jul 08
agree with you totally on the part about going free & easy. i can choose the time, the place and the company. the best part is i can leave at once if i find that the attraction is not as interesting as i thought it'd be. that way i can spend my time more productively elsewhere. as for planning, i guess i'm pretty lucky in this sense. i usually am able to plan for my travel early. so i've got ample time to plan my itinerary. thanks for your response :D
• Philippines
11 Jul 08
been with packages and it is generally cheaper than booking the travel separately. however, i kinda like the free and easy way of doing things. most of the time, i will just book the flight and will find my way to some accommodations. i get better deals sometimes. I just choose the season of travel. I travel during the shoulder or off season. That way, i get better rates.
• Singapore
12 Jul 08
here where i am, it's cheapest to book each item separately. most of the package tour agents book the overseas package through their overseas partner. so they actually charge a commission on the package price. another reason why i find packages more expensive is the additional items. there are bound to be stuff that i don't want. so all considered booking separately is cheaper for me. yes i do agree with the off-peak season part. i'm glad that my partner's and my birthdays fall on off-peak seasons. that way we can celebrate each other's birthday in another country.
• Malaysia
10 Jul 08
most of the time I'll opt for the package tour as it would have everything arranged for me, from meals to tours. At the same time I'll also make my own research of the places that I wish to visit should there be any leisure time that we can spend on our own. free & easy is not bad too, you can have more freedom in planning your time and the places that you want to visit.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
10 Jul 08
yes i totally agree with you. package tour is good for people who likes it that way. the arrangements are all done so no worries and no headaches. it's a travellers nightmare to arrive at a place and realised that the hotel reservations were screwed up! if not for the ungodly hours, i might try a package tour one day. maybe they should come up with some package tour that only brings people around from late morning till early evening. i'll definitely sign up for that. ;p
• Philippines
8 Jul 08
I also do not like package tours. They seem inexpensive but they are actually impractical. Just like what you said, the agency practically choose everything for you. Thus, you will not really be able to fully enjoy what you intend to do. I love traveling and I only ask the agency to book a flight for me. All the rest, I do it on my own.
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@SHAMRACK (8384)
• India
8 Jul 08
Dear friend, I hope we do not need a manager may many our tensions and confusions are overcome with a well known person to guide us. Moreover we may not be alone and may be our tour may be scattered without much systematic planing. I hope a package tour is much planned and systematic and more much risk is taken by those authorities who is behind this tour. More over more information and details are also got from tour guide. It is really bit stress free and less confusions arise.
• Singapore
9 Jul 08
well different man different poison i guess. i've not gone on a package tour as i feel that'll be stressful for me. so far i've been to five countries, all on free & easy tour. i do agree that package tour requires much less planning and is more systematic. a lot of information is provided by the tour guide too. this is something free & easy can't compare. thanks for your reply, cheers ;]