First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not the same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!
Please select the captcha checkbox!
Please select the valid captcha!

Top Trip Memories

  • Sampling culinary delicacies across Tuscany
  • Ascending the terraced hillsides to reach upper Ghandruk that offers a fine view of Annapurna mountain range
  • Strolling through the cobblestone streets of Trinidad and enjoying the sight of colorful houses
  • Walking at your own pace
  • Enjoying the hospitality of a local host
  • Having a local guide that shows you around town
  • Volunteering at a rehabilitation and conservation center of wild animals
  • Exploring the Amazon jungles with local guides 
  • Hitching a lift on a cargo boat to Timbuktu. 
  • Relying on strangers to help find our way around in Mongolia, and winding up meeting some of the nicest people on earth.
  • Struggling to get just about anywhere in China, but feeling accomplished when we finally managed it.
  • Road tripping through western Europe, and Inter-railing through the east.
  • Learning some of the local language when staying with a family in Nepal.
View More

Tour Tips

  • Do your research before go. Even if you're not a fan of advance planning, try to at least have an idea of the route you'll take.
  • Try to learn some of the local language. Without a guide, you'll need to find your own way around, as well as organize food and accommodation, and you may not be able to do so in your native language.
  • Even if your goal is to travel independently, don't forget you can book some smaller tours for some parts of your trip. In many places, it can be better (or even essential) to travel as part of a tour.
  • Traveling independently generally means you'll spend less, but it also means unforeseen expenses can arise (such as having to take a taxi when there's no bus, or having to stay at a more expensive hotel when you can't find a cheaper option). So make sure to have an emergency stash of cash handy.
  • Try to be as flexible as possible. When traveling independently, especially in certain places, anything can and will happen. Learn to roll with the punches, and to see obstacles as an adventure.
View More

Self-Guided & Independent Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.6 out of 5

99%

recommend

588 Reviews

  • Excellent 389
  • Great 178
  • Average 16
  • Disappointing 4
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.6
  • Guide
    4.6
  • Activities
    4.6
  • Lodging
    4.6
  • Transportation
    4.6
  • Meals
    4.6

Tour Reviews

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
My son and I cycled from Vienna to Budapest in early June. We had a great time. The accommodation was fabulous all the way and the cycles were high quality. The map and other information was very helpful and although we didn't need it, help would have been at hand if anything had gone wrong. Most of the cycling we did was on quiet roads or cycle lanes which made us feel fairly safe. My only warning to prospective cyclists on this holiday is just to point out that not much of it is actually along the Danube, probably because there just isn't a decent path going along it I guess. Our highlight was Gyor. Never heard of it? We hadn't either but it's a real gem. Bratislava is really charming and Budapest is a city built on a grand scale. Vienna? We weren't so impressed. Just a little bit too la di dah for our taste but a city you have to see especially if like us you are big fans of "The Third Man." Yes, the wheel is still there and yes we did go on it. You have to, right?
Getting to the end. This is strictly cycling for beginners, but that is what we were and it was a relief to get home unharmed.

Read more

A lovely holiday in a beautiful place

Self-Guided Trails of La Palma

4.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
The trip was exactly what we were after - an energetic short break in a sunny location but with plenty of down time to relax. The island is a fascinating place - beautifully rugged and a amazing variety of vegetation ranging from cacti to banana plantations and giant dandelions to pine forests. The paths are incredibly well marked so it is very easy to find your way and the instructions provided complemented them. The trip was very well organised by Exodus and the local operator Natour.
Walking along the top of the Caldera looking down on the clouds and the volcanic landscape.

N/A

Although the walks aren't long in distance be prepared for a lot of up and down! Walking poles are highly recommended as some of the descents are very steep.

The only annoying factor was the inclusion of the evening meal within the package. Whilst the meals we had were generally excellent, there was little choice and we would have preferred the flexibility to chose off the main menu. In Santa Cruz the evening meal was at the same restaurant on all three nights and whilst it was a lovely restaurant choosing from the same set menu was very limiting, particularly for my partner who does not eat gluten. We ended up only eating there two nights and therefore, incurring extra cost. I would recommend taking off the evening meal and reducing the cost of the holiday accordingly. The fixed price menu will still be there was those that want it.

Read more
5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
My son and I cycled from Vienna to Budapest in early June. We had a great time. The accommodation was fabulous all the way and the cycles were high quality. The map and other information was very helpful and although we didn't need it, help would have been at hand if anything had gone wrong. Most of the cycling we did was on quiet roads or cycle lanes which made us feel fairly safe. My only warning to prospective cyclists on this holiday is just to point out that not much of it is actually along the Danube, probably because there just isn't a decent path going along it I guess. Our highlight was Gyor. Never heard of it? We hadn't either but it's a real gem. Bratislava is really charming and Budapest is a city built on a grand scale. Vienna? We weren't so impressed. Just a little bit too la di dah for our taste but a city you have to see especially if like us you are big fans of "The Third Man." Yes, the wheel is still there and yes we did go on it. You have to, right?
Getting to the end. This is strictly cycling for beginners, but that is what we were and it was a relief to get home unharmed.

Read more
4.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
An ideal escape, even in the winter months when the sun is not so reliable.
I'm really pleased to look at the map of Gozo and know that I have walked virtually all of it. The walk booklet led me across the island in all directions but knowing that it was very hard to get lost gave me more freedom to explore 'off piste'.

Not applicable

The Ta Cenc hotel was very welcoming and the rooms comfortable and heated! The spa was a bit tired but the heated pool a must. Staff were lovely. Winter in Gozo was okay but it would have been even nicer in the spring. As a single female traveller I felt very safe.

Remember - you can't get lost on Gozo!

Read more
4.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
I really enjoyed this trip. The walking was probably closer to challenging overall than moderate, as almost every day involved vigorous and often very long climbs and descents, sometimes on difficult surfaces.
The views from the Caldera de Taburiente were incredible. Also the sense of satisfaction and rewarding panoramas on completing some of the more arduous climbs. I also really enjoyed meeting the local people, who are really friendly.

We were self-guided - the notes and map were largely adequate, though occasionally signage or instructions were not completely clear. The local manager was responsive to queries and requests, for example to switch some walking days around due to weather conditions, and not wanting to eat in the same restaurant 3 times.

It's a great way to see plenty of the island and have everything logistical taken care of for you. We found that we got a lot of benefit from being able to chat to people in Spanish - this is a much less touristic island and good English is not so widely spoken.

Do leave time to do a couple of extra walks - we went to Los Tilos, which was very tranquil (and walked out to Los Sauces afterwards), but we were also told about the marcos y cordero tunnel walk (needs a full day I think).

Read more

Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Self-Guided & Independent Trips & Tour Advice

You can travel independently but still make good use of a tour operator. For instance, many tour operators will put together a pre-organized itinerary for you; just follow their thorough instructions and maps rather than a guide, and not have to worry about where you'll sleep at night or where you'll be each day. Tour operators can also put together self-guided vacation packages and holiday packages for you. All you need to do is ask, tell them where you want to go and how you like to travel, and they'll do the rest.

Independent travel comes with plenty of upsides and downsides, and it's worth factoring both in when making your decision to travel independently.

Upsides:

Freedom

One of the main reasons people choose to travel independently is to have the freedom to put together their perfect travel plan. Independent travel puts you firmly in the drivers seat. When you wake up each morning, you get to decide where to go and what to do that day (though be warned, it also means you're in charge of making it happen).

Price

Traveling independently generally works out cheaper than traveling as part of a tour. You don't have to factor in the cost of a guide, or tour company fees. However, be aware that certain things may actually work out more expensive, for example, in places where you need to rent a car and driver, it makes financial sense to join up with a group to split the costs. Also, keep an emergency stash handy, as, when you're traveling independently, there may be times when you can't find accommodation or transport within your budget. If you're trying to keep costs down when traveling, check out our tips for budget travel.

Adventure

Setting of with nothing but a map and a backpack to travel independently can be one of life's most adventurous experiences. Even struggling to figure out a new country can feel like a victory when you finally succeed in making your way from one place to another. While independent travel does create some obstacles, try to see these obstacles as a fun challenge, and remember to look on the positive side.

Immersion

When traveling independently, you'll become immersed in the community you visit. Without a guide to rely on, you'll likely have to learn some of the local language to get by in day to day interactions. Also, when trying to find your way around, you'll likely be relying on help from strangers, which can lead to all kinds of wonderful encounters.

Downsides:

Planning

Some people love planning, but, for those who don't, organizing a trip can be a nightmare. Even if you're planning to just hop on a plane and see where the wind takes you, there are still flights to book, travel insurance to sort out, and accommodation to arrange (for the first few nights, at least). It's also a good idea to read up about your destination in advance, particularly when it comes to places to visit, sights to see, and things to do. If this doesn't sound like your thing, have a look at a guided tour to see if that's a better option for your trip. Alternatively there are several tour companies that can help you craft an indepentent itinerary.

Logistics

When traveling independently, the planning doesn't stop once you've arrived at your destination. Throughout your trip, you must deal with the logistics of finding your way around, sorting out necessities, and bargaining or hunting for the best price. And all while possibly dealing with a language barrier and an infrastructure far different from what you're used to. To some, dealing with logistics is all part of the adventure, but for others, it's a hassle that takes away from their experience of travel (and wastes a lot of their valuable holiday time).

Loneliness

If you're traveling alone, then joining a tour can be a great way to meet other people. If you decide to travel independently, your trip can be a great experience in many ways, but it can also be lonely. To meet other travelers when on an independent trip, try finding hostels with a lively sociable bar, meeting other travelers through travel forums, or going on a few short group trips. To meet locals, try taking part in fun lessons, or arranging some home stays.

Feasibility

Even if you prefer traveling independently, it can sometimes be unfeasible or even impossible to do so in certain places. Research your destination to find out whether traveling independently is possible and practical. Here's a list of some places where having a tour guide is essential.

Rover How can we help?

We respect your privacy and take great care to protect your information. By submitting this form you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

×

Experts

Gavin D.
Ailish Casey
 
 

Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by: