Self-Guided & Independent - Best Tours & Trips 2019

1,547 Self-Guided & Independent tours from 141 tour companies. 604 reviews. 4.8/5 avg rating.
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 ... Read More
All Self-Guided & Independent tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Climate

Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Itinerary Focus

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

Company

Flights & Transport

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Honeymoon In Argentina Self Drive 16 Days

Say Hueque
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
16 days
$ 152 / day
$ 2,435
From : $ 3,287
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy Argentina & Chile Tour
  • Enjoy Trekking in El Chalten
  • Visit El Calafate
  • Explore Bariloche
  • Visit Torres del Paine National Park
Visits:
Andes Mountains, Bariloche, Buenos Aires, El Calafate, Los Glaciares National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, Argentina, Chile
View Trip

Ancient Angkor Wat Independent Adventure

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
3 days
$ 166 / day
$ 499
From : $ 614
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Take in the archaeological splendour of the angkor temples with a local guide
  • Dine on traditional khmer food at a vocational training restaurant
  • Explore vibrant siem reap
Visits:
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
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The Full Camino Primitivo

UTracks
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
17 days
$ 129 / day
$ 2,199
From : $ 3,122
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Walking on the original Camino trail between Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela
  • Experiencing the real pilgrim feeling by getting completely off the beaten track
  • Visiting and staying in authentic villages with intimate testimonies of true devotion
  • Discovering vast and impressive landscapes, which are green and lush throughout the year
Visits:
Santiago, Spain
View Trip

Amazon Wilderness Experience- Independent 4 days ...

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4 days
$ 489 / day
$ 1,955
From : $ 2,639
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • This trip takes you to the heart of ecuador's amazon basin. set in the remote rainforest, sacha lodge is a haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers
  • Caiman, otters, sloths, hoatzin, monkeys, capybaras, anacondas... the amazon is home to some of the most diverse wildlife on earth
  • As well as comfortable accommodation and luxurious meals, your expert guides will enhance your experience with their unique knowledge of the amazon
  • Explore the rainforest on various jungle treks, canopy walks and dugout canoe safaris, or relax in a hammock at the lodge. it's up to you to customise how active you'd like this trip to be
Visits:
Quito, Ecuador
View Trip

Best of Japan with Osaka & Hiroshima

11 days
$ 425 / day
$ 4,679
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit bustling Nakamise Shopping Arcade and Asakusa Kannon Temple, the oldest of their kind in Tokyo
  • Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for the thousands of brightly colored Torii Gates
  • Visit Osaka Castle and take a Walking Tour in Dotonbori, the city’s most famous entertainment district
  • Visit Peace Memorial Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, to see the Memorial Museum and Memorial Hall, which memorialize the lives lost in the Wwii atomic bombing
  • Visit Itsukushima Shrine, a Unesco World Heritage Site, known for its floating Torii Gate
Visits:
Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, Japan
View Trip

Headwater - Self-Guided Walking in Southern Bavaria

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 231 / day
$ 1,849
From : $ 2,496
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Centre-based walking in one of Germany's most picturesque regions
  • Impressive monasteries, regal palaces, onion-domed churches and pretty frescoed houses
  • Friendly, family-run 3-star hotel with steam bath, sauna and Jacuzzis
  • Well-signed paths and trails with a choice of walking levels every day
  • Chairlifts and cable cars leading to panoramic mountain restaurants
Visits:
Bavaria
View Trip

8-Night Northern Exposure

8 days
$ 155 / day
$ 1,242
From : $ 1,528
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore 5000 year old Newgrange & The Boyne Valley 
  • Visit Medieval Towns and Ancient Castles
  • Enjoy two Nights in Belfast City
  • Visit Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Explore the Giants Causeway, Antrim Coast and Donegal
  • Discover Sligo's Yeats' Country & Hidden Waterfalls 
Visits:
Belfast, Ireland
View Trip

The France - Alsace Untour

7 days
$ 127 / day
$ 889
From : $ 1,079
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discover Alsace
  • Visit Strasbourg and Mulhouse
  • Experience the hike in Vosges Mountain
  • Explore Petite Venise
Visits:
Strasbourg, France
View Trip

Paris to London by Bike

UTracks
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 186 / day
$ 1,490
From : $ 2,086
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Cycling on a carefully prepared route between two of Europe's premier cities through diverse scenery
  • Exploring small villages which are full of historical intrigue
  • Cycling through the Vexin natural park with its stunning range of natural and cultural heritages that have attracted painters for many years
  • Visiting sites en route including castles in Normandy and crossing the picturesque Downs
Visits:
Paris, England, France, United Kingdom
View Trip

GORILLA TREK INDEPENDENT ADVENTURE

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
3 days
$ 616 / day
$ 1,849
From : $ 2,496
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Admire a family of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat
  • Have your bases covered with all national park and permit fees for gorilla trekking included
  • Visit the genocide memorial in kigali
Visits:
Kigali, Rwanda, Uganda
View Trip

Machu Picchu Experience - Independent

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5 days
$ 235 / day
$ 1,177
From : $ 1,589
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the beautiful spanish colonial architecture of cusco and the ancient ruins that surround this former incan capital
  • Walk through the breathtaking hills of the sacred valley
  • Explore an array of incan marvels in these hills, from pisac and ollantaytambo to the iconic machu picchu
Visits:
Cusco, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Urubamba, Peru
View Trip

Self-Guided Cycle Camino de Santiago

Explore!
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 170 / day
$ 1,680
From : $ 2,295
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Legendary Camino de Santiago - Cycle through beautiful landscapes and historically important towns and villages
    • Santiago de Compostela - The holy shrine of St. James and a lively town with fine architecture
    • Leon - Imposing Gothic Cathedral with stunning stained glass windows
    • Astorga - Magnificent Bishop's Palace designed by Antoni Gaudi
    • Cruz de Ferro - The famous iron cross at the highest point of the Camino
    • O'Cebreiro - Charming mountain village with cobbled streets, round stone thatched houses and picturesque valley views
    Visits:
    Santiago, Chile
    View Trip

    From Venice to Dolomites

    8 days
    $ 141 / day
    $ 1,127
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Explore Venice and Padua
    • Enjoy Walking and Gondola guided tour
    • Don’t miss St. Mark’s Basilica
    • Discover Garda Lake and Dolomites
    • Visit Bolzano City
    • Explore Prosecco and Valdobbiadene wine route
    Visits:
    Bolzano, Dolomites, Lake Garda, Padua, Venice, Verona, Italy
    View Trip

    Cycling for food and wine lovers - self guided tour

    7 days
    $ 159 / day
    $ 1,113
    From : $ 1,331
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Route to Peralada, a beautiful medieval town in the heart of the wine area

    • Visit the shop Anxovies Soles to purchase a jar of the famous anchovies produced in locally
    • Explore the perfectly preserved hilltop medieval town of Pals
    • Visit the maritime museum and watch the fisherman bring in their catch of the day
    Visits:
    Barcelona, Spain
    View Trip

    Atacama & Explora Lodge – 4 Days

    Say Hueque
    Premier
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    4 days
    $ 559 / day
    $ 2,235
    From : $ 2,548
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
    Highlights
    • Explore Chile
    • Atacama Tours
    • Explora Lodge
    • Luxury Adventure
    Visits:
    Atacama Desert, Chile
    View Trip
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    Top Self-Guided & Independent Experiences and Attractions

    Top Self-Guided & Independent Experiences

    Sampling culinary delicacies in 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

    Enjoying a self guided walking tour 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 

    Taking a train journey through Europe with suggested stops planned out by a travel expert

    Learning some of the local language when staying with a family in Nepal

    view more

    Self-Guided & Independent Trip Reviews

    604 Self-Guided & Independent Tour Reviews - Summary 98% Recommend

    4.8 out of 5
    Excellent 513
    Great 65
    Average 13
    Disappointing 7
    Terrible 6
    Value
    4.8
    Guide
    4.8
    Activities
    4.8
    Lodging
    4.8
    Transportation
    4.8
    Meals
    4.8

    Tour Reviews Write a Review

    Pleasure

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Noura is a fantastic tour guid she knows alot and is very nice , you cant go wrong with her i highly recommend, thank you for a wonderful time, hope to see you soon again, oh and whatever you want she will do her best to organize it :), thank you for everything

    Read more
    Operator Morocco private expert

    A fantastic introduction to Namibia

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    My husband and I went on a 12 day tour of Namibia covering Erindi private game reserve, Etosha, Damaraland, Swakopmund and Sossusvlei. From the start, I was impressed with the professionalism and responsiveness of our contact San-Mari. The trip was a fantastic introduction to Namibia especially due to our guide, Lucky who was knowledgeable, resourceful and friendly. He made the trip a memorable one for us. We will definitely go back to Namibia with NTN again.

    Read more
    Operator Nature Travel Namibia

    They gave us truly memorable days i

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Best tour operator ever! Mohammad and his team were so nice to us, considerate, flexible and always welcoming. They gave us truly memorable days in Jordan! Every day of our journey was planned to perfection and carefully adapted to our needs and wishes.
    Thanks to the entire team and huge thanks to our driver Saleh!

    Read more
    Operator Why Jordan Tours

    Wonderful!

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Euroventure helped me with my dream of getting to know Europe. I had always been scared of traveling alone but this company made it easy, I had so much fun and everything was absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much, I completely recommend this company

    Read more
    Operator Euroventure

    Memorable Trip to Egypt -- Thank to Travelish Tours!!

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Egypt is one of those countries one should visit at least once in their lifetime. I was there in December 2018 and loved every moment of my presence in the land of river Nile, pharaohs, pyramids and much more. Thanks to Travelish Tours and their passionate CEO, Mahmoud Salah for making our trip so enjoyable and seamless. The entire trip was very well organized and we covered pretty much 75-80% of Egypt in 10 days from Cairo, Saqqara, Memphis, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simble, Alexandria and Nile cruise, visiting all the key attractions with the guides who explained the history so coherently that we felt as if we went back in time to thousands of years ago. Thanks to Sam, Khalif and Sara, our guides in Cairo, Nile Cruise, and Alexandria respectively for sharing their passion, knowledge and welcoming us so warm heartedly.

    I would highly recommend Travelish Tour to anyone planning to visit Egypt as the service the company provides is top class from airport pick up, best hotel accommodation, perfect Nile cruise, customized tours to knowledgeable guides. Mahmoud Salah, more popularly called as Momo, is a very humble individual who understands your needs and ensures your stay in his loving country becomes the most memorable trip of your life. His passion for his motherland’s rich cultural history and heritage and inherently caring attitude demonstrated through excellent organization of the trip and customized tours is indeed contagious.

    We felt very safe in Egypt. If you want to explore it like locals contact Travelish Tour and forget about all other logistics as Travelish Tours will take care of all your needs. It would be the best decision you will make and I can vouch through my personal experience as Travelish Tours will ensure your visit to Egypt leaves an indelible mark in your travel memory.

    Thank you Travelish tours and Momo for making our trip memorable and in the bargain we found a good friend in Momo!! :)

    Read more
    Operator Travelish Tours

    Tortuguero was amazing and worth

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Tortuguero was amazing and worth the long trip to get there.. We enjoyed the atmosphere at Mawamba Lodge.. The trips by small boat into the national park allowed us to see three kinds of monkeys and lots of reptiles and birds in their natural habitat. Dennis was a knowledgeable guide. Si Como No at Manuel Antonio was a wonderful hotel with excellent rooms, staff and food

    Read more
    Operator Alexander + Roberts

    Self-Guided & Independent Tours and Travel Guide

    Self-Guided & Independent Attractions & Landmarks Guide

    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). 

    Tour companies that help you plan a custom or self guided travel itinerary take into account your interests and especially your travel pace. If you don't quite know what you're looking for, they can craft a very flexible itinerary allowing you to make up your mind once on the ground. This combination of independence with a bit of guidance from travel experts is the perfect combination for travelers looking to get their feet wet in traveling independently, but don't want to go in cold.

    If this is more along the lines of what you're looking for, a Custom Tour could be for you.  

    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. 

    Many Independent travel planners function just like a tour company, and will plan meals and accomodations as well. The only difference being you don't travel as part of a group or with a guide. Their itineraries are generally tailored to one person, a couple, or families, but often hit similar routes or attractions that a group tour might. With the additional flexibiltiy to cater more closely to you as an individual and allow time to veer away from the planned activities. 

    On the flip side, some provide the bare bones of an itinerary. This is great for those seeking adventure and spontinaity. Because you won't be part of a group, keep an emergency stash handy, as 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 off 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 all the time, 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 solo, 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.

    Safety - 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.

    Popular Destinations for Self-Guided Travel

    1. Spain

    Spain is one of the top self-guided destinations in the world. Many of the independent tours in Spain revolve around the historic pilgrimage trail of Camino. This trail has been in use for hundreds of years as pilgrims made their way to Santiago de Compostela while stopping at religious sites along the way.

    2. Switzerland

    Switzerland is a hiker’s dream. With its towering mountains and stunning valleys, Switzerland is the ideal place for adventurous hikers to explore the outdoors with self-guided tours of the landscape and the beautiful cities.

    3. Argentina

    Argentina is the perfect place to take a self-guided road trip. Argentina’s diverse landscape and historic cities make for an amazing self drive with opportunities to see Patagonia and Buenas Aires at your own pace.

    Finding the Best Self-Guided Experience for Your Travel Style

    Like with researching for a guided tour, finding a self-guided tour company that matches up with your own travel style is extremely important.

    If you are looking for self-guided hiking or cycling trips, finding a company that specializes in adventure tours would be the best fit. However, if you prefer to travel by luxury, making sure you use a luxury travel company would be wise.

    Finding the right tour operator that helps you create the best itinerary for your trip can make a world of difference. Making sure the company understands what is important to you whether it be food, accomodation, sites, or ecotravel, can help design the travel itinerary that works with your style.

    Self Guided Custom Tours

    For those who are looking for a more detailed and preplanned self-guided tour, custom tours may be the answer.

    There are many tour companies and agencies that offer custom tours. Custom tours are usually created by travel agents who work with you to create a personalized itinerary that meets all of your needs. These agents specialize in your area and can guide you to top restaurants, experiences, or hotels.

    However, something to remember when it comes to custom tours. When working with travel agents, it may be more expensive than general self-guided tours or guided tours because there are additional fees for the agent’s time.

    Top Self-Guided & Independent Travel Companies

    Things to Know Before You Go

    How to Prepare for Self-Guided Travel

    One of the most important things to remember about self-guided travel is that you will be on your own. This means that you will have to remember that many of your bookings or tours need to be coordinated by you.

    Putting in some research before you leave is highly recommended even if you have an itinerary planned. Having a general understanding of where you want to go and what tours are offered can help take the stress out of your travels once you reach your destination.

    If your trip includes any hiking or cycling, make sure to do some training in advance. Preparing your body for travel is as important as preparing your itinerary or booking your hotels.

    With self-guided tours, you may not be using tour guides or local experts. This means you may run into language barriers and miscommunications while traveling. Making sure you learn a few words in the local language can help you go a long way.

    Staying Safe

    It is always important to remember safety when traveling, especially if you are traveling in self-guided tours. You will not be in large tour groups or being guided through a destination by a local tour guide. Making sure you take extra precautions to protect your personal property and self is extremely important.

    Having back up plans or knowing where local authorities are can help you if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation. Additionally, if you are hiring drivers or other tours, make sure to do plenty of research and look at the reviews before booking.

    For those who choose hiking or cycling self-guided tours, packing medical supplies or knowing the contact information of authorities can be very helpful as you will be on your own without tour guides.

    Top Considerations

    Self-guided tours almost require more research and planning than a regular guided tour because picking the right company to help you can make or break your travel.

    Right Company

    One of the most important considerations when planning a self-guided tour is picking the right tour company. Many of the major companies provide itineraries for solo tours or book your hotels or dinners. However, if you are looking for a particular destination or activities, picking the right tour agency can be extremely important.

    Best Location

    Not every country is ideal for self-guided tours or some countries do not mash up well with your travel style. Selecting the best location for your self-guided tour can not only lead to an amazing adventure, but will keep you safe as you travel.

    Pre-Bookings

    With selecting the right travel agency to help you plan your self-guided tour, it’s important to note how much help the agency can provide. Do they book your hotels and meals, only your transportation, or do they create a simple itinerary? If you are unsure about your travels or need a little more guidance, make sure the agency you use provides the additional services you want.

    All Self-Guided & Independent tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Self-Guided & Independent trips.

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