Many travellers still unfairly avoid packaged tours. Most of the time this is through either ignorance or some deluded sense that they are somehow not a tourist themselves. The plain truth is, these tours are convenient and a great way to see a foreign country. There are no driving hassles and there’s always a tour guide on board to sort out any issues, handle outgoing flights and transfers etc. They frequently also know secrets only a local would know. One of the downsides is the regimental schedule which quite frequently involves early starts but you are generally assured of seeing all the important attractions. Detractors will also point toward a loss of freedom. Yes, there is a certain loss of freedom but there is always plenty of free time to do shopping or go off on your own. At the end of the day these tours are a fantastic solution for the solo traveller or those who appreciate the ease of a hassle-free holiday. Another upside is you get to meet new friends from around the world. One thing I have noticed in all advertised tours – the actual activity days are actually 2 days shorter than advertised. That is to say a 15 day tour will actually only have 13 days of tour activity. The first day you are left to your own devices as everyone arrives at different times. And pretty much every tour ends after breakfast on the last day but tour companies always count these as tour days. They really shouldn’t but they do. I guess they’ll say it’s because they have to drive everyone to the airport. on that day. My advice for all tours is to arrange for some extra days stay in the start and/or end city as there is almost always never enough time allowed to explore these cities. And never stay at the tour hotel. Great deals can found online for better hotels – Tripadvisor is a great source of information for the best hotels for you. If your idea of a holiday is lounging by a pool for two weeks you can always stay home and do that. In future posts I will detail the pros and cons of individual tour companies.