Say for a moment that you want the convenience of a tour but not necessarily the full tour experience. So you’re hoping to book a structured trip that includes transportation, hotels, and some of the activities, but prefer to not travel with a group.
You are not alone. In fact, a number of tour companies offer independent tours for people who want to benefit from the worldwide network of providers tour companies have, but who want to travel on their own and choose their activities based on what they feel like doing that day, not what’s on the schedule. There’s a spectrum of options that range from pretty much fully independent to more structured tours that build in a ton of free time for independent exploration.
Independent Tour Options from Tour Companies
Here’s a rundown of the tour companies and travel package companies that offer independent vacations.
Globus: Independence by Globus
Globus touts its newish Independence by Globus offering as offering the “many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled.” Two formats–independent city stays and independent tours–cover a wealth of itineraries in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the South Pacific.
Independent City Stays
Globus’ Independent City Stays focus on cities like Buenos Aires, Paris, and Tokyo. Included in the stay are hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, sightseeing orientations, and transportation between cities. You’ll have the support of Globus Local Hosts in the city as well as the GlobusGO app with its many traveler resources.
- 4-day Independent Buenos Aires City Stay
- 7-day Independent Tokyo and Kyoto City Stays
- 4-day Independent Paris City Stay
Globus’ Independent Tours include hotel accommodations, daily breakfasts and some other meals, some guided sightseeing, and transportation between cities. You’ll also benefit from the expertise of Globus Local Hosts and have access to the GlobusGo mobile app. These independent tours include plenty of free time so you can choose what you want to do and when.
Sample Independence by Globus Tours
- 11-day, two-country Independent South Africa and Victoria Falls
- 13-day Independent Highlights of Cambodia and Thailand
- 7-day Independent Costa Rica Wonders
Exodus Travels: Self-Guided Tours
Exodus Travels does the heavy lifting on the planning of European cycling, walking, and cultural adventures, freeing up more room for you to just enjoy your travels. The golden ticket on Exodus’ self-guided tours are its in-depth trip notes that give you detailed guidance right down to the best spots for lunch and where to stop along the way. These tours also include accommodations, luggage transport between hotels, plus plenty of local support along the way (and 24-hour emergency support). These self-guided tours make bucket-list experiences like hiking in the Swiss Alps, walking the Camino de Santiago, or cycling through Portugal a lot easier to plan.
Sample Exodus Travels Self-Guided Tours
- 11-day Walking the Camino de Santiago Tour
- 8-day Porto Coastal Cycling Tour
- 8-day Classic Swiss Alps Walk Tour
Intrepid Basix Trips
Intrepid focuses on adventure and off-the-beaten-path destinations, and with its Basix trips, it offers independent travelers a sort of tour-light experience that’s big on independent vibes. The budget-minded option packages accommodations–simple, clean, centrally located hotels, hostels, and even sometimes camping accommodations. Most Basix trips also include a night or two of homestays to give you a feel for local life. You get a local tour guide who gets you between stops, and offers recommendations for food, attractions, and so on. There are optional activities that you can choose to join a group for or opt out of and explore on your own.
Sample Intrepid Basix Tours
Road Scholar Independent City Tours
Like Intrepid’s Basix tours, Road Scholar‘s Independent City Tours offer the basic structure of a tour but with miles more flexibility and free time than the typical tour. It’s like a tour in that you have a Group Leader and Road Scholar’s signature educational programming, but you also have lots of free time plus resources that help you make the most of your independent hours—think self-guided excursion programs and transit and museum passes.
Sample Road Scholar Independent City Tours
- 6-day Jazz, Jambalaya, and Joie de Vivre in New Orleans
- 8-day Independent Venice: Art, Culture and Canals
- 5-day A Taste of Montreal