Travel Options.

Most of the people I have met expressed the wish to visit another country. However, in most cases, the reason for not fulfilling that wish is finance. Visiting another country is, unfortunately, expensive, and without a trust fund, you will have to save or inherit some money to afford it. We are planning an article on how we save money to afford our travels for the near future. The dilemma we are addressing here is how to do it.

We have done it all. We traveled in the far east using a Travel Agent, toured Europe in a group, and planned tours in Africa and Europe all on our own. There is a time and a place for all the options.

Travel Agents

These people are usually situated in major shopping centers, with offices filled with pamphlets of all the exotic locations. They have computerized systems that can find just about anything, anywhere. Plane tickets, hotel accommodation, day tours, Cruise liners, you name it, and they can find it. They normally start by asking about your budget, and they make sure you spend it all. After all, they work on commission; the more you spend, the more they earn.

The advantage of using a travel agent is that the staff are knowledgeable. They earn holidays for the places we want to visit. They also have a lot of resources at their disposal, and they get access to all the discounts available. Transport from the airport to your hotel is normally included.

The negative part is that they must earn a living. There are two ways that they can do that. First, they can add their commission to your account. I am still determining what that commission is, but let us use 10% as an example. So for every R13 000 ($1 000), you will pay an additional R1 300 ($100). The second option is to keep the discounts that they get and charge you the normal rates. Discounts can vary from 8% to 30% and sometimes even more. Another negative is that you are still on your own after you have booked the holiday.

Travel with a group.

Group Tour with the world

Traveling with a group is a very social way of discovering another country. Groups are mostly from the same country, either meeting at the airport before departure or on the bus at the destination. We made friends for life on one such tour.

The negative of this type of tour is that you can’t choose who you are traveling with. Chances are that there will be at least one annoying person in the group. You also do not always know the size of the tour. We have heard of tours with more than a hundred people in the group. Surely, managing such a group will take time, and while you are in another country, time means money. One person coming late will impact the rest of the group.

The tour we traveled in had 42 people in the group. Ages vary between 6 and 71. This can also be a negative. Older people are not interested in the nightlife, young people want to party, and parents with children can’t be out too late in the evenings. We were lucky in this regard. Although the ages differed greatly, we did not have any age-related issues.

Most of the tours we investigated before we booked our seats included free time. This is normally an afternoon and sometimes a whole day off. During this time, you are on your own and can do what you like (with or without other group members).

While traveling with a group, you are confined to the scheduled timetables. Passing a viewpoint in the Alps, the bus will only stop if it is scheduled to stop there. We love to make unscheduled stops if we see something interesting. If the bus is scheduled to stop at a concentration camp for two hours, it will stop there for the full two hours. We are not the type of people who like to visit museums, especially something that will dampen the festive mood of the holiday.

The advantage of traveling with a tour group is that everything is arranged for you. Logistics is not your problem. The poor tour leader must ensure everything is as planned and fix it if not. You also travel with a group of potential friends. You already have at least one thing in common with everyone in the group – your love for travel. Your tour guide is also very knowledgeable about tourist attractions in the area where you travel and can give advice where it is required.

You also get assistance with visa applications, travel insurance, and any other administration required. If you have never traveled before, this is the best way to find out exactly what is required to travel abroad.

These tour operators also do a lot of traveling while not with a group. During these travels, they will negotiate better deals for future tours, improve the itinerary of the existing tours and improve their knowledge of the areas that the groups visit.

All in all, this can be one of the better ways to travel. Remember, the company is not in the business for your pleasure; two make money in the process. Yes, they get bulk discounts, but that pays for the staff traveling with you and dividends to the shareholders. So choose the company well, and make sure that they cater to your age group and that the itinerary is what you would like to see/do.

We have traveled with C the World and can recommend them to people aged between 25 and 60.

Planning your trip.

This is the most time-consuming way of planning a trip and the most rewarding. The first decision you need to make is where you want to go. It can be specific, like Paris, or less specific, like Europe. This decision will help with the next decisions. Next, you must decide on travel dates and find your Airline tickets. See our post on buying airline tickets for more information in this regard.

Now you must start the research. How many days do you require and where? Your trip is always too short to do everything you want, so decide your priorities. If you only go to a

Brugge Belltower – Belgium

Single destination, life will be much easier. Traveling to multiple cities complicates matters but gives you much more bang for your buck. Travel insurance can be procured as your dates are now fixed. Decide on means of transport, self-drive versus public transport, and book the transport.

After completing a rough itinerary, at this stage, you can start with accommodation, only where you want to go and how long at each destination. We use as we earn discounts every time we book, which equates to discounted future bookings. In addition, also offers free cancellation on most bookings. This will allow you to change your itinerary at a very late stage.

With plane tickets and proof of your accommodation, you are ready for your visa application (if required). You will find all re information required for your visa application on the country’s website. Make sure you have all the required documentation, such as a letter from your employer, bank statements, etc., with you when you go for your appointment. You might have to pay the full amount again if you have to make another appointment.

Well, this sounds like a lot of work for a small benefit. Maybe it is, but we love the research as much as the travel. The nice part of traveling this way is discovering that the photographs you saw on Google give you only 50% of the destination. The Fish River Canyon is one such place. Photos do not show the size of the canyon. Plitvice Lakes (Croatia) is another. The photos do not show the subtle changes in the color of the water as the sun changes position.

The biggest advantage of traveling on our own is that we see what we want to see. If we discover something en route that we should have been aware of, we can change our plans there and include them in the itinerary. We are also independent of other people to stay on schedule. Our fitness is also different from what it used to be when we were younger; now, we can plan a slow day after a busy day to give the body some time to recover.


It does not matter what means you choose to travel; each has positive and negative points.

Travel Agents: Good advice and assistance at a price

Tour groups: Traveling with a guide is very social, but you are confined to the itinerary.

Do it yourself: Hard work at first, but it will be very rewarding.

We hope that this article will assist you in choosing the right travel option for your next holiday.

Happy holidays