Planning a trip is almost as sweet as living it, but not nearly so sweet as recalling it
At least, that's my take.
Basically, a trip just keeps getting better and better with the recalling winning out even over the actual experience because it lasts a lifetime.
So, as a travel blogger who usually travels independently but really needs a vacation now and then, I look for an option that minimizes the planning part and maximizes on-the-ground experiences for long term memories.
Solo travel with someone else in control.
I love traveling independently. It's exciting, demanding and challenging at times. I love the unpredictable and spontaneous nature of it.
However, last year I learned the benefits of taking a tour. I went to China with Overseas Adventure Travel. With all the planning and navigating in their hands, I found myself more able to relax. I enjoyed the education component and I found the curiosity of my fellow travelers stimulating. I learned the value of taking a tour. (Read: China Through the Eyes of Others)
This year my vacation is again with Overseas Adventure Travel. Yes, I am fortunate as I am traveling as their guest. However, I want to be clear that I can recommend this Boston company as
- I have experienced the quality of their tours
- they specialize in small groups which I like (16 people maximum) and
- they dedicate two of the eight rooms on each trip for singles without charging a single supplement.
Special offers aside, that's as good a solo travel policy as I've seen from the travel industry.
I'm going to Java and Bali
I'm taking OAT's new trip: Java & Bali: Indonesia's Mystical Islands. I just received my final information package this morning and it shows that there are 15 people on the trip, three of whom look to be solo travelers. It lasts 16 days and costs $2695 plus airfare which OAT offers from 16 cities. Leveraging their volume purchases your cost is $1300 which is almost $300 lower than flights offered when I did a search on Expedia. The trip includes:
- Jakarta including visits to the Istiqlal Mosque and a walking tour of the old city.
- Bogo Botanical Gardens and Bandung
- Train to Yogyakarta and cyclo-rickshaw tour of city.
- Sambisari Temple and Prambanan Temple and a home-hosted dinner
- Borobudur Temple which UNESCO calls “one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.”
- Fly to Bali and Ubud's Sacred Monkey Forest
- Kintamani Volcano and hike Tjampuhan Hill
- Explore Ubud
- Gitgit Waterfall and travel to Lovina
- Visit Tgia Wasa Village and a home-hosted lunch
- Rice Terraces and Travel to Jimbaran
- Uluwatu Cliffside Temple and Farewell Dinner
- Fly to Taipei. Free time and then transfers to airport for flight home.
There's still some planning to do?
Every person on every trip receives a Travel Handbook well before their trip. The Handbook offers fun stuff like a list of films you may want to watch before leaving as well as information about passport, visa and vaccination requirements. For the latter they recommend going to the Center for Disease Control site as it is the most current on public health issues around the world.
So now, I'm in preparation mode. I'm checking the exchange rate on the Indonesian Rupiah (approximately 10,000 IDR is 90 cents Canadian), checking my vaccination records, checking Netflix for the movies they've recommended and reading up on Java and Bali.
It's going to be a great solo trip and a great solo vacation.