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When to Choose a Resort Over Indie Travel

Photo by Ian R via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

A lot of blog posts and articles I write are aimed at travelers planning an independent trip. But there are times when a package tour is the right way to go, and when there’s no better place to stay than a resort.

Travel should be about the experience. At times, travelers are seeking a challenge; at times we seek refuge. Some destinations are just plain hard-going when you’re an independent traveler; some destinations are so exquisite you deserve to spend time there on on luxury holidays that give you the time and platform you need to soak up every moment.

Exotic Locales

The Maldives are a good example of a destination that’s once-in-a-lifetime fantastic and quite difficult to tackle as an independent traveler. Since many of the most beautiful locations on the atolls, and best dive sites, are far from towns where you’d find normal hotels, staying at a resort located on a more remote atoll will get you closer to the reasons you want to be in the Maldives in the first place.  Fiji and French Polynesia are two other locations where the local infrastructure makes it hard to travel well without the support of a resorts’ resources.

Another time travelers might need to group up and sign on to a resort or package deal is when a guide is needed. Safaris in Africa are possible to arrange on the ground when you arrive, but it’s safer and wiser to plan ahead and book in with a group–and possibly also into an affiliated resort.

Saving Time

E Ji Na is difficult to get to without a tour. Photo by Beth Green

E Ji Na is difficult to get to without a tour. Photo by Beth Green

Traveling with an organized group isn’t for everyone, but for certain destinations it can streamline your trip so that you fit a larger itinerary into the vacation days you have available. For example, I lived and traveled in China for years, so I had the luxury of time that allowed me to take intercity buses to the wrong stations, or be told that the local hotels wouldn’t accept foreigners, or learn that all shops and transport were closed for a three-day holiday, or find out that all train tickets were sold out to my destination for the foreseeable future. But if I had only had two weeks to experience China, I might have chosen to go with a tour company so that I could focus on what I saw and not the logistics.

In fact, one time my partner and I had no other choice than to get a tour in China–we wanted to see the autumn poplar leaves at E Ji Na in Inner Mongolia, and there were apparently no public transport options at all and we were not allowed to rent a car.

Functions and events

Destination weddings, family trips that double as honeymoons–a Facebook friend also went on a ‘babymoon’ recently, so apparently that’s a thing too–and family reunions are another time that you’d be hard pressed to find a better location than a resort. When you’ve got a group of people who want to be together a lot of the time but not 24/7 a resort gives them all a place to stay, and eat and play with the option to mingle but also a chance to have their own privacy.

Resorts are also especially practical when you have a group that includes travelers with limited mobility and/or children. If you choose your location well, then you’ll be able to book ground-floor rooms, excursions that have limited walking, and possibly even childcare.

What about you? Are you an indie traveler who sometimes chooses to stay in a resort? What factors help you decide how you spend your holidays? Let me know in the comments or touch base on social media!

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Beth Green

Beth Green is an American freelance writer who has lived in Europe and Asia since 2003. She grew up on a sailboat and, though now a landlubber, still enjoys a peripatetic life. She writes blogs, articles and suspense about travel, expatriate living, and many other topics. A social media addict, she’d love to hear from you about your favorite travel experiences.
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