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The Forum > Article Comments > Confessions of a package tour snob > Comments

Confessions of a package tour snob : Comments

By Emma Walters, published 2/7/2008

Thailand: beautiful one day, packaged the next. Who has the more authentic holiday, the package tourist or the independent traveller?

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'Who has the more authentic holiday, the package tourist or the independent traveller?'

The independent traveller ... so long as they are an irrational, disorganised, anti-social, fantasy-prone cruising yachtie.
Posted by keith, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 9:13:30 AM
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I own a busy B&B on the Granite Belt of southern Queensland, so when I take a holiday, I travel independantly, deliberately to avoid polite conversation with other travellers. I've perfected independant travel in China in recent years, where I spend two weeks every May. I hire a young Chinese girl, able to speak some English, to meet me at a chosen destination. This year I had planned to visit Sichuan province, but when the devasting earthquake struck the region six days before my arrival date, I promptly arranged to meet her in Shanghai. Apart from having a holiday, my interests are different to those of most travel tour tourists, as I'm particularly interested in the farming techniques of the regions I visit. You can read my thoughts on the food situation in Online, published on 12th June. My holidays are less expensive than those advertised by tour companies as my Chinese speaking companion is always charged a Chinese price for anything we buy from meals through to accommodation or taxi fares, thus saving me her wages. She gets a paid holiday to regions she has never previously visited and I have a hand maiden who ensures my every need is met.
Posted by Country girl, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 9:41:23 AM
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We went for the first time to Thailand- Bangkok and Phuket (Karon Beach) in May. We had our accommodation booked, an orientation tour to both then we planned our tours around what was available in the time we were there. Admittedly, we chose to stick to one Tour Company. Next time we plan to really wing it. Freewheeling accommodation and tours not pre-booked before we leave.
I found the sameness- similar type of Australian with similar chats, time constraints preventing one to really focus on the intricate art work or foods meant I only got a glimpse on these tours.
I tired of the seemingly obligatory 'tour' to the gem company at both spots. I know my gems thanks to being a fossicker here and I could see many 'created' gems. When I questioned and objected to being treated as an idiot with the woman following us closely to scoop up purchases I left in tears. The gem company supplies a 'guide' to each guest to escort/rush clients through the factory.

The day where we decided to take the local transport meant we were able to chat to locals, take our time viewing sights and shops. Be warned though you will still be exposed to serious haggling or touting by the Thai's. Packaged tours do not seem to make any difference in protecting people from them.
Posted by babs, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 10:33:49 AM
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Iíll take independent travel any day. With perhaps short organised tours inserted.
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 5:46:04 PM
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Iíve never been on a package tour, but have no problem with them. I think travellers of all kinds need to be carefully managed: they have the potential to do so much damage.

Travelling always makes me wonder how Ďauthenticí my experiences back home are too.
Posted by Kicky, Thursday, 3 July 2008 7:10:23 AM
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To faithfully utilise Lonely Planet's recommendations has itself a "package" element and may leave other, better, establishments undeservedly little patronised.
Posted by Ginger Meg, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 3:51:27 PM
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