Travel Snobbery and a Tour to Bali
Independent travelers can look down upon tour groups as not being “hard core” or “authentic” enough. Luxury travelers can look down upon backpackers as cheapskates one notch above street riffraff. Holiday-makers seeking to relax with a cocktail on the beach aren’t “real” travelers while those who find themselves trying to go on $5 each day are “escapists.”
I possibly could do not delay – on with the stereotypes and slurs that I’ve heard fly everywhere, but that’s not the idea. A very important factor travel can educate you on – if you let it – is that the planet comprises of people whose goals and preferences differ. And the ones differences – in addition they connect with travel.
Whenever we announced that people were joining a G Adventures tour of Bali, several friends and readers cocked their heads (literally and virtually), questioning that which was going on. In the end, we have been independent travelers and Bali is really a pretty easy spot to travel.
The echoes of judgment reached their zenith (or nadir, based on your perspective) whenever a follower on Twitter replied to your announcement with: “Why ANYONE requires a tour of Bali is beyond me.”
In reality we didn’t require a tour of Bali. I’d argue that apart from several difficult-to-reach places where specialized transportation or technical expertise is necessary (e.g., Antarctica, Mount Everest, etc.), you truly don’t require a tour anywhere.
Why have a tour?
We knew our reasons, but to comprehend many others we approached some individuals on our tour and asked them.
Tours: Some of the Reasons to Take Them
Several solo female travelers felt convenient – for safety and companionship reasons – traveling in a little group. Others saw the tour in an effort to explore elements of the island they may not otherwise discover independently very quickly.
Bali High: Above the clouds on Mt. Batur.
Others with busy work schedules commented: “I work a whole lot, so I didn’t desire to spend lots of time booking hotels and managing logistics.”
With logistics looked after, they could concentrate on the substance of the trip.
And who have been the people with one of these reasons?
There is a Canadian woman who received a G Adventures tour on her behalf 21st birthday and used it to visit outside THE UNITED STATES for the very first time. There is also a well-traveled couple honeymooning from Britain, a Swiss event planning manager, a Peruvian-American New Yorker working at a bank, and two (yes, two) operating room nurses from opposite ends of the earth. This was just the start.
Friends. Ubud Monkey Forest: He had not been on our tour. She was.
Some individuals found Bali exclusively for the tour. Others, like us, incorporated it right into a longer trip round the island.
Quite simply, there is a diverse band of nationalities, ages, professions, travel experience and known reasons for joining the tour. And frankly, this is exactly what managed to get interesting.
Our Known reasons for Going for a Tour?
Our reasons were pretty straightforward. Bangladesh, and all of the organizing we did to visit through the united states independently for nearly six weeks, had sapped a lot of our energy. So we found Bali to relax, do some yoga and also have some fun.
We wanted a secondary – to take pleasure from the island and sample what it had to provide – but we’d little interest in all of the logistics arrangements.
Atop Mt. Batur volcano at dawn
A few of you might be thinking: “Your tour was free so it’s an easy task to decide to take one once you don’t have to shell out the dough.”
Fair point, but also for a couple of things. We joined this specific tour because we wished to. And in the long run, we spent a good bit of our very own money on optional activities – again, because we wished to.
Autonomy on the Tour?
While G Adventures provided the framework of the trip by arranging logistics (hotels, transport, temple visits), it had been the tour participants who decided how exactly to fill in your body of these trip.
Balinese Cooking Class in Ubud
For individuals who wished to chill at the pool and obtain a massage, that has been cool. For other people who wanted to awaken at 3:30 AM and climb a volcano, good you. Want to shop? Even more power to you. In the event that you wished to join the group for supper, great. If not, have a great time by yourself. (Note: Optional activities aren’t contained in the price of the tour so make sure to ask ahead about costs in order to accurately budget your trip).
Basically, the theory is do what you would like to do. That is your vacation in the end.
Small Group Tours or Independent Travel?
There may be a period for both. If you decide to have a tour anywhere should be determined by your travel goals as well as your resources (i.e., money and time). Take into account that in the event that you travel independently 1 day and have a tour another, that’s OK too.
With regards to travel, do what fits you and brings you satisfaction – if you do so respectfully. In the end, travel is approximately exploring, adapting, learning, and understanding others.
Here’s to respecting our travel differences and enjoying the journey!
The experiences above were from the G Adventures’ Classic Bali Tour. In the event that you intend to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please contemplate starting the procedure by simply clicking the ad below. The purchase price stays the same for you and we earn a little commission. Many thanks!
About Audrey Scott
37 applying for grants “Travel Snobbery and a Tour to Bali”
Wonderful defense of group tours Audrey. As if you said, there’s co much judgment within the travel community.
I’ve never been on a tour, but I could imagine will be nice to go to a destination without spending on a regular basis and effort researching and planning the trip.
EASILY plan my very own independent trip Personally i think like sometimes most of the surprise and spontaneity is killed.
But, when I leave without plans and having done no prior research (usually the case), I almost inevitably result in various crisis and misadventures-which are fun to retell later but which may be incredibly stressful at that time.
It looks like your GAP Adventure tour struck the right balance!
Excellent post. Not long ago i stated my on my travel confessions post that I don’t like tourists. However, there’s a time and place for all those to be tourists. As a traveler, I’ve traveled solo, as a couple of, on a tour, and on a secondary package. Stayed in places like luxury hotels to hostels. I favor budget travel but I realize you can find all sorts of travelers and you’ll find nothing wrong with that. I love tours and independent travel. It’s an excellent balance so you’ll find nothing wrong with just how people travel. I definitely don’t trust all of the ways people travel but understand we all have been different inside our approaches.
Ah, travel snobbery… I’m with you there. 🙂 Good article!
I believe there are as much reasons and methods to travel as you can find people. As with any facet of lifestyle, it’s OK to possess your personal ideas and strict values when traveling, but it’s another to impose them on others or judge them for their differences.
Personally, I travel ‘independently’ (not just a fan of the planet – I still be determined by plenty of kindness and resources) by choice, both personal and ethical. Generally when there’s a tour involved, this means an attraction has gotten big enough that 1) it might be affecting the neighborhood economy, & most of the changing times in a negative way, e.g. by leaking money to international companies; and 2) because businesspeople everywhere smell tours a mile away and can usually overcharge the heck out of everything. Traveling outside a tour allows me to create my very own discoveries and mistakes, forces me to socialize with residents rather than other foreigners, and allows me to go about much slower when compared to a tour would force me to go.
But really, it might be ridiculous of me to guage anyone for not doing what I really do. And besides, I’ve met independent travelers who have been real disrespectful a**holes, and package tour travelers who have been kind and open-minded. To each their very own! Respect and open-mindedness are a lot more important. 🙂
Audrey, this can be a great post because I, too, am sick and tired of the travel snobbery.
We also prefer to incorporate some tours into our independent travel. Frequently, we’ll take day tours as the guide could have excellent insights in to the local culture or history (for instance, I believe that having a tour guide through the Roman ruins really helped us understand and “see” beyond the rubble from what the palaces/monuments/temples was previously like). We took a 3 week organized tour through Namibia and Botswana after spending 5 weeks driving on our very own through South Africa because we wished to save costs.
Both folks enjoy mixing tours into independent travel because touring supplies a different method of traveling. And, isn’t that the complete point of traveling anyhow – to expand our minds and present us a chance to try various things?
I really like this topic. Great blog. We travel within an eco-RV and we love speaking with travelers of most sorts. We’ve interviewed cross-country cyclist, walkers, backpackers, RVers, and bus tourists. Everyone has different known reasons for escaping . and about. We wish visitors to explore and learn different cultures and revel in history and nature. That needs to be celebrated and encouraged, not nick picked on.
You can find visas that some individuals couldn’t get unless they’re on a tour! I still don’t have my Jordanian and Egyptian visas because I’m an unbiased woman traveler. I’m ready to book a tour but there’s none leaving from my country. I booked from Gap Adventure however they don’t have the visa application service that your consulate required of me. Therefore sometimes you merely CAN’T go at all.
Wow, great & thoughtful comments here. Many thanks!
@Akila: The longer that people travel, the more the travel snobbery gets under my skin. I understand that I’ve been judgmental about travel styles before, but now I must say i realize that everyone must respect everyone else’s ways and known reasons for travel.
And, as if you said, it’s fun to combine things up when you’re traveling longterm. We’ve also had excellent experiences picking right up local guides and tours on the way to understand more concerning the culture and history of the area we’re visiting. It’s about being open and respectful of every other.
@Melanie: I concur that there is an excessive amount of judgement and almost “competition” in the travel community. You will see occasions when we enjoy going on our very own and occasions when it’s be on a tour where another person is organizing the fundamentals and you can benefit from the substance of the trip. Also, when you yourself have a good group, that’s fun in and of itself.
A few of our funniest travel moments also have happened when things just happened without planning or any expectations.
@Nikki: Really like this line from your own comment: “We wish visitors to explore and learn different cultures and revel in history and nature. That needs to be celebrated and encouraged, not nick picked on.”
A few of the most fun people we’ve met on our journey have already been the over-60 crowd with a love of life and travel, but with experience and perspective.
@Wanderlass: I’m really sorry to listen to about your continued issues with Jordan and Egypt visas. Perhaps you have tried booking tours with local tour companies for the visa support? This is exactly what we had to accomplish when we visited Turkmenistan and in addition for Uzbekistan. I’ve the name of several local tour companies from Jordan if that helps. All the best!
@Jeremy: Well done. And I believe everyone should try different varieties of travel to uncover what suits them and their travel goals best. We also prefer budget travel since it provides us other learning opportunities. But, it really is nice every once in awhile to splurge and also have a little luxury. As if you, I just want visitors to travel respectfully – and therefore they treat the area and the people they’re visiting with respect.
@Daniel: As if you, we’ve also met independent travelers with huge chips on the shoulder that are incredibly disrespectful of the area they are visiting, in the same way we’ve met people on tour groups that are probably the most curious and open people we’ve run into. What’s important would be to understand that not everyone gets the same time, resources and preferences. Just what exactly works for just one person may not work with another…and that’s OK.
While I really do think some tours only head to big sites, there are a number of tours on the market that go rather “off the beaten path” (to pardon the overused expression). We’ve run into small tours in probably the most remote places (Pamir Mountains, Turkmenistan). The secret would be to actually research the tour company to be certain that the amount of money spent actually benefits the neighborhood economy. Among the things I liked concerning the Gap tour was that people spent a day at an NGO where we ate lunch there to aid the organization and find out about its people.
@Erin: You’re right – for longterm travelers (or digital nomads), being constantly on a tour wouldn’t normally work due to the pace. But, it really is nice every once in awhile to shake up the routine and take action like this for a brief period.
Among the things that I must say i liked concerning the Gap tour was that it hired local guides using places so that we’re able to really find out about the culture and place from the local expert. I had so many questions about Balinese Hinduism that I wasn’t in a position to ask at our previous homestay due to the degree of English of the household. The neighborhood guide was actually really pleased to have someone so thinking about his religion he took great efforts to answer everything. Really fascinating.
@JoAnna: Confession – we’re also really bad with planning the facts. We put things off before last moment and play hot potato on whose job it really is to do it. As if you, we’ve also met some very nice people on tours (multi-day and day) that people could have never met otherwise.
We’ll be posting shortly in what we actually did through the week on the tour. It had been fun!
I really like it! Great post. The true question I’ve is…which dishes did you make in the cooking class?? Thoughts of $1 nasi goreng making my mouth water. I heart Bali.