It’s time to plan your next vacation. You are ready to head to an amazing destination like Europe or Alaska. How do you begin planning it? The first question you need to ask is: What type of travel is best for you?
What does this mean? Well, two travelers may be looking at taking a vacation to the same destination but their experiences could be totally different! This will largely depend on their travel style and preferences.
Do you want a lot of planned activities? A guided tour might be a good choice for you. Or, would you prefer more flexibility? Well, then a FIT vacation is likely a better choice. Let’s dive into the different options!
FIT refers to “free independent traveler”. The key word here is independent. There is no guide or preset itinerary. The traveler receives a customized itinerary that may include the following components:
- Hotel or Resort Accommodations
- Tours & Activities
- Travel Insurance
This type of trip feels all-inclusive and may include some guided activities to tourist attractions. However, your travel advisor designs your trip. It is not preset by a travel supplier.
The Pros & Cons
The benefits of FIT travel are many! Your trip is completely customized for YOU. It is designed for your travel party and there are no other guests with you for the duration of the trip. While you may opt to have guided tours to different tourist attractions, you choose how many and what tours you do. You also determine the length of stay and the route that you take.
The beauty of this type of vacation is that you have time to explore on your own without worrying about a preset schedule.
The downside of this type of vacation is that it may be harder to budget for the total cost of the trip. Keep in mind that you will have to plan accordingly for meals, in-destination transportation, and any additional sightseeing costs. However, it is often possible to add components such as a CityPass or sightseeing tours that include meals.
Benefits of Working with a Travel Advisor for Your FIT
You may be wondering – if I want free independent travel, why would I use a travel advisor? Your travel advisor will be able to make the appropriate recommendations based on your wish list so don’t hesitate to share any specific requests. In addition, your travel advisor may be able to set up private, customized experiences such as a cooking class or wine-tasting tour. Plus, travel advisors often know where to find non-traditional accommodations such as villas or family-run bed-and-breakfasts.
Sample Itinerary – Europe
- Roundtrip airfare
- Train tickets
- Tours & Activities – some have meals included
- Transfers to & from the airports & train station
- The length of the trip is 11 days, 10 nights
- Includes visits to 3 different countries – England, France, and Germany
- Includes tours & activities in each destination
Arrive in London, England in the evening. Settle into your hotel for the night.
Start your day with breakfast and then enjoy a guided tour that takes you through the most well-known sights of the city including Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, Big Ben, and the Tower of London. Enjoy a cruise on the River Thames, as your guide tells you about some of the city’s history. Explore the city on your own in the evening, stopping at a restaurant recommended by your tour guide for dinner.
It’s time to head off to the English countryside! Board a coach for your guided tour through the Cotswolds, with stops at 3 different, but equally enchanting villages. Lunch is included on this tour, as well as a chocolate and whiskey tasting. At each stop, listen as your guide fills you in about the history of the area and then you are free to explore the charm all around you!
Enjoy breakfast and wait for your private transfer to the train station. Take the Eurostar train from London to Paris, France. Enjoy a private transfer from the train station to your hotel and then explore the area nearby. Stop into a local café or browse through the shops. Finish your first day in Paris with a river cruise on the Seine, complete with a champagne toast!
Today, board a coach for a journey to the coast of Normandy as you visit the historic battle sites and Memorials. This tour includes a stop at Omaha Beach and the American cemetery. Then, head to a local farm to enjoy a tasting of Calvados and Pommeau, made with apples right from the property.
When you return to Paris, enjoy the evening at your leisure, stopping at a local café or food cart for a bite to eat.
The Magic is all around you as you take the train from your hotel to enjoy a day at Disneyland Paris. Explore both theme parks, including the Marvel Avengers Campus. Then, head to Disney Village to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping!
Today, head off on a full-day tour to Giverny and the Palace of Versailles. Up first, explore the birthplace of Claude Monet as you walk through the gardens that inspired his beautiful artwork and the house where he spent his days. After, head to a small French village for a delicious lunch and beautiful views of the countryside. Then, it’s time to learn about French royalty as you tour the Palace of Versailles. Enjoy a guided tour and then some free time to see the grounds. Then, board the coach to return to Paris and spend the rest of the evening strolling through the city.
It’s time to say goodbye to France as you enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then head to the airport in your private transportation. Board your flight to Munich, Germany, where your private transportation waits. Then, after settling in at your hotel, go out and explore the city for the evening, enjoying dinner at your leisure as well as one of the local pubs.
On your first day in Germany, board a coach to Schwangau where you will make the climb to see the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle. Head to the Marienbrücke for an incredibly breathtaking view, looking down at the castle. This is one of the most photographed spots in the world! Then, enjoy lunch and stroll through the village before returning to Munich.
The hills are alive, with the sound of music! Today, head on a guided tour to Salzburg to learn all about the historic area. It’s a short train ride with delightful views of the Austrian Alps. Then, your tour guide will take you to the top sights in the city including Mozart’s birthplace and Mirabel Gardens. As you stroll through the old town, your guide will show you the various filming locations of “The Sound of Music”. Then, enjoy lunch at the oldest restaurant in Europe and have some time to explore on your own or browse the various shops.
Enjoy breakfast and then wait for your private airport transfer from your hotel for your flight home from Munich, Germany.
In a guided tour, you often join other travelers for the length of your vacation. This type of travel has a preset itinerary with many inclusions and will often include seeing the highlights of a destination. While the inclusions will vary depending on the tour you choose, the following components are often included:
- Hotel or resort accommodations
- Transportation once you have arrived at the destination.
- Some meals
- Tours and activities are scheduled for the whole group.
- May Include some “on your own” time for exploration
The Pros and Cons of Guided Travel
If you want a vacation experience that is more structured and you know the full itinerary ahead of time, a guided tour would be a great option for you. In addition, if you know you want to visit the most popular sights at a given destination, a guided tour is a great fit. These tours often visit the most popular attractions, perhaps with special experiences built in. Plus, you will have a tour guide and fellow travelers to experience it with. Sometimes, you might have free time such as an afternoon at your leisure to explore.
In contrast, a guided tour does have everything planned and the itinerary is preset. Some people prefer to have the added flexibility of exploring things once they have arrived at their destination. For many guided tours, you are with other travelers so if you prefer a more intimate vacation experience, you may want to consider a different option. That being said, there are guided tours that are private, and this may be a perfect blend for those looking for structure with some customization.
Benefits of Working with a Travel Advisor for your Guided Tour
Why would you work with a travel advisor if you already know the itinerary for the tour? There are many reasons! To start, not all guided tours are created equally. A travel advisor will listen to your wish list while you are in the planning stages. Factors like the destination you want, must-do activities, budget, and the overall experience you want are all factors to consider when recommending a tour. For example, you may want to go to a bucket-list destination such as Antarctica and your travel advisor knows how to get you there!
If you are looking for a guided tour with added luxury, your travel advisor will be able to make some recommendations for you. However, if you are looking for something budget-friendly, it will be a different recommendation. The same is true for your travel party. If you are traveling with children, some tours are a better fit than others. Some will even have age requirements. Your travel advisor will be familiar with all of these factors to help you find the best fit!
Sample Itinerary – Alaska
Are you wondering about examples of guided tours? There are countless options, whether you want to take the whole family or are looking for somewhere to go with friends or your significant other. Check out this family-friendly trip to Alaska with Adventures by Disney!
- The services of 2 Adventure Guides
- Admission fees to attractions & performances
- VIP access and private events
- Cultural experiences with local experts
- The length of the tour is 8 days, 7 nights
- Visits to 4 different locations: Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Girdwood
- Includes 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, and 5 Dinners
- The minimum age for this tour is 5 years old
Your Daily Itinerary
Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska, and celebrate with a Welcome Reception and Dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then head to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Go for a bike ride and kayak at Eklutna Lake. Then, travel to Talkeetna. Adults will enjoy dinner while kids get a dinner and activity night.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then visit Talkeetna. Then enjoy lunch on a train ride to Denali National Park. Kids will love the Junior Ranger program and then visit Denali National Park. End the day with dinner at the Grande Denali Lodge.
Start the day with a delicious breakfast and head out to explore Denali National Park, riding by coach through the wilderness. The tour is led by a naturalist who will teach you about the natural and cultural history of the area. Then, enjoy an amazing meal right in the park. You have the afternoon on your own and then dinner at one of the park’s restaurants.
Have breakfast at the hotel before departing for Big Lake, the home of Happy Trails Kennels. The visit includes lunch, a sledding demonstration, and an up-close encounter with the sled dogs, including the season’s litter of puppies. Then, board the bus for your trip to Girdwood and enjoy dinner on your own.
Have a delicious breakfast to start your day of adventures. Then, explore the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center with a naturalist who will take you up close and personal to the wild animals including bears, moose, and bison. Enjoy a private wildlife presentation about the local wildlife too. Then, you have lunch and the afternoon on your own where you may opt to relax at the spa or head out for a hike in the nearby rainforest.
Come back and enjoy a farewell dinner with a performance pf traditional dancers and drummers.
Enjoy your last breakfast at the hotel and then get ready to head home and share stories of your Alaskan adventures!
Where Do You Want to Go?
Are you ready to find your perfect vacation option? It’s important to remember that FIT and Guided Tour options are available for travel all over the world! Whether you want to explore Alaska, Costa Rica, or a multi-country trip in Europe, the possibilities are truly endless!
Your Key to the World Travel Advisor is here to help you determine your travel style and make recommendations that will meet your needs and expectations. When you’re ready to go, we are here to help!
Are you considering a trip? Having a travel advisor means someone there to have your back in any occurrence. There is no additional cost to you and you have peace of mind knowing that your vacation is in good hands.