Independent travel has been becoming popular among free and independent tourists (FIT). Unlike guided tours, independent trips focus on personally remarkable experiences. Let’s look at the 8-step ultimate guide for a fulfilling trip.
1. Identify the purpose of the trip and find companions
Identifying the purpose of the trip is definitely the first step you should take. It may be exploring the culinary background through the act of tasting local dishes, discovering scenic beauties and historic sites, hiking, diving, or just a tour full of these activities.
Traveling alone is somehow intimidating. Yet traveling with companions can help you alleviate some travel expenses and grasp more memorable moments.
- If you are a travel lover, there must be someone in your friend list sharing this liking. Let’s ask them to join the team. Or, how about your family members? Touring around with beloved ones is a notable experience.
- Suited companions may be in your groups. You are a member of Stand-Up Paddle groups and find it boring to surf at the same places day by day. Why don’t you plan a tour to Phan Thiet for all members to have a fresh experience surfing at Mui Ne fishing village?
2. Pick the right time at the right place
Each natural site is outstanding for a specific period of time. You should pick the right time of your destination to have a fulfilling vacation.
- It is recommended to visit Phu Quoc island in summer when the sun softly kisses the bright yellow sand and the romantic sunset casts a rose hue on the western beach.
- Autumn is the time full-ripe rice paddies paint a magnificent picture on Ninh Binh. The serene atmosphere and idyllic scenes here are definitely unforgettable.
Other travel spots are famous for unique events and annual holidays.
- If you have a chance to stop by Hoi An during the Mid-Autumn Festival, you will be immersed in colorful lanterns illuminating the entire ancient town and partake in some fascinating folk games.
- Have you ever taken a glimpse of turtles’ reproduction? Let’s go to Con Dao in the second and third quarters to feast your eyes on this interesting natural process.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before the trip for sure that bad conditions will not impact your trip. Accuweather and Windy are useful apps recommended to update the weather for a more precise estimation of the time to go and how long to stay.
3. Create a flexible itinerary: things to do and places to eat
Firstly, you should make a list of all places to go and dishes to try. After that, you will enter into details of the specific time of each activity. Some useful information about travel is easily found in these sources:
- Tripadvisor: renowned places to eat and local cuisines are mostly available on this app. You can find many practical reviews from experienced people here.
- Independent travel groups on Facebook, Instagram, and writings from hashtags namely #ghiendalat and #dulichsapa contain a lot of helpful information.
- Blogs and Youtube videos of popular backpackers are certainly the most qualified sources of independent travel reviews. You can make arrangements for your journey based on their itineraries.
Jotting down a detailed itinerary to your mobile phone is the final step of creating a plan. You should print the itinerary as well so that you can check everything quickly and easily when needed.
4. Decide on accommodation
Preferred types of accommodation are just as varied as the travelers, yet basic requirements are safe and clean.
Several well-liked apps for searching and booking accommodation are Agoda, Booking, and Airbnb. There are various choices including homestay, resort, hostel, and hotel with convenient rooms there.
Tips for this: you should opt for places with 5-star ratings and positive comments. Reliable feedback is usually written detailedly with photographs attached. Once you’ve completed the booking, don’t forget to make a call to confirm it.
5. Book flights
Among many means of transportation, air travel is the most popular choice for its convenience and reasonable expense. Here are some pieces of advice for you to book flights.
- Booking via official websites (VietnamAirlines, PacificAirlines, VietjetAir, BambooAirways, VietravelAirlines): The airlines take responsibility for your bookings so any problems, hence, are swiftly addressed. However, there is no available comparison of other airlines’ routes and prices.
- Booking via apps (Traveloka, Vietnambooking, Agoda): Sufficient information about all airlines including flights and prices is the pros of this choice. Nevertheless, booking via apps can force you to face up risks. For instance, if you make a mistake in adding your First name and Last name during the booking process, it is highly probable that you have to book another ticket.
Last but not least, you should book a round trip ticket to make sure that everything is on schedule. In case your vacation is flexible, a one-way ticket is highly recommended.
6. Independent travel packing tips
You should only pack necessary stuff based on your purpose of travel. It is important to have a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything and exclude all items which you can purchase at the destination. Plus, online shopping for many friendly accessories as gadgets for travelers is a great idea to save your time.
Apart from essential things, cash is needed since credit cards and ATMs are not accessible in some tourist spots. Thus, you should carry some cash for handling things in these cases.
>>> See more: 11 travel packing tips in the post-COVID-19 era
7. Book the right local vehicle for your needs
Conventional vehicle bookings include catching a taxi in airports, renting vehicles at your accommodation, booking through recommendations. That still bears lots of problems and is time-consuming.
Another way is booking via apps like Grab, Be, and Gojek. It is safe and convenient but booking in advance is not allowed. Moreover, there is also no option for vans in these apps.
Lately, there has been a new way to book vehicles in Vietnam, which is via Gobooyaa. It is the ultimate choice for booking in advance, based on your flexible itinerary. You can opt for various means of transportation and totally manage your personalized tour.
8. Write a review
You should rate and leave factual feedback in detail after using any products and services during your independent trip. It might sound strange to you but this really makes sense. Here are some convincing reasons:
- Raising sense of public responsibility: Other backpackers might grasp some useful information from your personal reviews about destinations. That truly enhances experiences in their self-organized tour.
- Helping businesses to advance their service quality through your rating and remarks.
- Writing a review is not only the way you share your experiences but also the way you mark your dream journeys.
Making arrangements before the trip is a crucial part. The more detailed the plan is, the more enjoyable you can get. Booking in advance as many things as possible can help you totally control your itinerary and have the best independent travel experiences.