add days to the end of your tour

5 Reasons to Add Days to the End of Your Tour

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Maybe you’re not ready to plan your own tour. If you haven’t traveled much, or at all, signing up for a tour might be a good way to get started. That way someone else can handle the details of organizing hotels, activities and transportation, and all you have to worry about is showing up and enjoying yourself. But instead of going straight home after the tour is over, why not consider adding a few days at the end of the tour to test out traveling on your own?

1. You can slow down

Tours can be fast paced. Often you don’t get to see as much as you’d like in each place. Adding a few days onto the end of a tour to explore on your own gives you a little extra time in the last city of the tour. Or you could use those extra days to revisit one of the earlier stops on your tour. It’ll be easier for you to relax and see things at your own speed.

2. You will gain confidence

Travel is a great way to gain confidence. You probably signed up for a tour because you were nervous about traveling independently. But once you’ve done the tour, you’ll feel more comfortable being in a foreign country. You’ll be ready to take on foreign menus and public transportation on your own after having someone to help you for a week or two. Add a few days to the end of your tour to show yourself you can travel independently.

3. You can do your own thing

After a week or two following someone else’s schedule, you’ll enjoy having your own freedom to make decisions about what to do and see. You can be more flexible about your sightseeing, or you can lounge at an outdoor cafe and watch the world go by. You can sign up for a cooking class or a food tour or a see a show that just wasn’t possible while on the tour.

add days to the end of your tour

4. You can be spontaneous

Most tours are very structured and everything is planned out for you. If you add a few days to the end of the tour, you can be more spontaneous about your time. You can decide at the last minute if you want to see a particular sight, wander the streets for hours, sleep in, stay out late, anything you want. Sometimes it’s nice to not have a plan and just figure things out as you go.

5. You will get a different perspective

Traveling independently gives you a completely different perspective than traveling on a tour does. You can interact more with the locals when you’re on your own, you can seek out cafes that are away from the tourist track, and you can explore different neighborhoods. There are some places you just can’t get to on a tour, so adding a few days to the end of your tour and spending time on your own will show you a different side of the city.

add days to the end of your tour

Logistics of adding days to your tour

It’s totally up to you to decide how many days you want to add to the end of your tour, but I’d recommend at least three days. This will give you time to wind down from the tour, and you’ll have a little extra time in the last city.

If your tour includes flights, talk to them before booking about leaving a few days after the tour is over. Even if you have to pay a little extra to fly home on a different day, it will be well worth the money. If your tour doesn’t include flights, this will be even easier to arrange.

You’ll have to arrange your own hotels for a few nights, but this means you get to pick someplace that has what you’re looking for. Be sure to read my posts on reading hotel reviews, choosing the right hotel for you, and hotel alternatives.

Decided you want to spend your extra days somewhere other than the last stop of the tour? No problem! The tour company probably gave you an end time anyway, so instead of using that to plan your flight home, book a bus or train to the city you want to visit. If this process overwhelms you, feel free to email me for some help.

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  1. Jennifer

    We normally travel independently, but for the first time ever we’re going on a multi-day group tour to Russia with G Adventures. And we are including a few extra days, though they are before our group tour starts. Should all be interesting!

  2. Matthew Cheyne

    This is really good advice and something that my mother and her husband recently did in their trip to Europe back in June. They had a tour in and around Istanbul, thankfully nowhere near Taksim Square where the protests were on at the time. They included a cruise to the Greek Islands, some time in Athens and extra time in Istanbul to their itinerary.

    Having both Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis basically means that tours are out for me however I find that liberating as it means I can go at a pace that suits me and take things on a hour by hour, day by day basis as I see fit.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Matthew! Such a shame about Taksim Square, Andy and I were actually staying near there when we were in Istanbul last April and we loved that area. I’m glad your mother and her husband decided to see more than just their tour. How can you resist Greece when you’re so close?

      I think you would like traveling independently considering how much freedom it would give you to decide what you want to do each day, what you can handle, and if you feel like reading a book at a cafe and watching the world go by (as Andy and I often do) then you don’t have to worry about being on a tour telling you you can’t.

  3. Laurel

    Great advice and advice that I follow. We’ve done several liveaboards for diving and I’m amazed that most people just show up for the diving and are on a flight as soon as the tour is over. It’s too bad, as we almost always stay on on our own and really enjoy it. As you’ve said, you see things much differently when you’re on your own and it’s nice after you’ve been with a group for a while.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Laurel! I totally agree, you see things differently when you’re traveling on your own apart from the group, and there’s so much to see, why not stay for a few more days?

  4. David Moran

    Good advice. Some of our clients ask us for advice on spending extra days before or after the tour. After the tour is a better idea.

  5. Viktoria Urbanek

    I always add at least a day to my trips to meet some people from couchsurfing! I met so many nice people in Scotland last time! It was a blast and simply great!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Always a great reason to add a few days to a trip, and people are often the best part of any trip. Thanks Viktoria!

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