By Jade Johnston
What is indie travel anyways? You here people talking about it. The debate about tourists vs travllers is all over the place these days. But does it really matter? We all have our individual travel styles which are unique to who we are at that moment.
What is OurOyster’s travel style? For us indie travel means individual travel. But what does that mean anyway? For us it means planning things our own way, making our own bookings, and seeing what we want, when we want. This means that sometimes we may opt not to see some of the more obvious attractions in a region. It means we have the flexility to travel as slow, or quickly as we please.
But the most important aspect of indie travel for us is the connections we make with people. And not just other travellers either, we really value the connections we make with the local people. Instead of meeting other travellers over our hotel brunch, we can instead be found couchsurfing with locals and hanging out with them at their favourite haunts.
Indie travel to us is the freedom to see what we want, on our schedule, and to have the freedom to make connections with local people.
As I was thinking about the concept of Indie travel, and personal travel styles this morning, I realized that even our own personal travel style is changing al the time. There has been a lot of debate recently about which style of travel is superior – but to be honest – all travel is created equal. It doesn’t matter if you are on a packaged tour, or hitchhiking your way across the continent.
As long as you are living your dream, and staying true to your own goals and ethics while learning about and exploring a new place or culture – then that is all that matters!
But for the sake of fun, I put together this quick little quiz to help you determine just what your general travel style is. So here goes!
1) Planning. You are planning your next trip away (how exciting!), do you…
a) Drop in to your local travel agent to ask about information and collect brochures?
b) Pick up a copy of your favourite travel guide?
c) Start looking up online resources and travel blogs for information?
2) Transport. Now is the time to book your flight/ transport to your destination! Do you…
a) Go to your local travel agent to arrange a flight package?
b) Book as far in advance as possible to make sure you get a good deal?
c) Book at the last minute, just in case you change your mind?
3) Accomodation. But where will you stay during your trip? Do you…
a) Book yourself into a hotel or resort?
b) Book your hostel in advance, or start getting in touch with local friends or couchsurfers?
c) Just show up and look for a hostel once you have gotten a feel for the place?
4) While on your holiday, how far in advance do you plan?
a) I don’t do the planning, thats why I have a package tour/ travel agent!
b) I plan as far in advance as possible to make sure I don’t miss out on anything!
c) I don’t plan at all… you know…. go with the flow.
Mostly A’s - You are more likely to book packaged vacations through a travel agent, or you may spend a considerable amount of your trip on an organized tour. While this may have less flexibility, you will be assured that you don’t have to worry or stress over any of the little details. Also you have the comfort that if anything does go wrong, that you will have a team of peope working on it to help make it right again.
Mostly B’s - You the happy medium of indie traveller. You like to book what you can in advance to save money and to help you budget, but you also like to keep some flexibility in your plans. You are most likely to pre plan your trip in advance, so you can make sure you get to do all the things that are important to you while you are away.
Mostly C’s - You put the “independant” in indie travel. You like to go with the flow, and try to keep your plans as wide open as possible. This means that you have the ultimate freedom to stay as long as you like in places that strike your fancy, and that you can change your plans in a flash. However, you may end up paying more for things where you could have saved cash by booking in advance.
Well I, (Jade), would almost certainly have to be a B. I like to plan. I like to have guide books. (I like reading blogs as well, but I always also have a guide book with me). I also like to save as much money as possible by booking what I can in advance. I once found a hostel in Queenstown New Zealand where the room was $9 cheaper per night if booked online! Thats $18 a night for us as a couple!
James is definitely a C. He is still new to the whole “planning in advance” school of though, and he usually just “wings” it on the road. Although this can be great, and also be an integral part of the whole travelling experience, it also cause him to miss out on some things.
Sometimes we go between the different travel styles. The first time we backpacked around New Zealand we did it in style C – we hitchhiked everywhere, had no definite plan, and just went where the wind blew. This worked really well for us back then since we had lots of time to wander around.
On our second trip through New Zealand we used a mix of style A and B. Part of our trip was spent with Stray bus tours (you can see my review of them here), and the other half was done independtly, but was already well planned out. This suited us best for this trip because we had a shortage of time and were trying to do as much as possible in a short amount of time.