Which type of travel do you prefer between package tours and free travel? In fact, Indian travelers is moving from a package tourist to a ‘FIT’, aka ‘Free Individual Traveler’ or ‘Free Independent Tourist’. FIT refers to those who prefer planning their own travel to joining a coach tour all planned by agencies, or free individual travels. FITs do not like conventional and boring travel itineraries and are fond of unscheduled days sometimes and exploring a destination at their own tempo. All types of travelers from solo travelers, backpackers, to families can be a FIT. Now, let us talk about why Indians prefer FIT.
What has prompted Indian people to become a FIT?
1. Increase in Demand for Experiential Travel
Experiential travel where travelers seek to experience local-specific activities has become a new trend among Indian people. They try to engage in activities in which they can learn culture, history, food, and environment of the visited region. Some Generation X or Millennials desire to travel like a local rather than a package tourist. As a result, they book tickets for destinations that they consider true local places.
2. Specific and Varied Interests
Compared to past, travelers have a variety of interests and demands for holidays. They search for personalized and differentiated experiences that have few precedents. Since package tours have fixed schedule and typical itinerary to satisfy general customers, they may not be able to cater to every traveler’s taste and expectation.
3. Internet Penetration
The emergence of smartphones has helped not only individual travelers to book online easily and promptly, but also online travel companies to cover a wide range of travel choices from just attraction or show tickets to combination of some options. Growth in new IT services from numerous travel agencies surely facilitated the growth of FITs!
4. Tendency to Pioneer
Visiting new places, trying new cuisines and interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds would come easily to many young travelers. According to the survey throughout pan India by Yatra.com, as the younger generation becomes more independent, travelers are eager to organize their trips to unexplored destinations for exciting experiences. Along with a propensity to consume, millennial Indian travelers spend their money on unique experiences over just a sightseeing. For these purposes, FIT would be more proper than package tours.
5. Discounted Airfares and More Options for Accommodation
The boost of low-cost airlines and direct international flights led to the phenomenon that 2nd and 3rd tier cities attract more travelers than before. Also, travelers nowadays have more options for accommodation other than a hotel, such as guesthouses, Airbnb, flat, and hostel. Thereby, the price of overall accommodation has declined. As a result, travelers do not always need to join a package tour. Instead, they find out how to get discounts by themselves and have a budget trip.
6. Dissatisfaction with Package Tour
People who traveled through a package tour have the following dissatisfaction — they went shopping involuntarily by the itinerary, and experienced low quality or unwanted activities. Further, they should stay over at hotels which are located far from the downtown because travel agencies try to reduce the unit price of package tours. On the other hand, there are many advantages of FITs. First, you can decide destinations and take a rest whenever you want. Second, you don’t need to care about other attendees. Lastly, memories remain longer than those of a package tour.
7. Seeking for Meaningful Experience
Besides the dissatisfaction, criticisms on massive package tours — the exploitation of local labors, cruelty to animals, destruction of the environment, and compulsion to shopping — are on the rise. Correspondingly, people are more aware of the consequences of their travels, and started to actively involved in meaningful and eco-friendly experiences. This is why Indians prefer FIT.
8. Increase in Destinations with Visa On Arrival
As of 1 October 2019, Indian citizens gained visa-free or visa on arrival access to 59 countries according to Henley Passport Index. Freedom of visa reduced onerousness to apply for a travel visa and wait before they leave the country. So, there is less need to borrow hands from travel agencies.
What type of experience are you looking for?
Why don’t you take part in free individual travel that has so many merits to package tours? Below are some examples that will make your travel special and worthwhile. Finding things to do that meets your wants is also a part of exciting and fun travel preparation!
Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is. Also, discovering local food and how to cook local dishes is one way to meet new culture. Besides getting to know the local spirits and wisdom contained in the food, you will get along with people who make dishes together by joining a local cooking class.
- Traditional Thai Cooking Class & Market Tour in Bangkok
- Authentic Thai Cooking Class in Mueang Chiang Mai
- Thai Vegetarian & Vegan Cooking Class in Bangkok
2. Elephant Sactuary
Visiting elephant jungle sanctuary is a link in a chain of eco-friendly activities. Be a member of eco-tourism by cherishing our precious creature on Earth and tightening the bond between you and them. You will contribute to maintaining this sustainable and safe environment.
- Phuket Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Visit
- Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Visit
- Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Visit
3. Local Experience
Damnoen Saduak floating market can be a unique travel ground where the routines of numerous locals in Bangkok are unfolded. Witness how people live on and make a living on the water.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour (+ Maeklong Railway Market option)
- Colors of Bangkok: Bangkok Bike Join-in Tour
- Chiang Mai by Bike: Small Group Bike Tour of Chiang Mai Central Area
- Authentic Farming Experience in Chiang Mai
4. Trazy Exclusive
During your travel, why not have an exclusive experience nowhere to be found among package tours? Exploring a foreign enclave such as chinatown in Bangkok could be an example. Cast a new moment to your life!
This topic is not limited to why Indians prefer FIT, but why many travelers around the world also prefer FIT. How about getting out of mundane travel itineraries, and experience the true local life? Visit Trazy.com, Asia’s #1 Travel Shop for FITs, and find the trendiest things to do!
*Reference: Murari Mohan Jha. June 10 2019. Indians Prefer Experiential And Exploratory Travel. Travelbulz. Retrieved from https://www.traveltrendstoday.in/news/tato/item/7197-indians-prefer-experiential-and-exploratory-travel.