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Sample 10. IELTS Essay – Compare & Choose: Guided vs. Solo travel

IELTS Task 2 Essay – How to Plan

When it comes to foreign travel, some tourists prefer to let a guide point out the highlights and deal directly with the locals. Others would rather discover a place on their own and get to know its people.
Compare the two ways of traveling, and say which you prefer and why.
Provide detailed reasons and examples to support your answer.

Travelling can be a great adventure, providing one a chance to experience other cultures. This can be done in many ways, such as with a guide or on one’s own. Either way certainly has its own appeal, but I would rather have the possibilities that present themselves to the solo traveler.

The main difference between organized tours and journeying on one’s own is the freedom one has regarding the trip’s itinerary. Guided tours follow a strict schedule so as to include all the major points of interest. Thus, even though the guests visit beautiful sites, these encounters are limited in time and thereby minimize one’s ability to fully appreciate them. Traveling alone, in contrast, allows a person to adjust his schedule according to his own likes and dislikes. For instance, if a traveler had planned to go to Paris and London for two weeks but falls in love with Paris, he can choose to stay longer and leave London for a future trip.

Another important difference is that by traveling alone one can mingle with the local inhabitants. While a tour guide eliminates the problems of language barriers or being cheated, which is what many tourists’ want, an individual traveler has the opportunity to get off the beaten track and have a more authentic experience. For example, he can avoid the popular spots that are often swarmed with tourists, hop on a local bus and visit some remote village in the countryside. There he can meet the natives and gain a deeper insight into their lives. Moreover, his freedom allows him to shop and stay where he chooses without pressure, unlike the herded tourists whose guides take them to spots where they will be surrounded by vendors and other tourists.

In conclusion, traveling styles can suit different needs and purposes. While group and solo traveling each has its benefits, the latter seems better because of the freedom of choice it provides one.