DIY or a professional?
Of course it’s great to browse the web, check out the different websites, goggle over gorgeous pics of fancy hotels, out-of-africa safari tents, faraway seas and distant lands, but sometimes a specialised tour operator can make your dream trip easier, more affordable and certainly more reliable.
I’ve gone it alone dozens of times, but for that once-in-a-lifetime trip or honeymoon, especially if your destination is South Africa, it’s well worth consulting an expert tour operator, one who has been there, done that, and got hundreds of T-shirts. If something was to go wrong such as a transport hiccup, an ash cloud or a strike, then you’ll have expert back-up.
Example: I’ve recently come back from Guatemala where my travel companion fell and hit her head in a small town off the usual travel route. Her insurance covered all medical expenses, but friendly, considerate and knowledgeable personnel from our tour company visited her in the little local clinic, paved all ways, held her hand when she needed it, and got her safely home.
If you do decide against DIY travel then these are some of the questions to ask your potential tour operator:
- Do you belong to professional organisations?
- Has your company won any relevant awards?
- Have you or any of your staff been to South Africa?
- When was the last time?
- Have you or any of your staff visited the accommodations, game reserves, destinations, etc., that you are recommending?
- References from previous clients to South Africa?
- Can you provide the complete package?
- Cancellation policy?
Let me know your experiences of DIY travel and/or using a tour operator…