Foreign Independent Traveler (FIT) – An increasing trend in India
FIT, although a common term in the travel industry, is not popular among people, including those for whom it has been coined. FIT is acronym for ‘Foreign Independent Traveler’, which means lone travellers as opposed to groups, whose origin is other than India. Increasingly, there has been an increase in the inflow of FIT in India as more people realized its benefits over group travel:
In the internet age, one does not need the help of others to plan out things. Sitting in the comfort of a hotel room, he can plan a city tour, book tickets online, call a cab or whatever he wants.
Travelling in a group of strangers isn’t always an appealing idea. Personality traits, preferences, etc vary from individual to individual. For example, if one wishes to spend some extra time at a particular location, and his tour party wants him back after a stipulated time, it becomes very disturbing. Being alone also offers a lot of privacy.
Nowadays, travel has come to mean a lot beyond being away from the work. People want to spend quality time on their own or with their close friends or pets. Like Ms. Emilie Chatel (French national) was in India with her dog (Lola) for a vacation in Mumbai and Goa.
There is hardly much difference in the charges of tour operators between self-guided and guided tours.
Preference for accommodation has also shifted to homestays and vacation homes, instead of conventional hotels. At these locations, the host can be the guide, companion or facilitator.
Above all, being independent is always economical compared to travelling in groups. A solitary traveler needs to pay according to his consumption, unlike group travel where everyone needs to bear the equal cost.
Most people think that FIT and self guided travel is synonymous. However, these terms can be used interchangeably but not everywhere. Self guided travel means that traveler designs his own itinerary and plans his trip instead of having an escort for the trip. The traveler would hire local guides at specific locations only, being on his own for most of his trip. This would reduce the travel expenses, provided the proper homework is done before embarking on the journey.