Open trip Labuan Bajo is the best alternative for any backpackers who want to explore Flores and Komodo National Park. An open trip means you are going to join with a group of people to take the trip together. In an open trip, you will share the cost of the tour (ship included) with the rest of the group. You have two choices: join a group of random strangers, or create your own. Traveling with your own friends brings comfort while you are sailing in the middle of nowhere. Making new friends on board is not less exciting. You have a box of fun surprises and new stories to share, too.
Joining an open trip actually simplify lots of hustle and bustle of preparation. You only need to find an empty slot in the open trip, pay for your part, and done. The trip agency will take care of everything. With a lot of available open trip Labuan Bajo, however, you need to be selective. To make your trip lasting and enjoyable, asks this questions before booking any open trip.
1. Do They Have Reliable Website and Social Media?
Labuan Bajo is a new, growing destination. Most of the tour agencies are opening their service in brick and mortar office. It means traditional open trip Labuan Bajo are done by walking around harbour to visit each agencies. Finding a good tour agency that have reliable online presence gonna save a lot of your time. See if they have any real original pictures of their own, clear biography, itinerary, and boats.
Pay a lot of attention to the boats. Do they have a number of selection of the boat, or just one for all? Are there any detailed pictures of the boat on the website? Look if they have social media. You can see honest reviews and tags of previous trip from past travelers. You can also communicate better through their social media channels.
2. How Many People Are On Board?
They say the more, the merrier. Contrary to the common belief, your open trip will be more meaningful with less people on board. Unless you are travelling with the gangs, joining in an open trip Labuan Bajo will most likely set you up in the middle of strangers. Less stranger allow bigger chance to sparks intimacy. Without too much noise around, you can have better trip quality and absorb deeper to the surrounding nature. It also means that you’ll have better attention from the crew.
3. How’s the Liveaboard Look Like?
One of the most important thing in an open trip Labuan Bajo is the liveaboard a.k.a the ship itself. You will spend most of your time in the sea, hopping from one island to another. The ship will be the place you live in—your floating hotel in the sea. That’s why, the quality of the ship will hugely affect your whole experience!
Choose a tour agency with decent liveaboard. Don’t be lured to cheap price if you’ll only have crappy boat, cramped cabin, and dirty toilet. Some of the cheapest wooden boats out there often only have instant noodles for the guests! It’s better to pay a good price for a good service. Live is too short to choose something uncomfortable, anyway.
4. Do They Have Contact Information?
This is super important. Do they have contact number that you can call? Do they have email address for further detailed information? Never book an agency that’s difficult to reach. It should be your first sign of warning.
5. Is The Itinerary Too Ambitious? Can You Make Your Own?
Ah, the itinerary. Most tour agencies are too ambitious with their itinerary. The day are jam-packed with too many destinations and activities. While it mean you can visit many destination at once, it also mean less time to actually enjoy it. Imagine if you just reach the Padar hilltop after a long hike, adoring the otherworldly view, and the tour leader is telling you to go down in 15 minutes to go for a dive in Manta Point. Dude, you are barely catching your breath!
Better choose for a trip with flexible time and good arrangement in terms of locations. It’s even better if they allow you to tailor your own open trip to Labuan Bajo. You can pick just the most interesting destination and arrange how many destination to visit each day. If nobody in your group can dive, what’s the point of going to Batu Bolong dive site, anyway?
Do you have any experience with open trip? Share below!