What Is FIT Travel and Tourism?

Fully independent travelers (FITs) are on the rise

Solo Travel
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The original definition of the acronym FIT is Foreign Independent Tour, but now it is most commonly used to describe a fully independent traveler or tourist. You may also see the term FIT to mean free independent traveler, frequent independent traveler, and foreign independent traveler. All of these definitions of the acronym refer to tourists who travel independently. They almost always design their own itineraries and arrange their own ​travel plans—FITs do not travel with group tours or according to any imposed schedule.

FITs Shun Group Travel

Tourists who fit the definition of FITs usually travel solo, in couples, or in small intimate groups of friends or family. They range anywhere in age from millennials to retirees, but generally have above-average incomes to allow for independent travel, which often is more expensive than traveling with an organized group. But what all FITs share, by definition, is a desire to avoid mass tourism in favor of an individualized, independent approach. They tend to want to explore their chosen destinations on their own and at their own pace with an emphasis on enjoying the local food, architecture, history, and culture.

FITs Plan Their Own Trips

The huge rise in popularity of the Internet for all aspects of travel planning has made it easy for independent travelers to avoid packaged trips and traditional travel agents. As a result, FITs are a quickly growing segment of the tourist market.

First-hand travel information about destinations, transportation arrangements such as train and plane tickets, and hotel reservations worldwide are available at the click of a mouse for independent travelers.

FITs Sometimes Use Travel Agents

Although the "I" in FITs means independent, it may sometimes be advantageous to consult with travel professionals who are experienced in providing services to those who want to plan their own trips, especially for more exotic destinations.

Doing so does not necessarily mean that independent tourists have to relinquish their, well, independence. Due to the rise in popularity of independent and solo travel, travel professionals are adjusting their services accordingly. There are now agencies that specialize in customized trips for individuals and small groups who want to choose their destinations and plan their own itineraries. 

An agent who specializes in FIT travel can help you plan custom sightseeing with a private tour guide, arrange a private cooking class or a wine-tasting tour, and even hook you up with knowledgeable local representatives. The agent will help you plan a personalized travel experience based on input you provide. If you wish, an agent can often arrange to have someone meet you at your destination and take you to your hotel. Travel professionals are especially helpful in finding non-traditional or out-of-the-way accommodations that do not advertise on the Internet, such as villas, farmhouses, inns, and family-run bed and breakfasts.