Self-Guided Tours: A Cross between Independent & Group Travel
There is an alternative to either the full-fledged guided tour and doing everything on your own: usually called a “self-guided tour” or “independent tour” or some similar name.
This type of tour appeals to those who do not want to deal with airline and hotel reservations or travel arrangements, but once they get there they want more flexibility than a standard group tour offers.
You will need to adhere to the group schedule when traveling between cities, and although the groups are not Catholic you will be able to visit Catholic sites of interest, so long as you do your research in advance.
Be aware that cost will probably be more than a fully-escorted tour, since you won’t have the savings of group discounts for meals and attractions, but will be less than if you did everything on your own, since the group rates will apply on hotels and transport.
Plus you get to do things on your own without the constraints of the group. So you can eat in local restaurants (many of which cater to locals rather than tourists), spend extra time at sites that are important to you, and move at your own pace each day (except when traveling from place to place).
Each company varies in its offers but basically you join a group with a specified itinerary. Normally you get air and hotels selected in advance, and transportation between cities as well.
There is usually a local escort to accompany the group on the bus and give suggestions, but not necessarily a local guide in various cities. Breakfasts are included but lunch and dinner are usually on your own.
Again, these are not Catholic tour groups, so there won’t be an emphasis on Catholic sites, although you are certainly free to visit any on the stops that the group makes. Also, you need to consider that although there may be other Catholics with you, there also may be those on the bus who are not Catholic and some may even be hostile to the Catholic faith.