All The Benefits Of Group Travel

What are the benefits of group travel? Read this post to find out!

Much has been said recently on the beauty and on the necessity of traveling alone to find yourself, to listen to the inner needs and to win your fears, to truly immerse yourself in the culture of the place visited, and to learn to appreciate others much more. I am a massive fan of solo travel. But I would definitely consider taking part in a guided tour – and in fact, I have done a few.

For as much as I love independent travel and I enjoy traveling alone (which is what I did on my last trip to South America), I think a guided tour is a great way to visit countries if you, for a variety of reasons, don’t have the time or patience to organize their trips.

I believe in the value of an organized tour to the point that I even took a course to become a certified travel designer, so that I can design vacation packages and tours (either bespoke or group ones) in a professional way, for those who don’t want to and can’t do it by themselves, and I worked as a tour leader for a tour operator, leading some of their tours across Central America, from Nicaragua to El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, and in Mexico.

So, I have experience both in solo travel and in group travel. And here are the main benefits of group travel.

Benefits of group travel
One of the benefits of group travel is the chance of meeting likeminded people

All The Benefits Of Group Travel

An organized tour is less time consuming

Taking part in small group travel, with a tour leader, is an easy way to explore a country if you don’t have a lot of time for your holidays and want to maximize the days available, and also if you don’t really have a lot of time to sit and plan their travels.

You don’t have to search for hotels, flights, buses and connections and to go through the sometimes boring process of comparing prices, reading reviews, and making reservations: someone else is doing that for you. Unless you are an avid and particularly curious reader with a passion for guide books, you don’t even have to buy one: it won’t really be needed.

Tour operators are knowledgeable and professional

Good tour companies have great in depth knowledge of specific regions; they have a team of consultants who study the best itineraries (which they have tested out themselves for best results); personnel that books the best connecting flights; staff that searches for the best accommodation; they will organize the trip in a way that optimizes the available time for the tour.

Click here to discover the best tour operator.

Satisfaction is (almost) always guaranteed

Tour operators want their customers to come back and buy more tours. Good ones will do their best to make sure the customers who bought a guided tour have an amazing experience and go back home with an overall good understanding of the country they have just visited and its culture; they will make sure that you will be so happy that you will consider traveling with them again.

A tour leader will pose with you
A tour leader will pose with me

It may be cheaper than you think

One of the biggest benefits of group travel is that it may be cheaper than traveling independently. Relying on a tour operator may thus be the best option to save on time and even money – yes, an organized tour may at times be considerably cheaper, as tour operators can get great bargains for booking large numbers of people in a hotel, for example.

It is easier to visit certain places 

Some places simply can’t be visited independently, because it is just too difficult. You can’t do a night safari tour, visit Antartica, explore the Salar de Uyuni or walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu alone. One of the best benefits of group travel is that those places will be more easily accessible. 

It’s safer

I am a massive fan of traveling alone. Yet I know that traveling in a group is generally safer, and you will always have someone watching over your back. This is particularly important if you are not confident at speaking a foreign language, for elderlies or for families with children.

responsible tourist

It may be better for the local economy

The best tour operators employ local companies and businesses that hire local people in the country you are visiting. This way you will know that the money you are spending is staying in the country and that you are helping the local economy.

Check out my post The Complete Guide To Becoming A More Responsible Traveler.

You will have a tour leader who will make sure everything runs smoothly

A good tour operator will choose an outstanding tour leader who will work hard to make sure the trip runs smoothly, that problems occurring on the way are solved in the most satisfying manner, and that the various members of the group are 100% happy and safe.

Tour operators rely a lot on their leaders, who act as their ears and eyes during tours, who are trained to solve problems and face the most difficult situation (including dangerous or unsafe ones, as well as medical emergencies), and who will turn a good organized tour into a memorable one for the members of the group.

A tour leader will warn you against scams; will take you safely across borders; will take you to the best restaurants and advise on the best local dishes; will pick the best local guides; will share some good information about the country you are visiting; and will have lots of funny anecdotes to share.

responsible traveler

You can really relax and enjoy without having to worry about anything

When on a guided tour, you really don’t have to think about anything other than what cocktail you wish to have at sunset. Someone else has done all the previous thinking for you, and will do all the thinking for you while on tour too – without you even noticing it. You will not even need to remember things such as taking your camera, or consider what to wear on a specific day, as your tour leader will most likely remind you politely.

You can go by yourself without being alone

Not everybody is up for the challenge of traveling alone, but it may be hard to put together a group of friends for our adventures. One of the benefits of group travel is that it will take the edge off. Tour operators that sell guided tour usually have a specific target audience, and chances are that those participating in one of their trips are similar in terms of age, social background, education, interests and passions. Tours are designed with a clear idea of who should buy them.

So, one tour operator may be targeting a young adventurous audience who wants to travel on little more than a shoestring; another may be better for an older crowd of people who have more economic means and look for more comfort. Some tour operators prefer having small guided tours of no more than 10 participants, others will take on board even larger numbers.

You won’t have to worry about taking pictures with a selfie stick as you will be able to ask others; you won’t have to sit through endless lonely meals; you will be able to share your “wows” with others and are likely to come back with a good bunch of new friends.

Make sure to check out my post The Funniest People Met When Traveling.

You may also want to read my post The 30 Best Places To Travel Alone.

All you have to do is some research on the best and most reliable tour operators -but that you can surely do, right?

Can you find other benefits of group travel?

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Read about the benefits of group travel - via @clautavani

30 thoughts on “All The Benefits Of Group Travel”

  1. I’m not keen on organised tours other than press trips. I guess I am antisocial at heart. Good tips though for those who are planning on going

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    • Sometimes going on an guided tour is the simpler thing to do. I don’t think I would have been able to visit the Amazon in Bolivia by myself. I would have gotten lost in those creeks!

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  2. I spend so much time thinking about where I want to go next and I love planning my trips so much I can’t see myself booking an organised tour but I do see the benefit, particularly if you’re travelling alone.

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    • I am an independent traveller myself, but I took a guided tour of the Amazon and one of Uyuni, and it was for the best. There are some places that are just too hard to visit alone!

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  3. I think in certain destinations a guided tour is actually best. Choose carefully and you can eliminate all the stress-producing issues that can derail an experience. A knowledgeable guide makes a world of difference by giving you context and access to things you may not get otherwise. I hope your article encourages readers to be more open-minded instead of automatically dismissing the option. 🙂

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    • Betsy, you got my point exactly! I am all for independent travel but certain places are better experienced on a guided tour, and even with a tour guide or tour leader that points you in the right direction!

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  4. Well justified and spoken from someone in the know! I did a group tour across America from San Fran to NYC and it would have cost me a fortune to do that distance myself. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken and I’m still firm friends with the girl, Kaci, I shared a tent with!

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    • I met some fantastic people on the guided tour of Uyuni I did recently. I ended up spending more time with them in Chile too. So yes, I get it!

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  5. I have been on one organised tour, years ago, to China. It was the late 90s, so it was an immense help to have a guide speak our language and tell us about the local culture. We would have missed out on a lot otherwise.

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    • And that goes for a whole bunch of people who, say, travel to Latin America and don’t speak Spanish! Better opt for a guided tour then 🙂

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  6. We enjoy guided tours. Although we design all our own travel, there are times when we enjoy just letting an expert take over so we can enjoy. We had a particularly good city walking tour in Madrid because it was small. I wouldn’t like a tour with more than 12 in a group.

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    • Most people wouldn’t! As a tour leader I had to take a guided tour of 20 passengers and it was a challenge for them, and sure enough for me!

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  7. We have been on many guided tours. I think it is ideal, especially if you have a short time in the country you are visiting.

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    • Sometimes experienced travellers like we all are do not accept the help of professionals. I think at times it is better… they have worked hard to shape their guided tour, and can definitely give us a hand 🙂

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  8. I think there’s a lot to be said for tour groups. I’ve had quite a few positive experiences and it can be much easier to travel in certain places in a group. When I travelled in Tibet, a tour group was one of the only ways to get in easily. I like the knowledge and local expertise you get in a tour. I love going off and doing my own thing a lot but I can recommend adding a tour group into your trip. Great post and photos

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    • I am the same. I like doing my own thing but sometimes a guided tour is just the easiest (and cheapest!) option!

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  9. I’m more of a solo independent traveller and have no problem travelling alone for weeks. However I have no problem with organised tours either especially if they make it easier/cheaper for us to travel or give access to some places which we would otherwise not get. So yes, I have been on organised tours too but I’m not sure if I could do it on tours that last a week or more. 🙂

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  10. Guided tours can be great! I have sometimes left a city, place or a town thinking that it would have been nice to learn more about the place, and in the worst case, you realise to have left before seeing the most interesting thing around. This has happened so many times to me in Italy, which is full of hidden gems!

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    • I am from Italy – Sardinia to be precise. There are many places to visit in Sardinia, and taking a guided tour sometimes is really the best option to see them and UNDERSTAND them! I think it is time you visit Italy again 🙂

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  11. I’m not much for the guided tour. I dislike how slow groups move, or how they are blind to the fact they are blocking the path for everyone else. But a tour can be convenient, sometimes it’s worth it just to have someone else take care of the transportation logistics.

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  12. I am not into group tours, but bespoke ones are great specially if one can arrange his tour through a well reputed company that put value and quality on top of any other things. However, your post is precious, keep it up

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    • Thanks Hamid. Bespoke tours are actually the best – you get to do what you want, when you want. And you decide about that. I actually like designing tours for others 🙂

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  13. I have taken several group tours, and none of them were the typical “bus full of old people” that I feel a lot of comments are referring to. Although, I won’t be opposed to those when I’m much older, either. Even if I’m planning my own trip, I may partake in a day tour with a group, just to get the lay of the land before striking out on my own!

    As you mentioned, some places just aren’t possible without a group tour. I’ve done several multi-day whitewater rafting trips with OARS, including 11 days in the Grand Canyon. I was alone, but in a group of 16 other rafters and always had the option to hang out in my tent for some quiet time. Also, last year I did an 8 day cruise of the Galapagos, which I felt was the best way to see everything.

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    • Way to go! I completely agree with you. I travel solo, but then occasionally join a guided tour because it easier. It has worked fine with me so far.

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  14. I think it really does depend on where you’re going with a guided tour and just what you want out of it. We opted to go with Tonkin Voyage Travel on our past trip to Vietnam and it did not disappoint. Initially, we were worried about prices and the fact that we can save money if we booked it all ourselves but to be honest we just didn’t have the time or the inclination. We also realised that we were coming for a holiday and that the added luxury of someone doing all the annoying stuff e.g. how you’re going to make it from A to B today wasn’t what we wanted to spend our time doing. We were also pleasantly surprised with how much more affordable it is if you go through a local agency. We were receiving quotes from Australian agencies for at least $2000 more than what Tonkin Voyage Travel was (not including flights). Perhaps that’s the time to try an agency too, when you can most likely afford it!

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    • Hi Max, thank you for your comment. I agree with 100% of what you say. Guided tours are perfect if you have limited time!!

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  15. Thanks for mentioning that good tour companies have a lot of knowledge about specific regions. My wife and I are thinking of taking a swamp buggy tour next year because we enjoy the swamp habitat and want to know what it’s like first hand. I think it’s a good investment to hire a reputable professional that has a lot of knowledge and can guide us to different parts of the swamp where unique animals live.

    Reply

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