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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?