When it comes to group tours, you’ll find conflicting opinions everywhere you look. From seasoned adventurers claiming that they’re the worst way of travelling to those who book a different trip every single year, people usually sit firmly in one of the two camps. And I’m firmly in the latter.
I can honestly say that the memories of my group tours, taken with a bunch of people who started out as total strangers, are the ones I look back on with a rosy glow of happiness. While there’s a ton of variables that come together to create a brilliant trip, in this article I’m going to cover just five of the reasons you should try a group tour at least once!
They’re perfect for first time travellers
For first time travellers who are a little nervous about stepping outside of their comfort zone, group tours are the perfect transition between an all-inclusive deal at the travel agents and a total DIY holiday. Rather than spending a week chilling at your hotel – no shade, sometimes we all just want a week of reading, eating and sunshine – you’ll get to explore tons of different places, all within the comfort of an organised group complete with an experienced guide and transport.
If you’re an anxious person much like myself, you’ll look at the choice of group tours out there and even that might feel overwhelming. But this means that regardless of your travel style, your perfect trip will be out there somewhere.
As well as choosing the destinations you want to go, take a look at the different companies around and pick an ethos that works with your travel style. Whether you’re into partying, fast-paced sightseeing or sustainable travel, there’ll be an option out there to ease you into this more adventurous style of travel.
They make solo travel less scary
On a few occasions, I’ve found myself in a situation where I could choose travel alone or stay at home – both of which were daunting prospects. If you’re super confident, maybe the idea of taking off alone doesn’t faze you but for me, I was worried about being too shy to make friends without the structured environment of a tour!
I genuinely believe that a group tour is the perfect compromise that allows you to travel, albeit with a bunch of like-minded people who are also keen to make friends. It’s still scary to sign up for spending weeks with people you don’t know but once you’ve been together for a few hours, you’ll feel at home in no time.
It’s also a great way to try travelling solo before you head off on a bigger trip. After I did two group tours, it gave me enough confidence to book a solo trip to Australia! To finish off though, let me just say this: don’t feel stupid because you’re scared about heading off alone. It’s completely normal and that’s why these tours exist!
They’re perfect for meeting people
You know how in Love Island, the contestants all claim to be the best of friends and everyone at home rolls their eyes thinking it’s impossible. Well I’m going to argue that a group tour is a similar environment. After spending a few weeks travelling with your group – waking up early, experiencing amazing bucket-list activities, partying and sleeping – you form a bond that’s hard to explain unless you’ve done it yourself.
Over the years, I’ve met some incredible people through travelling in group tours and even a travel industry fam trip through work! Years later, catching up with these people via Facebook, Instagram and the occasional meet up still warms my heart – those warm fuzzy feelings never die in my experience. Group travel is such a great way to make new friends from all walks of life, opening your mind to different cultures and mindsets along the way.
Hit any well-trodden tourist trail and you are guaranteed to meet people along the way. What’s great about a group tour is that your new friends won’t be heading off in a different direction two days later. You get to experience amazing places and beautiful sights together which creates a bond stronger than you would expect. Sure, you may not get along with everybody but with a bit of research into the type of tour that suits your travelling style, you could meet your next best friend during your trip!
You’ll see and do more
It’s true that a lot of fast-paced group tours really do cram in the sights and there’s good and points to this. Of course, you won’t necessarily have as much time to delve deep into your destination but on the other hand, it’s a great way to get the highlights of a few different places that would usually take you much longer alone.
My favourite tour for balancing relaxation with activities was definitely Sail Croatia. Due to the sailing set up of the tour, you could sunbathe and swim until mid-afternoon where you’d hop onto that day’s island and explore for as long as you wanted that day. Depending on where you’re travelling, you’ll also find plenty of tours that take things at a slower pace while still covering the essential sights.
Make sure you hit up your tour guide will have great recommendations of places to see, drink and eat! I ate some of the best pizza of my life sitting on a side street in Italy thanks to my Contiki tour leaders recommendation – Alice’s Pizza in Rome if you’re interested.
Organising your trip is a doddle
Not sure how to go about booking transport connections? Or perhaps you’re just really pushed for time? If you want to remove the stress of worrying about where you’ll be sleeping the next night or getting indescribably lost in the countryside, a group tour takes care of everything for you.
Most group tours include all transport and accommodation alongside some excursions and even meals. This is absolutely one of the greatest benefits of booking this kind of travel. You’ll also have some optional activities where you can choose to pay extra to join in, or do your own thing instead. This degree of flexibility is great for allowing you to meet your budget, as well as tailor your own free time. Even just writing about it makes me want to start searching for my next trip…
So go on, what are you waiting for?