6 Reasons to Take a Group Tour
Group travel is a wonderful experience that will teach you about different cultures and enable you to have unforgettable experiences. Although some people hear “group travel” and lift their noses with disgust, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be so quick to rule out group travel.
1. You can meet people from around the world.
Going on a group tour means spending lots of time with new people. This may not appeal to everyone, but it can provide for lots of entertainment and new experiences. You never know who will be in your group. However, there are many times to be just by yourself, or with your family. Even though you are on a group tour, it is by no means a binding to spend every waking moment with your group.
I love learning about the other countries that my group members are from. When I visited Turkey, my family and I were the only Americans, so we heard many stories about living in other countries from our group members. Group members are fellow travel-lovers, so everyone already has something in common, and most groups connect and bond together.
2. You don’t need to worry about transportation.
Being on a group tour means that the group leader deals with nearly all the logistics. Complications such as transportation and sleeping arrangements are already decided for you. It is easier to move around a big country with a group. Many individual travellers rely on public transportation to get from city to city, but if the country is enormous, with no direct public transportation route to each highlight, it is much easier to travel with a tour guide who knows the best route.
3. You get to meet local people.
Many tour companies use local guides from the country you visit. These guides know firsthand what living in that country entails (they grew up there.) They share information about places that other tourists simply pass by without the knowledge that a great moment in history happened there.
4. You get the best eating recommendations.
Your tour guide has been to each destination on your trip many times. He/she knows the best restaurants in town, the ones off the main touristy section of town. These small joints owned by the locals are usually the best food, closest to a home cooked meal.
When I was in Istanbul, our tour guide recommended a strip of restaurants called “lokunta”. These restaurants were where the locals eat. But this one street was in a small alleyway, and I know for sure that my family would have never been able to find it. This petite restaurant was one of the best meals we ate during the entire trip. If you value a memorable meal, you’ll definitely want the eating recommendations from your tour guide.
"Lokunta" food in Instanbul, Turkey.
5. There are discounts for the tour company.
Many restaurants and optional activities give discounts to tour companies. Especially if you go out to a group meal, restaurants give a group discount because they know the tour guide, and want the group leader to continue to bring more groups in the future. But whatever the reason, discounts are always welcome, right?
6. You get experiences that other tourists do not.
This is probably the biggest reason to go on a group tour. Many activities an individual tourist could find, but nearly all group tours include a few activities that are not open to individuals.
I have had a few unforgettable experiences with my group that I know could not be found elsewhere. When I was in Thailand, our group did a 3-day hike in the northern jungle. For me the best part was at night, when we stayed in Hill-tribe villages for two nights. The houses that somewhat resembled tree houses were surprisingly clean and comforting after an enormous hike all day. As the group relaxed, the village people cooked us an exceptional meal, full of spices and flavor.
These miraculous experiences are truly memorable, and worth every moment of being on a group trip.
My tour group in Thailand.
Sarah Nelson is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
Photos courtesy and copyright Sarah Nelson