Are tour groups for you? You’re moving ahead with your trip planning. You’ve decided where you want to go. Now you need to come to grips with how you are going to get your hotels, get around, see the sights. So I guess the next decision in your trip planning is… do you want to join a tour group or be an independent traveler.
Both options have pros and cons. If you choose to take a group tour, your hotels will be taken care of, as will your transportation during the tour. Depending on the package, most meals will probably be taken care of too, so you won’t be looking for a restaurant. Air fare to and from your destination may or may not be included.
All of this can make it easy on you for trip planning; you don’t need to worry about making reservations or finding hotels and restaurants on the road. You don’t need to worry about that foreign language, though that is truthfully not usually a problem.
You will be traveling with a group of people. If group size is important to you, be sure to check on that. Again depending on the operator and package it can range from 10 or 12 people all the way up to a bus full of about 45 to 50 people. That can make it fun, or it can slow things down as you’re waiting for everyone to get up in the morning and get on the bus. You’ll probably see all the highlights, but you won’t be able to get into small venues that can’t accommodate big groups.
You won’t be lonely… you’ll have your group to interact with. That can insulate you some from interacting with locals, but some group tours introduce you to locals or even get you into ceremonies or places that independent travelers don’t have access to. And hopefully you’ll have knowledgeable tour guides who can teach you about the area… something that independent travelers might miss.
Tours can be an economical way to travel. Tour operators get good prices on hotels and transportation. But if you want to sleep in and the tour is moving on… you’ll just have to get up and get going. You might learn things you wouldn’t have learned otherwise…. and if you’re a first time traveler, one of the things you might learn is that you don’t need a group tour.
Sometimes that first tour group experience is more than worth it… it can give you the confidence to travel independently. And if you learn that you like the company you’re traveling with, and you like group travel… you’ve come up with a great shortcut for your trip planning in the future…. just find more of their tours that you like and you’ll soon be traveling the world.