Group travel has undergone a huge metamorphosis in the last 10 years. Gone are the days of just “seeing the sights”, eating in herds and visiting all the main tourist attractions in an area. Group travel experts now design adventures around your special interests in a way that is authentic to your destination of choice. How about tasting wine across Provence while learning French cooking from an Avignon local? Want to cycle through the Basque region of Spain interspersed with sea kayaking along the northern Spanish coast? Or maybe a glamping adventure including photography lessons from an Ansel Adams acolyte in Yosemite National Park is more your style. Does a spa vacation with essential oil classes and gentle horseback riding through virgin forest sound like more your speed? Suffice to say, if you can dream it up, there’s a group trip for that.
And that’s not all. Traveling in a group to a bucket list destination focused on your special interest also comes with some great benefits not found in individual travel. I know you’re thinking, “What, there’s more?” Yes, indeed there is. Traveling with a group has some definite advantages over traveling solo. Here are just a few.
- More socializing. If you are traveling with a group of people you already know, your journey will give you invaluable time to strengthen your relationships and build fabulous new memories with those people. If you’re traveling with a group of people you didn’t know before departure, you’ll get the chance to build new friendships and experiences with people that have similar interests. I find I enjoy a hybrid of these two opportunities. I like going on a group trip with a few people I know and several people I’ve never met before. It truly broadens the experience so much to learn about people from different cultures and areas of the world all while sharing the excitement of travel with people you’ve known for years.
- More cost effective. A travel group is usually defined as 8 or more people. This is because airlines, hotels and attractions typically begin discounting costs for airfare, rooms and tickets if you have a group of 8 or more traveling to the same destination at the same time. The more people in your group, the more discount you can expect. It’s just simple economics driving this. For example, it is significantly less expensive for hotels to rent out an entire floor of their property while dealing with one tour organizer, than to rent out those same rooms to 40 individual people. Not to mention the guarantee of blocks of space being planned for months in advance. You can expect anywhere from 25-40% discounts off regular retail pricing.
- More special opportunities. Many times, large groups will get special treatment because of the logistics of moving your group around. For example, you might get to board the plane quicker and as a group. The hotel may set up a special reception area with food and drink on your group’s floor to accommodate everyone. Customs may divert your group to a special area to handle immigration all at once instead of having to stand in the cattle call line like individual travelers. Attractions may provide special hours that only serve your group. Really the possibilities are endless, and all you have to do is join a group of like-minded people on your next adventure.
- More smooth sailing. Traveling with a group usually makes things go much smoother, especially if you’re headed somewhere off the beaten path. This is because someone else is handling the details, “greasing the skids” if you like, around all the intricacies of travel for you. You don’t have to worry about transfers or directions or where to stay. You just get to focus on the amazing sights and sounds of the locale you’re visiting.