Not sold on the whole 'group travel' thing? Read on..
Not sold on the whole 'group travel' thing?' Read on..
So, you want to travel but you're not sure about this group travel thing? Here's a quick travel reality check.
Most of us don't have endless time to travel. Or endless time to plan travel. We don't have endless money. We have definite things we want to do and see. And we don't really fancy organising everything and experiencing everything in an unfamiliar place on our own.
This is precisely where small group adventure travel comes in.
Now, some people have a pre-conceived idea that group travel isn't for them. Maybe they think that it's tame. Or that they'll be herded in a group and wont really experience the destination for themselves. Or that it's for young people who want to party their trip away.
But small group adventures are not like that. They simply offer a way to travel. And it's a great way. The groups are small – never more than 16 people – and the adventures are as out there as you want them to be.
Here's nine reasons why small group adventure travel is the best way to travel.
1. You'll have a local guide who offers real local insights – 24/7
Some sights are not worth seeing without a local guide – a small temple may not seem that interesting until you hear the incredible story behind it. But once you've travelled with a local guide, you'll realise that just about everything has an incredible story behind it.
On a small group adventure, your local guide will be someone who was born and bred in the region, who speaks the language, knows the customs and can answer your questions about local history and culture. When you see a guy in a village cooking something weird, you can ask your guide what's going on. When you have a bit of free time, you can ask your guide for suggestions about what to do.
And you will have that local insight travelling with you, 24-7. Well... definitely from breakfast til dinner anyway. Your guide might not enjoy being asked about local weaving traditions at 2am.
2. You'll travel with interesting people, who have made exactly the same travel decision as you
People who join group travel tours are people just like you. They have their own interesting life stories, families, friends, adventures, work and travel history – personal journeys that have led them to a point where they have made the exact same decision as you – to join a particular tour to a particular place at a particular time.
Getting to know the stories of those people is a fascinating part of group travel. You'll share new travel experiences, at the same time as sharing your past experiences. And sometimes that bond sticks and you make a new friend to stay in touch with after your trip ends.
3. Your itinerary has been developed and refined by people who know what's what in the region
You will be seeing and doing the best things in the place you are going. You don't need to doubt it. Your small group itinerary has been developed by local experts and refined over time, to make sure the right amount of time is spent in the best places to go.
And it's authentic. Accommodation is locally-run and has been hand-selected for its character and charm. Sometimes special food or accommodation experiences are included – maybe staying in a historic palace or dining with a local family in their home.
Small group adventures will take you off the beaten track and offer interesting local experiences. You can explore quiet villages, go on a rural bike ride, learn about a local cuisine, take a boat trip or hike in the mountains.
You just need to show up to experience the perfectly designed trip.
4. Sharing experiences is part of what is great about having experiences
Imagine you are climbing a mountain. It's 5am. You're exhausted but it's only an hour more climbing to the summit. The beauty of the landscape is starting to reveal itself in the gentle glow that is creeping over the horizon. You pause for breath and take in the view. You turn to your companion and share an exultant smile.
These are magical moments. Having people to share these moments with is what makes them special. Knowing that someone is seeing, experiencing and feeling what you are is affirming and kind of meaningful in a heart-warming way. Plus, it's good to know someone else needed a rest just there on that mountain.
5. Small group travel is not the same as big group travel – so you can leave your preconceptions at the door
Small group travel is not soft. It's not boozy. It's not queueing at the bus door. It's not following a tour guide holding a flag up so you can follow them in the crowd.
Small group adventure travel is about experiencing a destination for yourself. It's about getting out there amongst it, eating the street food, or kayaking down the river or riding in the local tuk tuk through a hectic city. It's you and a few companions seeing and doing all the best local stuff, at your own pace and with your own space.
6. You can budget for your trip in a pretty organised way
You can choose a trip that suits your budget, as your major travel costs will be covered in your tour price. You will know exactly how much the trip costs and what you'll be getting. The inclusions are laid out and any extra options that you need to budget for will be clear.
Having paid up front for your accommodation, transport and some local experiences and food means that you can travel comfortably with limited cash, knowing the fundamentals are already paid for.
7. You wont be alone or lonely – unless you want to be
Travelling by yourself can involve some lonely times. Some days you'll be organising accommodation, seeing sights and eating dinner all by yourself. It can be hard to take.
Travelling with a group gives you options – if you're in the mood to chat, there are people to chat to. But if you want an afternoon of time out, you can often just take it. Sit in a cafe with your book and head home for an early night – on many days in a small group adventure, you'll have choices to make about what you feel like doing.
8. You don't have to spend 42 google hours investigating landmarks, hotels and train schedules
Planning an independent trip for yourself can be incredibly time consuming. Incredibly.
For example, to plan a night in a city, you need to figure out which bit of the city is cool with plenty of food options. Then you need to search for accommodation in that area that fits your budget. Then you need to book that accommodation. Then you have to keep yourself a record of what you've booked, where it is, what you've paid for... etcetera, etcetera.
For a 14-day trip with accommodation, transport, food and activities to think about, let's say you need three hours google time per travel day. 14 x 3 = 42 hours. That's 42 hours of research for a planned and booked trip. That's a full-time work week of planning!
9. You can take the exact trip that you want
There are so many options out there that small group travel can be exactly what you choose. It can be sightseeing, hiking, cycling, cooking, eating or photography focussed. It can be camping, hostels, comfortable hotels or luxury lodges. There isn't a mould or a stereotype of small group adventure. Just imagine your perfect trip – and it probably exists.
Talk to an Adventure Consultant at My Adventure Travel to find the small group tour that is right for you. They know all the options and will be able to guide you through the hundreds of choices that are out there to find the perfect adventure.