I get it - I used to think like you too. There was NO way that I was going to spend my precious vacation time stuck on a bus with 50 boring and annoying people, driving past the things that I really wanted to see and not getting enough time to spend at the places where we did stop. No thank you! However, after I changed my career from technology to travel, I started educating myself on what group tours were all about. SHOCKER, I even took a group tour myself. I found the right tour company that fit me and my vacation style.
You know what? I was hooked!
Read on for five reasons why I think you should consider traveling with a group too.
1. The Itinerary is planned for you.
It doesn't get easier than traveling in a group. The tours are already planned based on the research that the travel company has done. Since they have done the trip before, they've determined what works and what doesn't, they know how much is a good amount of sightseeing to do in a day, and how much is too much. They have relationships at the hotels and have already chosen places to stay that are convenient to where you want to go. All of the important tourist sights are included, you won't have to wait in line for tickets, and you will usually have a special group entrance. All of this without you spending a single minute planning any of it!
2. You see the famous places but also the not-so-famous places.
Everyone wants to visit the Blue Lagoon when they go to Iceland. It's beautiful, has a great restaurant and bar, and its famous face masks. At the same time, EVERYONE is at the Blue Lagoon, so it can be crowded, expensive and you won't find any native Icelanders there. My tour guide told our group about the local city swimming pools in Reykjavik, which cost us about $86 LESS. We spent a few hours surrounded by Icelanders, enjoying the pool and conversation with people that actually lived in Reykjavik.
In the Galapagos, our guide told our group about a snorkeling tour that we could do and it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip!
3. Your tour guide has your back.
Speaking of the tour guide, when you travel with a group, they have your back in case anything goes wrong. When we were in Peru and one of our group ended up with altitude sickness while hiking the Inca Trail, it was our guide that picked her up at the trail, arranged for her hotel that night and made sure she got to the doctor. In Iceland, when a girl ended up with an allergic reaction, our guide is the one who drove her to the hospital, waited with her until she was seen and then stopped by the pharmacy to get her prescription filled. Can you imagine having a health issue and having to figure out where the hospital is, and then potentially having to describe your problem in another language??
4. You'll make new friends.
If your travel agent has done a good job learning about who you are and what your travel style is, they will have booked you in a group with people who are like you. They will have the same travel ideas and spirit, the same level of adventure and will probably have similar interests because of that. It's only natural then, that they will become your friends as you spend days together traveling through foreign destinations. The very first group that I traveled with was to Peru. After we returned home, we created a Facebook group and we still keep in touch after three years. No, not everyone will become your bestie, but you will likely meet some fun and interesting people from all around the world.
5. Relax and enjoy your trip.
This is the best part of traveling in a group. You can just relax and totally enjoy your trip. There is no stress over how to get to your next destination, wondering where the heck the hotel is. You'll be assured of excellent restaurants for your meals, regardless of your budget. If you have to fly from one location to another, there is no stress of getting to the airport on time, figuring out where the gate is or dealing with any language barriers. Your tour guide will have that all covered for you. It's nice to travel without any added stress.