Is a Group Tour for You?
It’s a group thing!
It is your first trip to Europe and you don’t want a lot of hassle, but you know you don’t want to go on a tour…or do you? Or maybe it’s your first trip to Asia and you just don’t even know where to begin and you’re wondering if a group tour is your best bet.
While it is true that going on a tour isn’t for everyone, some travelers who might actually be the best candidates for this type of experience don’t seriously consider them. Why? In many cases because they don’t realize the value in weighing the pros and cons. Tours take the guesswork out of travel, and (as long as your operator is a reputable one) will keep you in great hands through the course of a specially designed itinerary.
Let’s take a look and see if spending your vacation with a tour group is right for you:
- Pros: If you want to see many places. Logistically it can be difficult to coordinate a multi-city or country tour on your own. Tour operators do all the coordinating, and you just show up. Your travel agent or vacation planner will work work with the ones who have the best reputation for providing the best experience possible.
- Cons: In some instances you might fall in love with a place and wish you had more time to explore. In this case you’ll just have plan a trip to return!
- Pros: If you want to really dive deep on an experience such as culinary, culture or adventure. A good tour program is specially designed to present you with the best a city or region has to offer.
- Cons: You have less freedom to choose, but generally you can opt out of activities at any time based on the level of activity you want to have.
- Pros: Great value. Most tours include accommodations, an expert guide and (some) meals
- Pros: Meet new people. No matter how much you adore your travel companion, conversation with others can be refreshing and you might just make new friends for life!
- Cons: Let’s face it, there are just some people you don’t quite mesh with.
- Pros: All tour operators are most certainly not created equal. Get over thinking they are always and only all about being driven around in a giant bus with uninspiring food for meals. Upscale and luxury tour operators know exactly what makes discerning travelers happy. Butterfield & Robinson, for example, caters to small groups for top of the line bicycle tours. Tauck does destination-rich programs that are suitable for multi-generations traveling together. Looking for adventure? Consider G Adventures for their commitment to adventure across the spectrum of lifestyles, and for their commitment environmentally aware travel.
- Cons: Finding a date for the program you like that works with your schedule.
- Pros: Really cool, unique experiences are offered with group tours that you could never do on your own. For example: Take a bicycle tour through the French countryside and enjoy private tasting at vineyards along the way. Eat a home-cooked meal at the actual home of a renowned chef. Get a private guided tour of the Vatican museums. Go horseback riding in the Peruvian countryside, then visit a ceramic studio and make your own masterpiece. And the list goes on…
- Cons: We challenge you to think of one!
You will find that no one is better skilled at finding a vacation style that is best suited for you than a professional vacation planner or travel agent. They will help you determine what your expectations are for your trip, including how much freedom and activity you want to have, and identify exactly where the value is based on what is included and what is not. A simple review of a few options within your budget will help determine if a small or big group tour is right for you, or if you are better off with a fully custom itinerary.