I had always been interested in globetrotting, but didn’t quite know how to go about planning travel abroad and wasn’t crazy about the idea of going alone. One day after work, a friend mentioned the vacation she had just booked to Italy – a group trip from Venice to Rome. The tour included food, lodging and transportation within the country along with other travelers of the same age. I couldn’t believe such a thing existed! Group Trips were the answer to all of my travel woes and they have changed my life.
Here is list of pros and cons to help you decide if group travel is right for your next trip.
|You will make new friends||You will rarely have alone time|
|You won’t need a selfie stick||I can’t think of any reason to consider that a con|
|Everything is planned for you ahead of time||There is less flexibility in the itinerary|
|You can see all the highlights of that area||You tend to stay on the beaten path|
|You have help in case of an emergency||Safety is always a pro|
|Going with a group typically reduces cost||This usually means shared accommodations|
I think the pros heavily outweigh the cons, especially if you are new to travel. Here is a list of all the amazing group trips I’ve taken over the last ten years.
My first group trip was a two week tour of Peru with Contiki. We rafted down the Amazon River, gazed upon Machu Picchu at sunrise, and went dancing every night. It was a blast. Contiki trips are exclusively for 18-35 years, so they tend to be a lot like college – you see some cool things and learn a bit, but you’re mostly just there to party in a new place with new people. Since they cater to a younger crowd, the prices are lower, but the groups tend to be bigger.
Thinking about Peru for your next trip? Here’s the trip I took: Peru Uncovered
My favorite trip of all time was hiking to Everest Base Camp with Explore Worldwide. The Himalayan mountain-scape is obviously unbeatable, but the small group and spectacular guide made Explore Worldwide stand out among group travel companies. My luggage was lost en route to Nepal, but our Sherpa went above and beyond to help me locate it and then find replacements for all of my gear when it never showed up.
Explore no longer offers treks to Everest Base Camp, but a similar option would be the equally scenic Annapurna Circuit.
I looked at a lot of companies before booking a Kilimanjaro climb with Intrepid. They are reasonably priced and offer a large selection of dates. Our group ended up being about ten people, some of whom had never even been hiking, but every one of us made it to the summit with the help of the knowledgable and patient local guides.
I was very happy with Intrepid’s Kilimanjaro: Marangu Route and would happily recommend them to anyone hoping to climb Africa’s highest peak.
Since I was already going to be in Tanzania to climb Kili, I wanted to see as much as I could of the country by going on a safari and checking out Zanzibar. G Adventures was the only company that offered my desired dates and they were easily the cheapest. G has the widest range of trips, from solo to luxury, so there is something for everyone.
G Adventures’ 18-To-Thirty Something Tanzania & Zanzibar Adventure is a great option for travelers on a budget, but keep in mind that their “Basic” trips tend to have bigger groups.
Last summer, my fiancé and I decided a trip to China would be our first overseas adventure together. We had been warned that the language barrier made travel through China a bit more difficult than most countries, so we started looking for a group to travel with. I found The Dragon Trip at The New York Times Travel Show and booked our trip the next day. The travel show discount, combine with already low tour prices, made this one of the least expensive trips I’ve ever been on. The Dragon Trip specializes in budget backpacking travel around Asia and seems to add a new location every time I check the website.
If you’re planning on backpacking through China, check out The Dragon Trip’s 15 Day China Half Loop.
I have not yet been on an Exodus trip, but I’ve heard rave reviews from plenty of fellow travelers.
I, personally, have been eyeing their Finnish Wilderness Week.
Over the next few months, I’ll go into more detail about each trip, but feel free to leave a comment or send a message if you have any specific questions regarding group travel. Happy trails!