In the exercise of listing the pros and cons of the different types of travel, I was surprised to discover group travel has both the most advantages and disadvantages of all types of travel.
- If you are new to travel, this is a great way to get your toes wet.
- Convenience. If you don’t like planning, group tours are for you.
- The tour company has figured out the logistics, so you can see and do the most things with the least amount of time.
- Many tours give you free time – you can hang out with others or go solo.
- Some tours will take you to places that would be impossible or nearly impossible to get to on your own. Think: Antarctica.
- A tour can be cost effective when you’re a solo traveler and public transportation isn’t an option. For example, the Australian Outback is quite accessible by road, but a solo car rental would be quite pricy. A group tour might be a good alternative.
- Some countries require that you must be on a tour to visit. For example, Tibet requires all non-Chinese to be on a tour. Iran only allows certain nationalities to visit on a tour. Turkmenistan will only give an independent traveler a 3 day transit tour, but tour groups can stay for longer. (Note: check the rules at the time of your travel, restrictions like these are constantly changing).
- A mixture of other people. You are likely to gel with some of them and you may make a lifelong friend.
- Can be very expensive.
- Some of the local interaction is via experiences and shows arranged by the travel company and feels less authentic.
- You don’t get to pick who you travel with.
- Can be rushed. If you love a locale there’s no way to spend longer if it’s not on the itinerary.
- A sterilized way to see the world – hotels and restaurants catering to larger international groups.
- You don’t get to pick your own accommodation. Often you might stay in a suburb rather than the center of the city. Would you like to go to Paris or Rome and stay on the outskirts?
- Many companies will give you a roommate to save on costs if you’re solo and this could be a great or very bad experience.
What do you think about group travel?