Traveling involves a lot of decision making and one of those is whether to journey on your own or join a group. I have done both many times and I have to say that group travel is the best option. Here are some advantages of joining a group tour.
I thought I’d go ahead and start with the obvious. “There is safety in numbers.” The majority of group tour travelers are female travelers and for most, the choice is because of how safe it is to travel in a group. It is sad to say that the world is not a safe place. We see many stories of travelers who get into some very dangerous situations when traveling.Take for instance the solo traveler who got lost in Cambodia, she was a solo traveler, drunk at a party. There is also the young man who got lost in Bali, no trace of where he could have gone.
We never know when something might happen to us when we’re traveling, we hope for the best and try to be as responsible as we possibly can. However, there are things that one simply cannot plan for and avoiding them might prove impossible. Joining a group tour is definitely one of the ways in which you can be sure of your safety.
Making lasting friendships
It is very difficult to make friends as a solo traveler, especially if you are an introvert like me. When I’m traveling alone, it takes a lot of courage and a few shots of tequila to get me to talk to strangers. It once took me about three days to say “hi” to a girl I shared a hostel room with, that’s not an exaggeration. I would think about saying hi to her, plan it all in my head and just freeze when the chance presented itself.
When I am traveling with a group, there is an instant keenship that is formed with the other fellow travelers. We know that we will be together for a while, we are going to share rooms and sit next to each other on long bus rides, that knowing makes us want to know each other as quickly as we possibly can.
I now have friends in different parts of the world! People I can confidently call and ask to sleep on their couch should I find myself in their city.
My favorite line in one of my favorite movies, Diary of a Mad Black woman, is “all you have to do is wake up, and I’ll take it from there”. This is said during a marriage proposal, romantic as fuck! All you have to do is wake up and the group leader will take it from there. Not as romantic as the movie but I’m sure you get my point. All that time consuming, stressful planning is negated when you join a group tour. You don’t have to think about what to do, every single day is planned out for you. All you do is book your tour, then sit back and enjoy your vacation.
I really love the break this gives me from decision making. I get to have two or three weeks, depending on how long the tour is, of having my life run by someone else. Life can be so challenging, you are constantly thinking about what to do and worrying about the choices you’ve made. Group travel gives you the option of not doing any of that! Your meals, accommodations, activities are all planned for you. “All you have to do is show up!”
Language and culture
Traveling to non-English speaking countries can be daunting for both the traveler and the locals. You can definitely get around with basic knowledge of any language but you can only go so far before you are completely frustrated. Group tours have prepared for this. The tour operators do an amazing job of making sure that they work with local companies that have a basic understanding of English.
Another big thing that travelers tend to overlook is cultural intricacies of the country. It is vital that you know how to behave as a guest in the country you are visiting. It would be disrespectful to not cover your sholders in Malaysia as it’s a Muslim country, or to walk around in your bikini in the Philippines, Catholic country. Tour operators share this information with travelers before going.
I particularly appreciate this because I think it is important to know how to handle yourself in a country whether you are a solo traveler or you join a group.