When I think about group travel my instant thoughts are: Multiple cities, new friends, new memories and of course the cost. Group travel is something that I love to do as I’m still a little shy to break out completely on my own and into the solo category.
I do love myself a good tour now so when I first decided to book my trip to New Zealand in 2012 I thought “screw it; I’m just going to book it and go”. And I did. I booked my first group holiday with one of the biggest travel groups in the world – Contiki. A very popular tour company that tour through a lot of countries around the world for 18-35 year olds.
I had heard great reviews about Contiki from friends, family members and of course the inevitable social media and I just couldn’t wait to experience it for myself. Read on to find out why I love to do group travel.
One of the best things that could ever happen on a group tour is meeting new people who become lifelong friends, believe me when I say I have so many now and most reside overseas (major sad face). These are the people I wish I could see more of but being that there is distance, yeah that kinda sucks. I was lucky enough to have had plenty of people in North America who I was able to see again when I made a trip back last year and it was one of the best holidays I have ever experienced.
What I like about group tours is that you will have someone to help you answer your questions you have for them. For example, if you want to know where to get local produce they will tell you, want a cheap but amazing restaurant they will tell you, fun activities that are a must do in the city you’re in they will tell you. You will always have a guide with your for the duration of your holiday and most of them are quite fun and are lovely so make sure you include them too. They’re working to make sure you have a great time so return the favour and let them have a good time with you.
Don’t like the stress of booking certain things, well doing a group tour may be just the thing for you. Everything is mostly organised but there will be a couple of days where they will give you “free” time to explore the areas for yourself whom I think is a great idea. And another awesome thing about that is that if you don’t want to go alone ask a new friend on the tour if they’d like to tag along. You never know what you’ll discover. The only things you’ll need to organise are of course you’re flights, travel insurance, currency and visas (if required). This brings me to my next point.
All your accommodation and transport from the start date to the end date of the tour are included in the cost. I’ve done 3 contiki’s where we’ve only ever use the bus – no flights or trains yet. But internal flights/trains within the country you’re travelling are usually included. I know Contiki do this. Most meals are included but not all. This gives you the chance to experience the local cuisine from where you are visiting.
Although group travel is fast pace (why do holidays go so fast?!) it’s great to experience it at least once in your life. The only down side group travel has is that some tours only have 1 night in a location but it can show you places you’d like to revisit (I have plenty I want to revisit) and activities you’d like to experience if you didn’t get a chance to do it the first time because Mother Nature interrupted your holiday.
I can honestly say that by doing a group tour it took me to places I’d never thought I’d get to see like the beautiful lakes around the south island of New Zealand, the red desert of the Australian outback and the beautiful shore lines of California coast. We always think about the destinations like the bigger cities but not the smaller towns/cities in between. There is so much more to see after a group tour. During a stopover in West America, we stopped off at this beautiful little town called Sedona. So quaint and beautiful and serene. I loved seeing the red rock mountains behind the shops lining the main road. It was a sight to see.
So what are you waiting for? Go and book that group tour if you’re a little scared to go solo (just like me).