Before I started blogging I never even thought about group travel. Now, I've taken dozens of group trips and even hosted a few tours myself! There are so many benefits to organized travel so I wanted to share the pros and cons, along with my experience.
I've taken many group trips over the years and most recently traveled with Globus through Northern California. Specifically, we did the “California Dreaming Tour” which was 9 days from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.
I think group travel is especially wonderful if you're a solo traveler, you want to make friends along the way, or you don't want to plan your entire trip on your own.
With Globus, we had a built in guide, hotels were booked, and tours were scheduled. Things like access to Yosemite National Park (you can wait hours to get in!) were taken care of. I also got to make lots of new friends and share my travel experience with them.
Choice Touring by Globus allows travelers flexibility, and freedom, to have scheduled tours, along with free time to explore on your own.
Why Take an Organized Group Trip?
The number one benefit is the people you meet. Usually, you'll find like-minded people who want to explore and learn and are interested in the destination. I've made some of my greatest friends on group trips.
I remember I hosted a trip in Portugal, my first, and every single person that came on the trip ended up being a life-long friend!
Recently, on my Northern California trip with Globus, we traveled from destination to destination by bus. This gave me lots of opportunities to get to know other travelers and make friends.
We went out to dinner together, bumped into a famous person in downtown Mammoth, went on hikes, and bonded over our shared experiences. When you get this opportunity, it's a great way to make friends.
Now, you might be wondering… who goes on group trips? In all honesty, it used to be that group travel was reserved for an older generation. I think that's changing. I'm noticing that especially on cruise ships, younger people (aka millennials like me!) are loving the benefits of organized travel.
If you don't want to plan your entire trip, or if you're a solo traveler, group travel is the way to go. With Globus, all of the hotels were booked and we had a schedule of tours that were already planned out.
This allowed me to relax and not worry about planning each day's activities. In fact, I had extra time to explore!
You won't even have to worry about checking in to your hotel. Our tour director did this for at each stop. We were handed our room cards as we walked in. They will even take your luggage to your room!
Globus also has an app that offers you thorough pre-trip preparation and helps ensure you know the structure of your day-to-day. This helps with packing, documents, and even gives you the ability to take notes!
Built in Guide
Another great thing about group travel is that you have a built in guide. This might be a tour guide, or on my Globus trip it was our fearless leader, Derek. Inevitably, there will be hiccups when you travel. For example, things close, and on our trips wildfires prevented us from seeing certain Red Woods. But Derek was ready to go with plan B or even C! I didn't have to research where to go or what to do next.
This person knows the area and can give you insider tips, like where to find the best food or how to save time when sightseeing.
We also had a driver along the way which means I can sit back and relax to enjoy the scenery. I will admit the biggest area of arguing between Michael and I is over directions and navigating, so this saved us from fighting!
Truly, there's no guide book better than a tour guide. When you're trying to learn something new, it's always more interesting and easier to remember if the information comes from a real person with his or her own jokes and stories. Our guide was dynamic and interesting and really made the trip so much fun and informative.
Researching a trip is like a full-time job and can be overwhelming. When you go with a group, this is all taken care of for you. You can hop on the bus and go!
With group travel, you don't have to worry about booking excursions, researching the best things to do, or finding hotels. That's the charm of an organized excursion because it relieves all of that anxiety off your back, allowing you to enjoy your holiday more fully.
The only thing I had to do to prepare was figure out what to wear and to book my flight. After that, everything else was taken care of!
Although Michael LOVES planning trips, it can be nice to surrender control for a change. Who else could possibly do this job than an expert tour guide who will make sure that you see all of the country has to offer and more?
Organized excursions, without a doubt, provide a greater sense of security. You don't have to search in vain for accommodation or feel stranded without assurances of where to go.
When I was on a group trip in Morocco, one of the women on the trip was pick-pocketed when she went out on her own. Our guide was able to get her to the police station and ensure her safety. That additional peace of mind is especially nice on group trips.
When You Might Want to Pass on a Group Trip
With a group trip, you of course might want to venture out on your own and with many trips there is a more set schedule which means you won't always get to explore some of the things you might have researched. That's what I did like about our Choice Touring with Globus. Many group trips don't offer the option of multiple excursions, and we also had free time to explore on our own.
On my California trip I even rented a car and we found a beautiful spot in Mammoth, California!
My advice is to pick a group trip that offers some flexibility so you can choose what you want to do.
Not Meeting Locals
Sometimes when you're on a group trip it's harder to meet locals because you have a built in group of travel buddies. This is a con because meeting locals is one of the best ways to enjoy your travel experience and get inside information. I think the best way to combat this is to step out of your comfort zone and chat with locals, especially at restaurants or bars. Just ask a question or strike up a conversation!
Just like with making friends in general, this is a skill that takes practice. So don't worry if you're not good at it initially – just be yourself and keep trying!
Sometimes group travel can be expensive. However, in my experience and especially working with Globus, these tours are on par with what you'd normally spend. Especially if they work to get group rates for hotels, this might actually keep your costs down!
Choosing the Right Group Trip for You
When you do your research and shortlist group trips to go on, here's some things to consider:
First, think about the kind of trip you want to take and the kind of traveler you are. Do you want a more structured plan, or would you prefer more freedom and choice? If you like more structure, you might prefer Globus. However if you want more flexibility you might like Choice Touring by Globus.
If you really want a lot of choice and flexibility, and you want to stick to bigger cities to explore on your own, I recommend Monograms. You can see my trip with Monograms here.
Or maybe you don't like fast-paced travel, but you want the ease of seeing more? Then I recommend a river cruise on Avalon! See a review of Avalon here.
It's also a good idea to consider what you want in terms of comfort. Are you searching for a party atmosphere or a calm environment? What sort of accommodation are you looking for each night, an upscale hotel or more budget accommodation?
In conclusion, I think there are many reasons to take a group trip. From the people you meet to the built in guide, these trips offer something for everyone. If you're considering traveling solo or want a built in group of explorers I think everyone should try taking a group trip!
Check out what Globus has to offer here!
See my Northern California itinerary here and see my guide to Yosemite here!