Group Tours vs Independent Travel: Which Is For You?
One of the things every traveller has to decide when planning an adventure is whether they’re going to go solo or opt for a group tour. For some, the decision is easy. Others, who have never travelled in a group or travelled at all, may find this decision a little harder. For me, this is the easiest decision I can make when planning my adventures. Since starting my adventures and trying both methods of travel, I now choose a group tour, every time! So, group tours vs independent travel – which one should you choose? Here are 10 reasons why I opt for group travel!
IT’S STRESS FREE
Are group tours worth it? Well, it heavily depends on what kind of traveller you are. But one of the biggest things for me, is the stress free aspect of group travel. It can be difficult enough to plan a trip abroad, especially the further afield you go. Group tours can make your trip so easy to plan, and they take away all the drama both before and during your travels. No waking up in your hostel hungover from the night before trying to figure out bus times or how to get to the next destination on your trip. On a group tour, everything is organised for you so you can relax and enjoy your trip.
A One Life Adventures tour group participates in a blessing by the lake in Pushkar
YOU GET A LEGENDARY GROUP LEADER
Your group leader will have so much knowledge on the destination you’re in. You won’t have to spend weeks researching everything about the country you’re going to as your guide will be able to tell you everything you need to know. From local dishes, local laws and culture, your group leader will be like a walking guide book! When considering group tours vs independent travel, this is one of the biggest factors to include in your decision.
YOU GET NEW BEST MATES
One of the best things about group tours is the people you’ll meet. You spend so much time with your trip mates that you’ll all feel like a family within a few days. No more making friends and then having to say goodbye within a day or two when your solo travel takes you in an opposite direction to your new bestie. What’s even better is that group trips have such a variety of people from all over the world, when you travel in the future to different continents you’re bound to have a friend there that you can crash with!
A One Life Adventures tour group hanging out in Ella, Sri Lanka
OF COURSE, EPIC PHOTOS
Your tour guide will know all of the best spots to take that perfect Instagram pic you’re after. They’ll know the best time to head to the iconic locations to get the least amount of people in the background and all of your friends back home will be super envious when they see your epic travel shots, obvs. Plus, no having to set your phone on timer while smiling awkwardly because you have absolutely no idea if your picture has been taken (we’ve all been there).
YOU’LL FIND ALL THE HIDDEN GEMS
As well as visiting all of the tourist hotspots, your tour is also likely to take you to lots of hidden gems that you wouldn’t find if you were travelling alone. Whether it be hidden waterfalls, a tiny uninhabited tropical island or an unheard of hike, the hidden gems are often better than the main attractions and your guide will know the best of the best.
A One Life Adventures tour group after climbing to the crater of Mt Bromo, Indonesia
YOU GET ONE-OFF, UNIQUE EXPERIENCES
Another of the biggest factors when looking at group tours vs independent travel has got to be the unique experiences that tour operators can provide. From staying with a local family or camping overnight on a private beach, you’re guaranteed to experience some things that would be impossible to do on a solo adventure.
THE COST ENDS UP BEING LOWER
Initially, the cost of group tours might actually seem pretty high in comparison since you’re paying everything upfront. However, group trips tend to include much more than you might realise. All of your accommodation, transport and so many of your activities could be included in the cost of your tour. If you were to add everything up separately, the local transport, paying individually for all of your activities, meals and your accommodation, then you might find that group travel is actually more cost effective. An advantage of booking a group tour is that you also know exactly what you’re paying up front and the tour operator will give you a realistic budget of how much spending money you’ll need for your extra meals and activities.
A One Life Adventures group tour hanging out during their cultural day in El Nido, Palawan
GETTING TO GIVE BACK TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES
As well as getting to meet locals, group tour providers often give a lot back to local communities. Each time they take you to a local restaurant, stay in a local family run hostel or hotel, the money you’ve paid ensures there are jobs available for the members of the community so they can support their families. Plus, the local food is always the tastiest!
ONWARDS TRAVEL IS A BREEZE
If you are planning to spend some extra time in the country you’re travelling, your guide will be able to give you a lot of advice on where to go, where to stay and what to see. You’ll also find more often than not that many of your trip mates will also add on a few extra days at the end of tour too. Your tour guide will help you and your new mates get the most out of your extra days in the country!
A One Life Adventures tour group island hopping
SAFETY IN NUMBERS!
Safety is such an important factor while travelling and there is no doubt that group tours are much safer than going it alone. One of your tour guide’s main priorities will be to keep everyone safe. Even if you do end up getting lost in Delhi spice market, it will only be a matter of minutes before you are found! When you’re considering group tours vs independent travel, safety features pretty highly.
Now you’ve got all the facts surrounding group tours vs independent travel. Which one is for you? If this all sounds like a trip you definitely want to be on, check out some of our options here. We run trips in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Japan, Indonesia and India!
WRITTEN BY: Jenna Brazel