On Friday I brought you a post about why you should take a solo trip, and whilst I believe that you totally should at some point in your life, I also understand that the prospect of going it alone could be somewhat daunting! If you’ve been longing to visit somewhere but can’t find anyone to go with, another option you may not have considered is small group travel. Here are my 5 top reasons why small group travel can be a fantastic experience, especially for solo travellers.
1. You can spend as much or as little time alone as you want
Whether you’re travelling with someone else or by yourself, small group travel means that you can stick with the others, or go and do something alone in your free time. After the day’s activities you may choose to head out for dinner with the rest of your group, but you don’t have to. When I went to Bali, I was planning on going to the monkey forest in Ubud on my own, but when I got there I actually didn’t like the thought of being stranded with a bunch of potentially fearsome monkeys alone (they actually weren’t scary at all). Luckily some other members of the group wanted to go to, so I went with them and had someone to hide behind if a monkey did get too close!
2. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends
Following on from the last point, it’s super easy to make friends with your fellow travellers when on a small group tour! You’ll have picked a tour that suits your taste, be it luxury, basic or adventure and therefore you’re likely to find you have lots in common with your group. Being in a small group means it’s easier to get to know people and make deeper connections than if you were in a large group, and certainly easier than if you’re travelling completely solo!
3. They can be great value if you DO YOUR RESEARCH
Lots of people get put off by small group travel, thinking that they’re getting ripped off. Sure, there are some companies out there who aren’t going to provide the best experience, but there are plenty that aren’t too. In all honesty I found Intrepid to not only be excellent value for money, but they also care about the same things I do such as supporting locals and travelling responsibly. For example, we were given tote bags when we first arrived so that we didn’t use as many plastic ones.
4. You don’t have to organise ANYTHING
Well, apart from making sure you’re at your meeting spot at the right time! Otherwise, everything is done for you. The organisers have booked all the best tours and activities, they’ve arranged the hotels and transport. Even if you want to do any of the optional extras, you just let your guide know which ones you’re interested in and they will plan them for you too! Now, perhaps you feel you don’t have enough freedom on these trips, but everything is optional so if there’s something else you really want to do instead, I’m sure you can arrange it. It’s especially great for anyone travelling to a country for the first time as most tours will take you to all the top touristy places (and Intrepid took us to other, off the beaten track destinations too!) so you won’t miss out on any of the highlights.
5. You can learn more about the culture
With Intrepid, and I’m sure the same is true for other countries, they employ local guides who’ve lived in and around the area you’re visiting, normally for their entire lives. This means they have so much extra information they are keen to tell you, whereas if you’re guiding yourself round a foreign country you may not getting chatting to as many locals, or you may think of a question whilst exploring a new city, yet forget to ask it when you actually do get talking to someone. On a small group tour you have a local guide on hand most of the time who will be happy to give you the entire history of their country and culture should you wish to hear it!
So there are my 5 top reasons why I think small group travel is totally worth it.
Have you ever done a small group tour before?
How did you think it matched up compared to other means of traveling?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!