In following on from last weeks summary of how to chose the best group tour for you (which you can read here if you missed it) I decided to dive deeper into the types of tours available. There is after all a group tour to suit every interest you could possibly imagine but not all of these options will suit your travel style.
Since not all group tours are created equal I’ve further narrowed your choices so you can find the best group tour for you –
The Big Cheap Bus Tour –
Positives – You can skip the queue and get special access to all the major attractions. These tours tend to be cheaper and you never have to worry about travelling alone as you are bound to find someone you like when travelling with so many people. The theme of these tours tends to be rather generic giving people a general overview of the country/city rather than diving into specific interests.
Negatives – you have to follow the guide the whole time and live according to their schedule with limited, if any free time. Limited leg room on buses and all the joys that come with bus travel such as unwanted smells, long queues at toilet stops etc.
Accommodation tends to be in hotels chains that cater to accommodating 60 passengers and have enough space to park a bus rather than be in the city centre within walking distance to destinations. Most people are too tired after a big day of getting on and off buses that eating the buffet food in the hotel restaurant instead of eating local cuisine downtown appeals to them.
The Small Group Tour –
Positives – Smaller group size (usually capped at 16-20 people) means a potentially more intimate travel experience and the opportunity to build some lasting friendships. The focus of these groups tends to be rather specific such as adventure travel, history, food etc. so everyone who is there has a similar interest.
Negatives – If you end up on a tour with someone you don’t like there is no where to hide. Also trying to pay the bill of a non included meal with 15 people means you will sometimes pay extra for food you didn’t eat.
Accommodation tends to be closer to the inner city with the focus on smaller hotels and local dinning opportunities.
The Luxury Group Tour –
Positives – Tour sizes and hotel quality are the big standouts on these tours. Group sizes are generally kept small and the hotels are upmarket or luxury.
Negatives – Similar to other group tours they can have rushed itineraries and important sights that aren’t included. You will be encouraged to use the hotel facilities and guided tour options as opposed to roaming free yourself or using cheaper, local alternatives for meals and guides.
The Active Tour –
Positives – These trips are far more targeted than the big bus or small group tour. Because those going on active tours are often looking to participate in a specific type of outdoor activity (biking, hiking, rafting etc.) the group sizes are almost always smaller by necessity.
Negatives – Be aware of the “vibe” of the company as if the tour leader is not careful the more competitive members of the tour can turn the experience into a race or competition making the less experienced members feel isolated or inadequate.
Family Tours –
Positives – They target the itinerary to be inclusive of children and keep their interest. There is usually special kids activities that leave time for Mum and Dad to have some alone time as well as an emphasis on family time.
Negatives – Can be hard to find and not always available in specific destinations. Tours can be overly social for some people with constant activities for kids and parents so they are always entertained.
Private Tours –
Positives – Perfect for those who don’t like the socialisation aspect of tours or the one-size-fits-all approach. They can tour at their own pace, to places they are actually interested in and get the personalised attention they actually want. The holiday can be tailored to their every desire and wish as opposed to someone else’s. There is no “single supplement” fee.
Negatives – Tend to be more expensive than your standard group tour. First time private tour people can feel uncomfortable at the thought of having a private guide as they won’t be able to pretend disinterest (in my experience this has never happened on one of my private tours).
Accommodation will be in whatever style you request so it could be a mix of budget hotel to luxury resort depending on your desires and dreams.
As an Adventure Consultant I plan, book and assist people to have the adventure they always dreamed about so if the cookie cutter standard tours don’t appeal then contact me for a free, no obligation call to discuss your ideas for a perfect holiday.
– With any of these tour options (except for private tours) be careful of paying a “single supplement”. This is a fee they sometimes impose on single travellers if they want their own accommodation or to be able to do an activity that requires a minimum of 2 people.
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I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.
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