For a myriad of reasons, we sometimes find ourselves wanting to travel but cannot find a partner or friend willing or able to go with us. I found this idea daunting when as a university student I decided to travel to England and Europe. For the majority of my time abroad, I was going to be with other students from four different universities, but for the first two weeks and the last week I was going to be on my own. While I managed the time on my own just fine, what I discovered was that my interaction with others added so much more to my experience. Even thought I was only 20 at the time, I knew I was a group travel convert at this young age. Now, many years later I like group travel for the same reasons.
Every time I board the Wells Gray Tours motorcoach, I wonder who I will connect with on the trip. I have that learned it is okay if I don’t connect with every traveller on the tour. We all come from different backgrounds, have different interests and different expectations from each tour experience. What we do all have in common is a sense of adventure and a need to explore the world we live in and that, itself builds a bond.
While solo travel may offer the individual traveller more flexibility, I am convinced the reasons for group travel are hard to ignore.
Convenience: I like the idea that the research on the destination, attractions, accommodations and transportation are all arranged by a knowledgeable professional. I am not interested in spending hours researching hotels online, so relying on a professional saves a lot of time.
Education: Learning for me is a valuable component of any trip and being able to share what I have learned with fellow travellers adds meaning and fun to my overall experience. I learn so much from fellow passengers as they often ask questions that I may not have thought of.
Safety: My Mom always used to tell me, that there was “safety in numbers”. Group travel provides a safety net should the unforeseen happen, it lessens the risk of getting lost or being the target of petty crimes.
Groups have more buying power: Group operators often get preferential treatment, ranging from priority check-in on cruises or airlines to being able to access special behind-the-scenes tours not offered to individual travellers.
Sharing the travel Experience: Travelling with like mind people with similar interests in a destination enhances the travel experience. Sharing travel experiences can expand the possibilities of travelling to destinations I had not thought of, or may have had reservations about visiting. Listening to my fellow travellers talk about their hands on knowledge of a particular destination or attraction such as zip-lining or kayaking may be just the nudge I need to try something new.
New Friendship: Friendships are meaningful regardless of how they come about. It doesn’t matter how old someone is or the demographics of any group, just make sure you to take the time to meet everyone. Each person you meet will provide something that will expand your view and life experience. Most of all, be open to new friendships and the possibilities that await you.