The Pros + Cons of Group Travel and Organized Experiences
Before I departed on my Colombia trip Andy said to me “so what’s on the itinerary?” to which I laughed and said “funny, I really only glanced at it but I’m sure it will be great!” Talk about one of the perks of participating in group travel. It seems like many of my recent trips have been of the group type.** These are not like our parent’s or grandparent’s “travel agent” itineraries but rather companies that have come together to build immersive experiences for a new age traveler. A traveler that craves learning about—and immersing themselves in— varied cultures while also supporting local communities through responsible tourism.
There are definitely pros and cons to group experiences vs. planning individual trips. Since a lot of you have had some Qs about it I decided to put together a post that will hopefully break it down. Btw, the two organization that create group travel experiences that I can vouch for are Kin Travel + El Camino. Keep scrolling for my pros and cons list:
Everything is PLANNED for you to the T.
Pros: This really takes all the stress and time out of researching, coordinating, and booking individual excursions and tours. If you’re the kind of person who gets overwhelmed by ALL the options at your potential destination I cannot suggest this route enough.
For the two companies I’ve traveled with - even if you wanted to create the same itinerary on your own it’s nearly impossible. Both groups have created bespoke itineraries with exclusive activities. They rely on trusted experts with local connections to bring unique opportunities that you really can’t get elsewhere.
Cons: (sort of) the itineraries are usually jam packed and don’t leave much room for free time/exploration. Of course, all activities are OPTIONAL and you can opt out at anytime but you also want to make the most of your limited time there. I have often felt like I needed to add a day or two for myself after every trip to have a little more time to explore and roam on my own. Think you’re going to have some downtime to catch up on work or read a book? Yeah, not on these trips.
A BANG for the Buck
Pros: Most trips are 100% all inclusive outside of gratuities. I’ll be honest, I haven’t priced out every portion of a trip to compare it to planning one myself but I feel confident in saying that you really couldn’t do it for less than what you pay for with one of these group situation, especially my recent trip to Africa.
No cons here!
The GROUP Aspect
Pro: I’ve found that these trips draw like minded people that have a sense of adventure and craving for exploration. For someone in their 30s+ it’s a great way to meet people outside of your existing friend groups or work place. I’ve met some incredible people on these trips. Two gals I met in Haiti came on my recent Colombia trip and we’re all meeting up in Portland later this summer for a girl’s getaway.
You typically walk away from the trip with a new family. It’s crazy how exploring for 7 - 9 days with strangers can build such a quick bond. Btw, having an extended network in all parts of the world can definitely have it’s perks!
For women, I especially feel like this is an incredible way to explore, meet new people, and feel safe and confident while traveling by yourself.
Cons: It’s a lot of socialization! TBH - for someone like myself that works from home, I typically don’t interact with large amounts of people on a daily basis. Add this to the intense itinerary and I end up coming home from these trips totally exhausted and in need of a little me time.
You’re not going to become bffs with everyone. I’ve been on trips where there’s just certain people you don’t vibe with. It’s not a trip ruiner, just something to keeping mind.
Does it only make sense to do these kinds of trips if you’re single?
Heck no. I’ve been on plenty of trips with gals and guys who are dating someone seriously or married and decide to adventure on their own. I truly love this aspect!
Should I bring my S.O. or go alone?
This really depends on the itinerary, your S.O. , and what you’re looking to get out of the trip. These kinds of trips are very social/group heavy, so if you’re looking for something super romantic then I would say no. If you’ve been together a long time and just want to explore a new place, meet new people, and have someone plan everything for you then YES, it’s a great way to travel as a couple.
Are all expenses included?
I can’t speak for all group trips but with Kin Travel + El Camino: accommodations, most food + beverages, and excursions are included. You need to cover flights and transportation from said trip location to your home base.
Let me know if you have any other Qs in the comment below or via DM on IG (everydaypursuits). So happy to help especially if it puts you at ease about embarking on a group adventure. xo - Ashley