Joining a like-minded small group tour can really enhance your travel experience and grant you access to sights and activities that you may otherwise miss as an independent traveller.
Unless you have the time and inclination to plan every single meal, hotel and sightseeing stop, then a fully organised guided tour is for you.
Hang out with like-minded travellers
Do plenty of research prior to booking a tour to make sure you get the right tour for your age, interests and activity levels. Most organised tours will be a ‘catch-all’ so if you want something out of the ordinary, you’ll need to find a specialist that can cater to your precise requirements, whether it’s hiking for several hours a day or exploring weird and wonderful museums, there’s a trip out there to satisfy your cravings. And the best thing about being amongst your peers is the sense of camaraderie – you’ll be more likely to try that obscure activity; ostrich racing anyone?
Strike the right touring v free-time balance
A guided tour should offer the right balance of sightseeing coupled with free time. Again you can tailor the itinerary to suit your needs, whether you fancy a packed daily schedule or you want hours or even days to yourself in particular locations.
Don’t forget to add side trips
Check out the extra trips that are available along your journey. Even with the most comprehensive tours there’ll be the more extravagant experiences that you can add in, such as a helicopter ride over the magnificent Hog Kong skyline or a hot air balloon adventure over the stunning Serengeti. This also applies to restaurants and bars along your route – if you have a craving for a certain dish or cocktail, then do your research!
Quiz your tour guide
Your tour leader can offer a real insider’s view of your destination – after all, that’s why they were hired! Whether you’re looking to find the perfect walking trail, want recommendations on a shop that sells local crafts or want to find an eatery that specialises in vegetarian food; they’re there to help you. Take your tour guide’s card so you have access to their contact numbers, just in case.
Cut the cost of exploring
As part of a small group, you’ll save money on the actual tour as the costs of the bus, driver and guide are shared. In fact it can work out significantly cheaper than joining a private tour. Make sure you know exactly what’s included and keep your eye on the time as companies aren’t obligated to wait for you should you get waylaid by that must-see shop.
Travel in safety
Travelling in a small group can offer a greater element of safety, compared to exploring independently. For one, all your transport is arranged, so there’s no more trying to flag down taxis who turn out to be dodgy - gem store stop-off anyone?! Its safety in number, particularly as far as scam artists or pickpockets are concerned, especially if you have a tour member with Taekwondo experience.