Whoever said travelling alone is not as good as having company, is clearly dumb. Although I have enjoyed fun trips with friends several times throughout the years, I can safely say group tours are the devil’s best friend. And it starts from the very beginning, when you’re extremely pumped about your new adventure and have to spend the precious energy getting to know people you will probably never see again in your life instead, who will otherwise ignore you for the rest of the trip making your time abroad absolutely miserable.
Now, I am all about getting to know people, and I love doing that while travelling more than anything. However, there is a distinct difference between meeting people on the road, or friendly locals who will show you around, and being thrown into a tightly-scheduled tour with people that you MUST get to know for fear of being cut out of the group. I just hate the pressure of having to get along with people and communicating with them, even at times where perhaps they just aren’t people you would normally connect with.
Secondly, although group tours can be useful to show you a country deeply, by including several spots of interest in the itinerary, it just won’t be the same as travelling on your own or even with your friends. Because it’s simply not possible to fully immerse yourself into a culture when you have limited time to spend there and are constantly surrounded by other travellers who are as clueless as you about the place. Chances are, you will all end up going to the same touristy spots and, when trying to reach local places to check out, you’ll immediately be labelled as the ‘tourist group’, where locals and other travellers will often be intimidated to approach you or will simply not be interested in it at all.
Thirdly, moving around in groups is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, especially if you are travelling in chaotic places. People will either get lost, want to do different things, or end up fighting because some people’s interests are prioritised over other people’s. And, if you’re like me, people will get offended when you fuck off on your own and go see what you want to see, labelling you as ‘antisocial’ for wanting to actually see what you came to see instead of tagging along the big group for the sake of social acceptance. Although I do understand it’s nice to be together and would definitely be more into it should time be infinite, since time schedules are usually quite tight I really do not have time to waste. Contextual example is my second trip to London, where I wanted to see so much but was stuck following a friend who wanted to exploit the occasion to go bloody shopping instead. For the sake of being nice, I wasted my opportunity and had to go a third time to see those things and, let me tell you, it was extremely frustrating. Hence, I tend not to do that anymore.
Despite all of these bad things, group tours aren’t all that bad. If you do have limited time and would like to see as much as possible, they are a good opportunity to hop onto a flight or bus without having to worry about getting tickets or organising each single day of the trip. Just follow your guide and know all the important stuff is getting covered so to say. And, it can be a fun experience to make friends on the road and never feel alone or find yourself lacking company to do stuff as a group. I tend to still venture on these sometimes and, I must say, they have been more than exhaustive in terms of touristic value.
However, despite these perks, I find myself preferring solo travelling most of the time, where I am not pressured into doing things, socialising with people I don’t connect with, or wasting my time over things I am not interested in. Plus, this all comes at costs which are usually higher than planning your own trip, so… do we really need it?
How about you? Have you ever been on a group tour, do you prefer them to regular travelling or are you more like me? Let me know!
I wish you all a beautiful day ❤️