We hear them all the time–there are a lot of stereotypes surrounding group travel. But in actuality, group travel can be an extremely rewarding (and smart!) option for all types of travelers to set out and experience the world. In fact, one of our very favorite things to hear from past travelers is that we’ve changed their minds on what a group tour can be (and we hear that a lot!). Still not convinced about why a group tour is right for you? Here are some of the group travel stereotypes we’ve heard along the way, and what makes a Go Ahead tour so different.
Myth: You’ll be led around like cattle.
Harsh—but true for some tour companies, where the Tour Directors lead groups by waving a huge umbrella. Instead, with Go Ahead, when you’re at a crowded spot and your Tour Director or local guide is out of conversational earshot, we use what we call “whispers.” These pocket-sized devices are each equipped with one earphone, allowing your guide to speak into a microphone so you can hear the info directly in your whisper. You can control the volume and wander around as you please, still able to enjoy listening to every piece of information without anyone having to yell or squish themselves into a group.
Myth: There’s no free time.
We know that a great vacation is different for everyone, so our tours let you have the flexibility to decide what’s most important for you to see and do. A Go Ahead tour balances planned sightseeings with plenty of free time, so you can choose to do as much or as little with the group as you’d like. Typically, each time you visit a new city you’ll have a chance to take a guided sightseeing tour with your group, which gives you the lay of the land so you’re better equipped to explore later on your own. You can choose to add an excursion on free afternoons or evenings, which often brings you outside of the city or allows you to experience something totally new, like a tasting at a Tuscan olive oil farm or a private dinner cruise on the Seine. Throughout the trip, a few included group dinners allow you to reconnect with your group and share your experiences as the journey continues, but participation is never required for anything. It’s your tour, after all!
Myth: There won’t be anyone your age on tour.
Group travel is suited for everyone, which means there’s always a variety of ages in the group. In fact, the minimum age for our travelers is six; from multi-generational families and solo travelers to couples celebrating an anniversary, you’ll meet and travel with people from all over the country with a mix of ages, backgrounds, and personal interests. But while everyone might be coming from a different place, travelers on a group tour do have one very important thing in common: a love of travel and a thirst to see the world. You’ll be surprised at how many new friends you’ll meet on tour, no matter the age.
Myth: It’s easier to plan it on your own.
For English-speaking countries (primarily in Europe), sure, you can plan a trip on your own and get around just fine. But going with a group ensures you’ll have access to things you might not have on your own, and it alleviates a lot of the stress and logistical know-how you’d be responsible for if you tried to organize it yourself. On a Go Ahead tour, we can arrange transfers to and from the airport, which saves you the hassle of finding transportation when you arrive jet-lagged at your destination. You also have the benefit of a Tour Director, who can provide expert, local suggestions on everything you might want to do (and even how to get there). Transportation, accommodations, and some meals are also included, which lets you sit back and enjoy the experience of visiting a new (or favorite) destination without having to worry about whether it’s the best place to be.
Myth: You’ll get a cookie-cutter tour experience.
Let’s be honest: group tours do get this rep, but we pride ourselves in putting together unique travel experiences that help travelers truly connect to local culture. In fact, Go Ahead is a part of EF Education First, which was founded on the belief that the best way to learn about the world is to experience it firsthand. Our team handcrafts each itinerary with this get-close-to-culture mantra in mind. We design itineraries so you can count on seeing the highlights that often inspire travel in the first place, but we also weave in special cultural moments that showcase what life is all about in that destination, like a wine tasting in an atmospheric wine cellar in France’s Dordogne Valley, a home-hosted dinner with a Kiwi family in New Zealand, or a traditional green tea ceremony at a classic Kyoto tea house in Japan.
How has your perspective changed since traveling on a group tour? Share your story in the comments!