The advantage of booking an organised tour as a single traveler is that everything is organised for you. It’s also more reassuring to travel with a group, you can meet like minded people and often the cost can be cheaper than making the same arrangements yourself.
But make sure you book your organised tour with the right company or tour operator. With so many organise tours out there, all catering to different people, interests and budgets, you need to get clear on what you want.
But first, read these common misconceptions about taking an organised tour and discover why they are rarely true.
- I won’t like others in the group
You can now find organised tour operators that specialise in certain age groups and even ones that are exclusively for single travellers.
Furthermore, the clearer you are about the theme of the tour, the more likely you will find like-minded people in your group and the easier it is to find the right tour operator. Do you want to visit a particular country, focus on a particular activity (eg cycling) or want to explore a passion of yours (e.g. cuisine in Italy). Some organised tour operators also have a forum on their website where others already booked on the tour have posted notes.
A final tip is that if you leave your booking till nearer departure date, you can ask the sales person about the profile of others already on the group (although don’t leave it too late as you might miss out!)
- Aren’t tours just for old people?
Not anymore! These days there are organised tours specialising in different age groups – including the younger end of the market aged 18-35 years. Others are aimed at women of all ages and backgrounds as well as solo travellers. Decide if you would like to be with people of a similar age or if you would be happy with a mixed age group. Or perhaps you don’t mind so much about age, but would prefer to travel in a group along special interests or a theme?
- Aren’t organised tours more expensive than independent travel?
Although this may be the case it is more likely the organised tour will be cheaper – as the Operator can negotiate bulk deals with the hotel and transport providers. And you will get the expertise of a guide/escort and the ease of budgeting with an upfront cost. Why not break down the cost of the holiday to a per- day rate and compare to see if you could do it cheaper yourself…
- Wouldn’t I have to stick to a rigid schedule?
Some tours do have a busy and fixed schedule to get the most out of a destination. However, many Operators now realise that travellers value free time and some flexibility and are building these into the itineraries. For example, some offer two night (rather than one night) stays in selected cities. Others offer 2 or 3 nights within the tour where you can do as you please. Alternatively, you can always bolt on 2 or 3 days to the tour to do your own thing.
- Tour groups are always large and lack a personal touch
There are now many Operators that specialise in smaller groups, some as few as 10 travellers – although you may have to pay a bit more for the privilege.
- If coach travel is involved – isn’t it cramped and uncomfortable?
Many organised tours do not involve coach transportation but of the ones that do, most offer a new breed of coaches that offer increased legroom, reclining seats, personal air-conditioning and other mod-cons. They are much more comfortable than coaches of yesteryear!