For us, this has been an ever-recurring question and opinions are divided about the subject.
Should you travel with a guided tour or would you rather travel solo?
We have put the pro’s and con’s together and make a list of the differences.
Guided Tour Specifics
Travel in guided tours offers a lot of advantages, especially if you like hassle-free travel and the comfort of being in a group.
We’ve used a variety of international travel agencies and decided on which one we like best.
So whenever we decide on traveling with group tours, we always choose G Adventures.
G Adventures offer a variety of possibilities and budget categories and they also have quite a few great last minute deals. And luckily, there is an abundance of options when choosing guided tours.
Keep reading to find out!
1. Guided tours see more in a short time
If you’re short on time or you only have a few days of holidays to consume, group tours might be the best choice. Guided tours with an international travel agency like G-Adventures will have a full itinerary and these group tours make it possible to see an entire country in just a week.
- With a clear itinerary, you’ll know exactly what to expect and see how many free days are scheduled during your trip.
- The times we traveled with group tours, we saw so many points of interest in just a few days. It would have been possible to see as much on our own as we did with the group, but it would have been very difficult.
- Guided tours have the advantage of repetition and private transportation for the entire group, so there will be no waiting for buses and scavenger hunts for the right accommodation.
2. Guided tours offer a fixed itinerary
- A fixed itinerary is a blessing when you’re short on time. Travel agencies have taken their time to establish the perfect itinerary in the perfect amount of days.
- You’ll be sure to see all the highlights and beauty of a destination quickly and organized.
- As a bonus, most group tours plan free days for you to explore places on your own. Some days will be open for you to choose the activity you like best.
3. Security with a guided tour
- Many solo travelers choose for traveling with a group for security and comfort reasons. If traveling on your own scares you or you don’t like to think about wandering the world on your own, group tours offer the perfect solution.
- You will be surrounded with other travelers from your group and instead of finding everything on your own, you will have someone to stand by your side.
- Not only solo travelers prefer the safety of a group and guided tours are perfect for couples as well.
4. Hassle-free travel
Guided tours are an easy solution to travel hassle-free.
You don’t feel like finding good lodging or planning an entire itinerary?
- Guided tours with an international travel agency have it all figured out for you. They take care of bookings and transportation, while you can go along and enjoy the scenery without having to take care of the extra stuff.
- With a guided tour, you’ll never have to wonder if you will find a decent bed for the night or if the hostel you booked will be good. Group tours are a secure and hassle-free travel solution.
5. Meet new friends in guided tours
- Tour groups are the best place to meet new friends for life. The bond you create with other people while traveling is very different from the bond you get with people you meet at home.
- Being away from home on an amazing adventure takes you a little out of your comfort zone and to be able to share this with other people is superb.
- Specialized group tour packages put you into a group of like-minded people and you’ll have a few great new friends by the time you get back home.
What kind of group tours are there?
1. Small group tours
- Small group tours are immensely popular lately and there’s a good reason for that. Nobody wants to travel in a massive group. Big groups aren’t very cozy and it’s difficult to really connect with fifty other travelers.
- With a group varying from 6 to 20 people, you’ll have a chance to meet everyone and talk to everyone.
- traveling like this is very comfortable and assures a better travel experience.
2. Singles group tours
- Singles group tours focus on single travelers and the great part about that is that you can meet a lot of new friends.
- There are no couples to make you feel lonely and all the other travelers could be the next big thing. You never know you might meet the love of your life while traveling through the African desert.
- It is a great way of meeting people in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
3. Women travel groups
- Some travel agencies focus on women travel groups, so especially for women.
- These group tours offer a specialty type of travel that many women are looking for.
- If you enjoy being around just women to explore new territory, women travel groups are the next big thing.
- Check out this awesome list of 25 women travel groups we curated for you!
- Check out our post about lesbian travel groups to find your next adventure!
4. Guided tour packages
- G Adventures offers a wide variety of specialty tour packages, like travel by rail, travel by boat, and photography tours. They even offer the National geographic experience which means you’ll get the best accommodation and the coolest inside information and excursions.
- Depending on your travel style or hobbies, specialty trips might give you that little extra you were looking for. Always check if the travel agency offers specialized tour packages before booking.
5. Budget options with guided tours
- Tour groups and tour packages are available in every budget category.
- You can either choose to travel like a local or to travel in luxury, depending on your budget.
- We like to check for last minute deals and promotions with G Adventures and that’s exactly how we got a great deal on our trip to China.
- You can check current promotions and specials here!
Independent Travel Specifics
Independent travel has the power to make you feel invincible for conquering small and great issues, but it can also leave you feeling alone and small.
I’ve heard so many people tell us that traveling solo makes you a stronger person and the people you meet will leave deep impressions on you.
We’ve always traveled as a couple and that is a completely different thing. With independent travel, we mean solo travel, as well as couple travel, and this post is mostly about the fact that you’re not traveling with a guided tour group.
Finding your own pace and way in travel is a valuable thing and we love traveling independent a lot.
1. Independent travel can be very cheap
- Independent travel allows you to set your own dates and book flights on the cheapest date. Of course, this all depends on the amount of time you have.
- If you have time to spare, it’s also cheaper to stay in one place longer. Many hostels offer a fourth or fifth night for free if you ask about it. Read our bargaining tips for backpackers.
- It allows you to choose the cheaper hostels and to take your time to sort out the prices of accommodation and transportation: the most expensive aspects of travel.
- It also allows you to get accommodation like Airbnb and get discounts on that as well!
2. Travel at your own pace
- For the slow travelers, there is a massive difference between the fast-paced group tours and your own relaxed pace.
- Guided tour groups often require you to get out of bed at 5 AM and be on the tour bus at 6 AM.
- Independent travel is free and you can do whatever you want to.
3. Change your itinerary at will
- This is probably our favorite! Even if we make an itinerary, we never stick to it. We love ditching our itinerary and the set itinerary only serves for us to do a little research on our destination, but in the end, we just do whatever we like.
- If a city or town is just too cute, we stay a few more days. And often a destination is nothing like what you were expecting and when traveling independently, you can just move on.
- It happens quite a lot that we meet other travelers in a hostel and start traveling together.
- People might go to a different destination you never heard about and that sounds cool… just ditch the itinerary!
4. Meet new friends in hostels
- As you meet new friends in tour groups, hostels have a similar effect on people. In hostels, you share the kitchen and communal spaces, which is perfect for meeting people and connecting. We’ve met some of our best friends in hostels and we traveled with our new friends many times.
- You’ll get to know people on a different level once you’re out of your home base and I believe travel friendships are quite special.
5. Sense of accomplishment
Traveling on your own can make you feel very satisfied with your accomplishment. Even if dozens of people have asked you why you would travel alone instead of with the security of a tour group, you’ll feel that traveling on your own is perfectly possible. You’ll feel great about what you’ve achieved and learned along the way.
Keep reading about the things you learn on the road and about the feeling of achievement you’ll get when traveling on your own.
6. Stay at the lodging you like best
- Choosing your own lodging might be the best thing about traveling independently.
- Choosing lodging while on a budget has a steep learning curve and you’ll definitely end up in a few dodgy places, but you’ll learn how to choose the best accommodation for the best price after a little while.
- Of course, you can always use platforms like housesitting or Airbnb!
Conclusion group travel VS independent travel
As you can read, group travel and independent travel are very different and you will know if solo travel is for you when you try it.
We’ve put the specifics in this post, but we can never catch the feeling of being surrounded by an awesome group or the feeling of meeting your future best friends in a hostel at the end of the world.
Travel has the power to take people to a different level and it can make you a new person with an open view of the world.
Whatever option you like best, our most precious advice is to just travel. If you’re scared to travel because you don’t want to travel on your own, join a group!
Explore the world!