When you want to explore the world, one question that pops up in your head is whether you want to solo backpack, travel with a few of your best friends, or travel with a group. My first grand trip was to Europe with a group called People to People, and there were definitely some pros and cons of traveling with thirty people. To help you make your decision on who will or will not accompany you, here are pros and cons of traveling with a group.
It’s a great way to make friends
This is the number one thing that you will gain (besides seeing your favorite places) when traveling with a group. Before I traveled with my group, we had little seminars to meet everyone. It was still awkward, but once I sat down on the plane on my way to Paris next to a girl my age, I knew it was going to be great. Turns out, to this day I am still in contact with her, and I met up with her at a café last week to catch up. It’s truly amazing to meet people that share your same passions, who knows, maybe they will be future travel buddies! If you’re shy, do NOT worry. There are excursion guides and mentors there for a reason: to push you out of your comfort zone and socialize with people in the activities. Another way that I made more friends was by rooming with them in the hostels and hotels. We were assigned roommates (pro or con, in your opinion), so the first night in Paris, I stayed up all night talking to the girl I was assigned with. If you want that social experience, to have memories including people you never thought you would meet, and to still be in contact with them, then traveling in a group would be a perfect thing for you.
It can hold you back from diving into the real culture
Although it is a great way to travel, a lot of traveling groups mostly focus on the main attractions, the tourist hotspots. I know that travelers do want to see those sights, but they may also want to experience the local’s favorite restaurants and the town they live in. I wish I had been able to experience more of the culture and less of the tourist attractions. If you are extremely interested in really getting to know the town, then maybe traveling with a group isn’t the best option for you.
Traveling with a group is a good beginner’s guide to traveling
Whether you’re traveling with an organization, or even studying abroad, it is an amazing platform to get you started to travel. People to People definitely got me out of my comfort zone and made me think of where I want to travel next. I think it’s a great way to start off your traveling journey, because, let’s face it: planning your first trip can be extremely stressful. Having to just book the group travel and follow an itinerary can be a useful way to get started with traveling, or traveling in new places.
Yizhou Pan, New Zealand
This can be a pro or a con, whatever your preference is. Sometimes, we want to make a change of plans and stay an extra few days in a particular area before traveling to another place. The group traveling is on a strict schedule to get from one place to the next. I personally enjoy having a looser schedule so I can get a chance to do whatever I want. But, some people like having a structured routine. If that’s you, then you may want to consider traveling with a group.
It’s a memorable time
Traveling with a group of people will give you an experience you never thought you would get. You will meet people all over the world wanting to travel, and you’re with them the entire time. Nonetheless, you are traveling. And that’s what matters, right? I have a photo album with a million of pictures and ticket stubs from France, England, Wales and Ireland. What was very unexpected was that the entire trip was drama-free. Everyone wanted to travel and have a great time.
All in all, it depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to get away from the popular tourist sights? Do you just want to travel, but not want to get stressed about making an itinerary? I honestly did enjoy traveling with a group. It had its ups and downs, but I personally was grateful that the group I traveled with was my first traveling experience, because it opened my eyes on how to plan my next journey. I would not have wanted it a different way for me.