posted by Guest blogger - Janice Waugh | 0 Comments
In this guest post from Janice Waugh of SoloTravelerBlog.com and The Traveler's Handbooks tells us how solo travel and doing a tour with a group can work. To keep up-to-date with Janice make sure to follow her on Twitter and like her page on Facebook.
Are you really travelling solo when you take a group tour? Some people say no but I say yes. At least, now I do.
Until last month, I was an independent solo traveller. And yes, I was a bit of a snob about it. I thought independent travel was much, much better than going in a group. But after travelling China for three weeks with a group of 14 travellers I have adjusted my thinking. Independent travel will continue to be my modus operandi but I now include group travel as an option.
I believe that what makes you a solo traveller is not that you travel absolutely alone but that you leave your friends and family behind. You see, friends and family define you in small ways every day. They have expectations of you. They impact the way you act, what you like, how you talk… Travel solo, whether independently or in a group, and you leave their influence behind. You step out and discover who you are when no one is looking.
So, the big question: is a tour group right for you? To decide, consider these issues:
1. Are you an inexperienced traveller?
If you are a travel newbie, if you haven’t travelled much with friends or family, maybe travelling solo and independently is not the way to start. By travelling with a group on your first trip you’ll learn through others how to navigate new places and manage in new cultures.
2. Are you going to a really challenging destination?
You may have travelled a fair amount but you want to go to a destination that is more challenging. You’re not sure how you’d make out. This is a great time to go with a tour group, whether for your whole trip or for the first week – the point being that it’s long enough that you become comfortable going solo.
3. Are you planning a long trip?
Long-term travel, whether for a GAP year or a career break, can be very demanding. As a solo traveller, you can become tired of figuring it all out on your own or simply want companionship for a while. You can become road weary. Planning a tour partway through your trip is a great solution.
4. Are you strapped for time?
Planning a trip takes time. If you don’t have the time to plan, let a tour company do it for you. Traveling solo and independently is usually slower than travelling with a group. A group leader knows how to get around efficiently. If you don’t have much time for your trip, again, a tour might be right for you.
5. Are you a naturally cautious person?
Some people don’t want to travel independently and risk getting lost or making a mistake. If this is you, then a tour is definitely your choice. However, I’d like to suggest that you take a couple of days at the end of your tour and enjoy your destination independently. Discover just how strong and capable you are. Bit by bit, you will grow in confidence and that confidence will carry over in your home life.
So, there you go: some circumstances when solo travel in a group definitely makes sense.
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