Why choose a small group tour over doing it yourself?
By Chris Burns, Hop To It Tours
A common question that goes through most people’s heads when they travel is, Can I do this myself or should I jump on a tour? It is a valid question for various reasons:
It seems like it would be cheaper to do it yourself.
You should have more freedom doing it yourself.
You can plan your own timeline.
You won’t have the hassle of having to deal with annoying people.
These are all valid points but all can be dissected down to prove that they aren’t always the case.
For instance, is it generally cheaper? Yes, you don’t have to pay for a guide and for business profits but things such as travel expenses, accommodation and food costs can’t be shared. If you’re planning on driving long distances you pay for the whole tank of petrol and for the car hire rather than what a tour company does which is proportion it evenly over all the people going.
Freedom of doing it yourself and going on your own timeline can be a double-edged sword too. You don’t know the area like a guide does (or Google does) so you’ll make mistakes along your route. You have to do a lot of research to time things properly, have you done that? What if something goes wrong, like a flat tyre? You have to deal with that. Going on a small group tour means all of these things aren’t your concern; you have paid an expert to handle them.
Unfortunately dealing with annoying people is something you have to do in life, not just on tour. The benefits of a small group tour though is that you are travelling with likeminded people, after all they chose to do the same tour style as you, and thus are generally looking for the same experiences. Also no one wants an annoying group, they want the trip to be as fun as possible, so you generally find you all become friends rather than foes by the end, flipping that whole argument on its head!
Now that we’ve debunked the reasons why you should travel by yourself, let’s look at the best reasons for going on a small group tour:
You have an expert taking you through the region, showing you more than you would have seen yourself.
It is stress-free travel. You just have to worry about turning up on the first morning and then you know when it finishes. In between you sit back and let someone else worry about the itinerary.
You can travel in a style that wouldn’t have been practical by yourself. For instance, Hop To It Tours camp out under the stars, providing all the equipment and food. For you to do that yourselves you either have to buy or rent the equipment when you arrive in Melbourne, or carry it around on your entire trip.
You meet likeminded people. As discussed earlier, everyone that books a certain travel style are looking to do it for similar reasons. As such you have a much greater chance of getting along than randomly meeting people on the street (and if you’re shy it’s much easier to meet them!)
You don’t have to worry about the travel itself. No bus connections to worry about, no driving to do. You can sit back and relax whilst you travel from place to place.
So what kinds of people are best suited to small group travel?Really the answer is anybody, but if we’re being honest then there’s a distinct market for certain types of travellers. They are:
Single travellers or small travel parties.For all the reasons above small group tours are definitely catered towards those travelling alone. The main reason is getting to meet new people, travelling in the same region. It’s the same reason why single travellers generally stay in hostels not hotels. You want to meet people and travel with them, not be a hermit. Plus for single travellers it is very cost effective (generally cheaper) to go on a small group tour.
Travellers with time restraints.If you’ve only got a week off work to travel then a small group tour makes sense. You don’t have time to plan your trip too extensively and if things go wrong, you don’t have time to allow for delays. Jumping on a 5-day tour makes a lot of sense. You get a travel day either day (in our case you can see Melbourne then) and you know you’re going to experience as much as possible in between.
Travellers that want to experience something outside their comfort zone.Hop To It Tour’s example is – camping in the great outdoors can be daunting if you’ve never been before but it’s an experience that you have to try (particularly in Australia). Going with an expert can give you good piece of mind and also the confidence to try it yourself next time, as you’ll learn from the experience.
Anyone wanting to meet new people.Small group tours are an excellent way of meeting people from different countries and cultures that share similar beliefs and desires. Especially picking a tour that has a particular style (like camping) will mean that likeminded people choose it.
Anyone wanting to have fun.Having a good size (but not too large) group means you can travel quickly and spend more time at each place. Plus when you arrive at camp or at the beach and have free time it’s easy to organise fun games such as cards, board games or ball sports. Furthermore there are enough people on tour that you don’t have to feel compelled to join in if you want some quiet time.
These are just a few reasons to choose a small group tour when you travel. The last suggestion we have for you is:
Pick one that goes for a good amount of time as you’ll actually do things rather than sit on a bus all day
Pick one that has a certain travel style as it helps guarantee likeminded travellers.
Don’t necessarily look for the cheapest option (they quite often have few inclusions or hidden costs). Instead read through the itinerary and work out what feels like value for money based on what you want.