Find out what you should consider when choosing a tour group for your next holiday adventure. Discover what to look for to get the best holiday experience for you.
How to Find the Best Group Travel Tours
Travelling within a tour group can provide benefits for every kind of traveller.
Whether you are seeking an adventure, cultural immersion or just want to explore new places at a leisurely pace, there’ll be a group travel tour out there to suit your travelling style and budget. Here are some important things to keep in mind when selecting a group travel tour .
The world is your oyster
If you don’t already have a destination in mind, start with whittling down your bucket list. Where have you always wanted to go, do, see? If you need some inspiration, ask friends for recommendations, google tour destinations, check out independent review sites and perhaps pick up a couple of brochures from your local travel agent. Try not to get too bogged down in the research, but have a couple of destinations in mind before you visit your travel agent so they can give you some alternative trip options and costs…because in the end that might sway your decision.
“Canada, United Kingdom and Europe, especially European River Cruises are all very popular tours.”
Many larger tour operators like City Discovery and Peregrine run tours around the world that can range from 8 days to 21 days or more. Before you commit, you need to think about budget, as longer tours will of course be more expensive, but also think about how long you’d like to get away for and how much you’d like to fit in. A longer tour will generally cover off different regions within a country or even several countries. A shorter tour may just focus on one region. If it’s your first tour, perhaps better to go with the shorter option to see if it’s for you.
Also keep in mind, tours often start towards the end of the first day and finish the morning of the last day so a 10 day tour in reality will only be 8 days, so check the itinerary.
Finally think about any travel required to get to the starting point of your tour and build that into your overall trip – and make sure you give yourself a little time to recover from Jet lag before embarking on the tour.
Many people get put off by the amount of money tours cost and may be tempted to book the smaller, cheaper tour options. However, going on a large multi-day tour could save you money overall and that old adage can certainly ring true – you get what you pay for. A cheaper trip may not include a lot in terms of sights or activities – and your mode of transport and accommodation will be reflected in the price! Ultimately we recommend reading the small print to ensure you understand what exactly is included, in the price, as some tours are not all-inclusive.
To work out in real terms how good value the tour is really offering, work out how much you would like to spend each day (include food, accommodation, travel, activities and shopping allowance). Be as honest with yourself as possible here. Then multiply this number by the number of days you want to be on the tour. This gives you a benchmark to compare tour prices.
When it comes to included accommodation, check whether you are getting the right level of comfort that you would want if you were travelling independently. You wouldn’t want to join a tour group that checks you into a hostel if you’re accustomed to higher end hotels, so ensure the accommodation included matches your expectations!
When it comes to pre-booking optional activities, it might be worth holding off until you get there and decide on the day how you feel (you could also try to find a better deal yourself for some day excursions) – as of course, commission will be built into the tour prices – however don’t forget, you’re on holiday, so if the price seems reasonable don’t make extra work for yourself, go with the easier option.
Tour companies like Intrepid have easily grouped their tours into levels of comfort and expense, making it easy to find the right accommodation and the right number of included activities.
Finally, you could save some dollars by not booking pre-and-post-trip accommodation through your tour company. It’s generally always cheaper to book additional accommodation directly with a hotel or through a booking site. The same goes for airport transfers.
Tour Group Sizes
Tour sizes can vary massively. Some can have up to 50 people, while others can be no more than 9 and will offer a more intimate experience – decide which scenario you’re likely to be more comfortable with and be open-minded, a larger tour will have the benefit of meeting lots of new faces. So equally make sure you’re choosing a tour that caters for likeminded people in a similar age range to yourself so you’re amongst peers.
Certain companies like TopDeck and Contiki cater for large groups of young adults and often have a party-vibe about them. Other tour companies provide a more relaxed pace that is more suitable for seniors, such as SeniorTours.
Just as importantly as the above, check out the tour activities and itinerary. If you are looking for a slow-paced holiday where you can explore the local culture in depth, then it’s probably not a good idea to go on a 7 day whistle-stop tour. Choose a tour that lets you have the kind of holiday that you and your travel companions are looking for, e.g. some tour companies provide a more relaxed pace that is more suitable for seniors, such as SeniorTours.
Many of the larger travel companies offer a variety of tours to suit almost every kind of traveller. However, there are some smaller companies that are experts in creating holidays based around their speciality. For example, Andante Travels use archaeologist guides to take holiday makers on a rich tour of the history and culture of a region. Arblaster & Clarke design holidays that tour around famous wine regions like Champagne, France and Tuscany, Italy.
We hope this article helps you decide what you’d like from a tour holiday. And don’t forget, if you’ve booked a tour, consider buying your travel insurance as soon as you start paying deposits on it so you can have cover in place for unexpected cancellation related events. Go online or call us on 1300 1300 50 to get a quote today.*
Insurance and Membership Services Limited ABN 59 057 159 743, AR No 246235 trading as COTA Insurance, is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services Pty Limited ABN 81 115 932 173, AFS Licence No. 308461 and only provides general advice which means you should consider if it is suitable for your needs. Before deciding to purchase the product, please read the Product Disclosure Statement available at https://cota.we.com.au/. This insurance is underwritten by XL Insurance company SE, Australia branch (ABN 36 083 570 441).