London for Travel Backpackers

What Is It Like Traveling On A Group Tour? - A Travel Backpacker's Guide to Hassle-Free Travels With A Tour Group

Tour Groupees are travelers who prefer organized group tours when exploring new destinations. They also are one of the five main types of Travel Backpackers along with Digital Nomads, Backpacker Volunteers, Flash Packers, and Budget Packers. We write about these in many of our other blog posts such as : The Diverse World of Backpackers

Embarking on a journey to explore the world is an exciting prospect, and for Travel Backpackers, tour companies can be a game-changer. These companies promise hassle-free adventures, curated itineraries, and a chance to explore new destinations with like-minded individuals. Let's delve into how tour companies operate, what to expect when using one, and weigh the pros and cons of entrusting your travel plans to these seasoned professionals.

How Tour Companies Operate

Curated Itineraries: Tour companies are renowned for crafting meticulously planned itineraries that cater to the diverse interests of travelers. From historical landmarks to off-the-beaten-path gems, these itineraries are designed to offer a comprehensive and enjoyable experience. A tour company will know all the best places to see including the best rest stops along your journey. 

Logistics and Accommodations: One of the main advantages (probably my favorite part) of using a tour company is the seamless handling of logistics. From transportation to accommodations, tour companies take care of the nitty-gritty details, allowing travelers to focus on soaking in the experiences.

Expert Guides: Tour companies often provide knowledgeable and experienced guides who can offer insights into the local culture, history, and traditions. This enhances the overall travel experience, making it both informative and engaging.


    Advantages of Using a Tour Company

    Convenience: Having everything arranged for you is a major draw. Backpack Travellers can simply show up and enjoy the journey worrying about the details. I remember my tour in Egypt and having a representative from the tour company come past airport security to pick me up and help me with my immigration paperwork (white glove service here!).

    Safety and Security: Tour companies prioritize the safety of their clients. They often have emergency protocols in place and are well-versed in navigating potential challenges that may arise during the trip. Remember - there is safety just by numbers (being in a group) than just being on your own.

    Social Aspect: Backpack Travelling with a group can be a fantastic way to make new friends and share experiences. There are tour companies that cater to certain demographics. For example, you can find a tour group that wants to party as they travel Australia, you can find one that wants to bike around New Zealand, or if you are like me, perhaps a little bit of both. You can find like-minded individuals very easily.


      Downsides of Using a Tour Company

      Lack of Flexibility: The downside of a pre-planned itinerary is the lack of flexibility. If you are someone who enjoys spontaneity and exploring on your terms, a tour might feel too structured. Say you really enjoyed a certain city and wanted to stay longer, you simply can't.

      Cost: While tour packages can offer value for money, they may not always align with a tight budget. Some travelers may find that organizing their own trip allows for more cost-effective choices.

      Cookie-Cutter Experiences: With a set itinerary, there is a risk of experiencing destinations in a generic way, missing out on unique, personal encounters that come with independent exploration. Sometimes when you do research on a trip, you'll find the same exact itinerary being done by multiple tour companies (they all want to hit the highlights) and this definitely loses personal touch.



        Top Tour Companies for Solo Travel Backpackers - Which Tour Group Is Best?

        Best Experience: Exodus Travels was awarded the Best Tour Operator by National Geographic Traveler's Reader Awards. Primarily because the company works to curate trips that align with a number of the United Nations sustainable development goals including goals for responsible consumption and production, empowering local communities, and climate action considerations.

        Best Sustainable: G Adventures works with small, locally-owned hotels and operators to ensure your travel dollars benefit the community you’re visiting; outlines policies around child and animal welfare practices; aims to reduce single-use plastics, and works to ensure experiences taking place in Indigenous communities align with community goals.

        Best for Ages 30-50: Flash Pack always gets raving reviews by Backpack Travellers and I find their origin story intriguing. They were founded to help break down the stigma of being single in this age bracket. After the age of 30, it is often hard to find friends who are available to travel with and making new friends is just as difficult. As somebody is who is over 30 myself, I can completely relate to this. You want to see the world but you feel too young to be touring around with retirees and too old to be traveling with college students.

        Best for Ages 18-35: Contiki has a special place in my heart since this was my first tour company. They specialize in budget travel. Since their demographic is younger, they know how to incorporate a healthy balance of unique experiences, seeing the sites, and having a good time. 

        BONUS - There are many travel influencers that host their own group trips. They put a lot of thought into planning them and you'll be supporting an individual who is very passionate about travel and your wellbeing. Check out TrovaTrip or Plotpackers where a lot of their itineraries are posted to explore.


        My Personal Experience - Are Group Tours Worth It?

        I have been on a few tour groups (Vietnam, Egypt & Colombia). It was perfect for Vietnam because I had a strict 2-week vacation period and wanted to see the entire country. Vietnam is very-much developing and doesn't have the best infrastructure. Google what it looks like to cross a road in Vietnam and you'll see the struggles of trying to go from place-to-place. So a tour company really helped me with logistics. In regards to Egypt, I was worried about safety and also that I would miss out on the full ancient Egyptian history if I wasn't with professional tour guides. Lastly as for Colombia, I just wanted to meet new people and have a good time for a few days.

        You may ask yourself: do I need a backpack over a suitcase if I am going on a tour group? The answer isn't quite black and white. I think you really need to look at your itinerary. I could not image wheeling around a suitcase on either my Vietnam or Egypt tour groups. Both trips were so fast paced and you really had to get around. For example, in Vietnam they had us getting to new destinations by bike taxis, small river canoes on the Mekong Delta, and walking up large hills in the jungle to get to a homestay. Even if I did a tour group in Europe, I would never bring a suitcase through all those cobblestone roads.

        Choosing a tour company for your travel backpacking adventure is a decision that depends on your personal preferences and travel style. While tour companies offer convenience, safety, and the chance to forge new connections, they may not suit everyone. The key is to find a balance that allows you to explore the world in a way that aligns with your interests and values. Who says you couldn't join a tour group for part of your journey and then venture out on your own for another part?


        WRITTEN BY


        I’m Mark, the Founder of Generation Nomad, Avid Travel Backpacker & Digital Nomad. I am passionate about helping others discover the world through my experiences. I solo backpacked for months at a time, lived abroad, and even speak two foreign languages. Besides collaborating on the best lightweight travel accessories for Travel Backpackers, I also love sharing my travel photography.
        Favorite Trips: Spain, Egypt & Vietnam 
        Favorite Cuisines: Italian, Peruvian & Japanese
        Quote: “Be a circle and just roll with it” 
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