Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu November 10 2016

The Best Way To Pick A Group Trip

Vacation Packages Exclusive Group Travel Kristina Rundquist November 10, 2016

The Best Way To Pick A Group Trip

For some intrepid travelers, group travel conjures up images of stuffy tour buses, early-bird specials and perhaps worst of all, being trapped for an extended amount of time with a bunch of total strangers with whom they have nothing in common. In a case of fact meets fiction, the modern group tour couldn’t be more different.

Today’s group tours have been designed not just around a destination, but around similar interests and come at a variety of price-points, assuring that travelers are with like-minded individuals interested in seeing the world at the same pace.

There are many reasons to go with a group. Cost for starters, as sharing food, transportation and accommodation expenses with a group can translate into deep discounts. What’s more, especially for solo travelers, the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals and make friends along the journey is a great opportunity.

Traveling with a group also can translate into exceptional experiences, including priority service and tours as well as access to hard-to-get-in places. Group tours make it easy. When traveling with an experienced tour guide, you can relax and enjoy the sights, rather than spend your time worrying about how to get to your next hotel or if you took the wrong train out of Berlin. And because so much is already included as part of your tour, group travel means you don’t have to spend your time calculating currency changes.

Once you’ve decided to go with a group, there are several points to keep in mind when selecting a tour with Exclusive Group Travel.

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1) What’s your style? Are you someone who likes to get out and experience a destination on foot or by bike, or would you rather take in the view from a luxury coach? Group tours offer a variety of activity levels, and it’s critical that prospective travelers take into account their fitness level and, just as importantly, their interest in being active. Another thing to consider is the tour’s focus. Is it on the destination itself? A particular activity? Or even a particular facet of culture, be it art, gastronomy or music? There’s a tour to suit every interest so pick wisely.

2) Timing is everything. When it comes to selecting a group tour, be sure to find one that aligns with your preference for free time versus sightseeing. Depending on the tour, you may have mostly full days of sightseeing or just a half day with the rest free to explore on your own. Again, select a tour that aligns as much as possible with your desired amount of free time.

3) Size matters. Small and large group tours have distinct–yet different–advantages. With small groups, everything goes faster starting with check-ins. Another plus, is that when traveling in a small group you’ll likely be traveling in a small bus or van, giving you access to the narrow streets and city centers that you just won’t get with large group tour buses. That said, large group tours tend to be more budget friendly.

4) Is it age-appropriate? While some groups will certainly attract a wide range of ages, there are some tour operators that target specific age groups be it millennials, families with young kids or the over-50 set. Plan accordingly.