There’s an old poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” the final three lines of which speak to the importance of choice in travel and more generally in life.
The lines are as follows:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
For a traveller, you can think of the one road in the poem being the typical tourist route, the place where crowds are guaranteed and the landmarks will always come with another traveller (or 100) sharing the space with you. The other road is that place a little off the usual path, where you and a select few others can do something that not everyone has the pleasure of experiencing in life. A small group tour is a great way to go down the road less travelled by.
There are many advantages to small-group touring, not the least of which is the number of travellers in a given tour. The average small group has around 16 passengers, which can break down as several families or a tight-knit group of pairs travelling together. In a post-pandemic world where everyone has grown to be a little leery of crowds, a small group lets you share the world with like minded travellers, but without being overwhelmed by the sheer size of a given group. In this new world of travel, we foresee small-group touring becoming very popular, so we thought we’d break down some of its most obvious advantages.
What are the advantages of small-group touring?
You can go off the beaten path
Aside from the group size, part of the key appeal of a small-group tour is the ability to go where larger groups cannot. For instance, in Europe, many narrow city roads cannot accommodate a massive tour bus, but the more intimate touring coaches used by small-group tours can navigate down these roads, giving you access to spots that may go missed on the usual tourist circuit. If you want to visit a small town on a backroad in Italy or reach that remote part of a game park in East Africa that has roads too rough for a bus, a small group tour is the way to get there.
You get more time in each destination
You may not think about it, but the more people are on a given tour, the more time every little thing takes. Getting on and off the coach, getting through border checkpoints, checking into your accommodations, even ordering food in a restaurant—the more people, the more time you’ll spend in all the little moments between the actual touring and sightseeing. Thus, with a small-group tour, you have a smaller number of people, and thus more time to immerse yourself in a destination rather than spend extra time on all the in-between details. For example, on our Kenya Odyssey small-group tour, the drivers customize your game drives within the parks to ensure that you see specific animals requested by your group. Since your group is small, there’s a much greater chance there’s overlap in the animals you all want to see, and thus, more time in the actual park game viewing instead of trying to fit everyone’s pick in. Similarly, in Europe, you can have more time exploring the cobblestone streets and narrow lanes of the old town and less time trying to jockey for space alongside other coach tours or waiting an extra five minutes for that person who is always slowing everyone down.
You bond with your fellow travellers
This is another underrated aspect of going with a small group: you have a better chance to get to know the people you’re travelling with. It’s fun to be a part of a big tour and you will make friends on a traditional coach tour, but with a smaller number of fellow passengers, you’re going to have more of an opportunity to get to know people and really bond during your travels. After all the time spent indoors over the past year, we’re all craving the chance to spend time with others and share experiences outside of our homes. A small group tour is the perfect chance to do just that.
You stay in boutique accommodations and have more intimate dining experiences
Just as you will have more time in destination on a small-group tour, you’ll also stay at more boutique properties and accommodations, whether that means a game lodge with only eight safari tents or a family-run guesthouse in an European old town. Often, coach tours have to stay in the large chain hotels or accommodations near airports or train stations simply due to the number of rooms needed. But with a small group, you can stay in boutique hotels and guesthouses in more centralized locations, or alternately, more remote spots that get you closer to natural landmarks. As well, small groups can dine in restaurants that are not just main street destinations or spots that cater exclusively to tourists or large groups. Some restaurants simply cannot accommodate more than 20 guests in a single group, so on a small-group tour, you’re more likely to eat out at a spot frequented by locals or a place that many tours will miss out on. Again, the smaller the group, the more intimate the travel experience.
You can even travel in your own small group bubble
Part of the joy of a small-group tour is bonding with fellow travellers that you haven’t met before your tour, but you can also choose the members of your travel group on one of Goway’s own small group bubble vacations. These customized tours allow a group of like minded travellers, club members, or extended families and friends to explore the world in safety and style. All you need is a minimum of 10 passengers to form a group and Goway can customize the rest, taking you to popular spots such as Australia and Thailand or emerging destinations such as Ghana. Check out our Groups Only page to learn more about our small group bubble vacations.
There are many advantages to a small-group tour. For post-pandemic travel, these advantages only grow more appealing. Consider a small-group tour for your next vacation. It’s a great way to explore the world with people who love to travel as much as you do.
28 Jun 2021, 2:53 p.m.