This summer while Rochelle flew to Europe on her own(!), I headed to Spain with a group of 49 people. To say that Rochelle’s and my experiences were different would be an understatement, not only because we visited completely different countries but mainly because solo vs group travel has so many pros and cons attached to them. Rochelle also has a 3 post series (you can check the first two posts here), today I am sharing with you my time in Spain and some hefty tips I picked up along the way.
Although group travel is fun and entertaining, it can also be inefficient. This summer I travelled with my dance group to Spain to perform in Barcelona and Lloret de Mar meaning that I was surrounded by familiar faces and I was bound to enjoy all the company. Unlike Rochelle who had a harder time convincing her family and friends that solo travel was happening regardless, my family was eager to have Canadian-Ukrainian representation in Spain. Furthermore, although its a big group of people, everyone has a warm group of friends surrounding them with similar interests so it never really feels like you are being dragged around.
While with solo travel you are planning for one person, meaning that you can get your tickets 8 months in advance, book multiple layovers, and generally save money, this is not the case in a group scenario. You may get group rate discounts but the savings do not always balance out solo travel savings, especially when your group takes up half the plane seating. Keep in mind though, that if it is a large enough group, you might get “VIP treatment.” To give you an example, we had 49 persons travelling so when we took a yacht trip, we had the whole yacht to ourselves because of the size of our group. However, I did have an immense peace of mind as everything, literally everything was booked for me, even the excursions. Needless to say, I had no use for the travel books I had taken out of the library.
Following Rochelle’s post format, I was also not scared of group travel because traveling in a group is a cushiony experience where “one for all and all for one.” However, I also cannot leave out some major downsides. Because you are in a foreign country, in a non-English speaking environment, you are asked to always stick together which is reasonable. This becomes an issue if everyone’s interests of where to go, what to eat, or where to shop don’t intersect. You are also less likely to get the full experience of seeing every corner of the city as a coach bus is most likely taking you to your destinations. Generally, you miss out on walks in the city, discovering a cute market or boutique, and experiencing the city first hand. You are also less likely to see everything you were wanting to see.
Although group travel is tough and a lot of scheduling goes into it, I would not change the experience that I had. Not only was I able to share memories with some amazing people but I also had no need for a selfie stick… We loved the experience of looking at photos from the trip and laughing at our derp faces. Its great being able to share in the experience with someone else who will understand the inside jokes and remember the time you had. All jokes aside, when the touring part ends and you are all in the hotel, its fun having company to hang out with and go on adventures with during your “free time.”
So here you have it! Some pros and cons of group travel. Let us know if you are planning on traveling anywhere and wether you prefer group or solo travel.
Looking forward to your replies!