Group Travel vs Solo Travel. Which One Is Right For You

by | Aug 11, 2019 | Live Work Play Travel, Solo Travel, Travelling, Trip Planning | 8 comments

There are plenty of decisions to make when it comes to travel. Where will I go? How long will I go for? How much will it cost? These questions can be hard to answer particularly for a first time traveller. And another important decision is will you choose group travel or solo travel? A group could be with a group of friends or on a group tour. Or will you head off into the unknown on your own? There are pros and cons to both types of travel. I have done both myself, and I enjoyed both for different reasons. Here is my take on group travel vs solo travel to help you choose which type of travel may suit you.

Please note, I first wrote this blog post a number of years ago and it appeared in my travel guide ‘Ready, Set, Go – Travel‘. I have updated this blog post for travel in 2022.

 

What is Group Travel?

 

Group travel refers to any organised tour. It could be for a day, a number of days or weeks. The trip is pre-booked, fully paid for before you leave and you travel with a group of other travellers who booked the same trip. The group tour will have a tour leader who you can go to for any problems you may have plus, they often provide information about where you are and take you to pre-planned activities. Included in the tour is your travel, usually by bus, accommodation and most meals. The goal of the group travel is to make the holiday easy for you to sit back and enjoy your trip without having to worry about any logistics.

 

Advantages of Group travel

 

  • Everything is included. 

If choosing group travel and going on a group tour the transport, accommodation, most meals, some entrance fees and a tip for your tour leader are included in the cost. With all these things paid for you only need to take spending money. This is great to help you budget.

  • The trip is planned for you. 

That’s right choosing group travel can be less stressful because you don’t have to organise the above (which can cause fights with travel partners).

  • Meet Like-minded people. 

Group travel gives you the opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers. You can make lasting friendships and even meet the partner of your dreams. You will be bound with these people forever by the experience you have together.

  • No single supplements

Many tour companies do not charge single supplements to people travelling on their own. Particularly those aimed at 18-35 year olds such as Top Deck and Contiki and G-Adventures.

  • Everything is pre-planned for you.

Group tours take you to the places you want to see and go and you will have a tour leader to assist with any problems. Plus the tour guide will provide a rundown on the places you are visiting. You don’t get this if you are travelling solo.

  • Luggage is safe while you are travelling.

You do not usually have to carry your luggage around as it will be in the transport or at the accommodation. If you do have to carry it it won’t be very far. From the bus to your room.

  • Safety in numbers

This is a biggie for some solo travellers, particularly female travellers. There can be safety travelling in numbers. This can be true in countries where women aren’t treated at the same level as some men.

  • Always someone to take your photo

When you choose group travel over solo travel you won’t have to take selfies because there will be others who are happy to take your photo for you.

  • Choose the tour length that suits your time available.

If you have limited time you will want to make the most of it. Tour companies usually have tours lasting for a different number of days and weeks to different areas and countries.

 

Disadvantages of Group Travel

 

  • No deviations allowed 

Group travel stick to an itinerary and there is restricted time in each place. Thus only providing an overview of each place you visit, which limits you from immersing yourself in the local culture. There are no deviations to the touring schedule compared to solo travel when you can change your schedule at a moments notice. So there is less flexibility to deviate from any travel plans.

  • Stuck with the People on the same tour

You may unfortunately on a group tour get stuck with people you have nothing in common. Or find that someone annoys you immensely. If you don’t like a tour you are not obliged to stay on it. But if you leave of your own accord, don’t expect to receive a refund for the remaining portion of the trip which you did not undertake.

  • No Privacy

You won’t have much privacy as you will be with the touring group most of the time. And singles are often paired with someone to share a room.

 

What is Solo Travel?

 

Simply put, you are travelling alone. You plan everything by yourself and undertake all the travelling alone. Travelling solo can be very rewarding, yet at times, scary. Travelling solo gives you a lot of flexibility with your travel plans. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of solo travel vs group travel.

 

Advantages of Solo Travel

 

  • Flexibility and Freedom

Solo travel provides you with the freedom to do as you please. You can go where you want, when you want and to stay as long as you want. There is a lot of flexibility to change your plans whenever you want.

  • You are the captain of your own ship

Yep, you make all your travel decisions yourself so basically, you are the captain of your own ship.

  • Get off the Grid

When you travel solo you can get off the well-worn beaten tourist track and immerse yourself in the local culture. You can get off the grid if you wish.

  • Personal Growth

I think everyone should try solo travel at least once in their life. The solo travel experience will push you beyond your comfort zone in many ways. You may overcome a lot of fears. You may do things you would never thought you might have done before. Your confidence will grow and you may strike up conversations with people at many different places. Accomplishing these things will give you pride in yourself and along with confidence you will conquer the world!.

 

Disadvantages of Solo Travel

 

  • Solitude and Loneliness

You can get lonely when you travel solo but here are my suggestions on how to find friends.

  • Carry all your possessions with you

You must carry your luggage around which is why most travel with a backpack or luggage that has wheels.

  • You need to find your own accommodation

Solo travellers will need to find your own accommodation (if you haven’t pre-booked). I suggest using booking sites such as HostelWorld for a hostel bed and Booking.com for a hotel room.

  • Uncomfortable Eating Alone

Solo travellers can feel uncomfortable eating on their own in restaurants. An option is to choose to eat in a food court, food market or fast food joint. Or stay in a place where other solo travellers stay, like a hostel.

  • Cooking on your own

Cooking for one can be hard due to a lack of cooking utensils and being unable to carry fresh ingredients around with you. Lucky then I have written Travellers Fare — Fast & Fabulous Meals for Travellers. An ebook full of easy recipes that use limited utensils and ingredients – perfect if you are staying in a hostel or hotel room with limited cooking facilities.

  • You may Get Lots

You may get lost looking for tourist sites when you are travelling solo. But isn’t that half the fun? Sometimes the best travel experiences occur when you least expect them!

  • Unsafe

Being alone can sometimes be scary, particularly if you start to feel unsafe, because your safety should be utmost. I would highly suggest you always be wary of your surroundings and if you feel unsafe remove yourself from the situation. 

 

Tour Companies to Consider for Group Travel

 

Here are some tour companies to consider. They are in alphabetical order and in no order of preference. I have not been paid to list them, I have chosen them for the tours they offer. There are probably many more I could add to the list. If you can suggest one, please do.

Abercrombie & Kent (Luxury Group Travel)
Chimu Adventures (Polar Group Travel
Contiki (18-35 year olds)
Cosmos
DuVine Cycling (Biking Tour Group)
EF Go Ahead Tours (Educational Tours)
Exodus Travels
G Adventures (budget tours)
Globus
Intrepid Travel (Responsible Group Travel)
Kensington Tours (Private Group Travel)
Top Deck (18-39 year olds)
Trafalgar Tours.

 

Final Thoughts on Group Travel vs Solo Travel

 

As you have read, there are advantages and disadvantages to both solo travel and group travel. And you should realise there is no right or wrong way to travel. I suggest you weigh up the type of travelling you want to do. You can always do a mixture such as I did. I went to London on a working holiday by myself. Then I went on a group tour with Contiki through Europe by myself and I met a couple of people I am still in contact with today. Other times I travelled independently and often bought a train or bus ticket and went away on weekends or longer by myself or with friends. I hope you have found ‘my take’ on solo travel vs group travel helpful and no matter what form of travel you choose, I wish you happy travels! Let me know in the comments following what travel you choose.

 

Group Of 6 People Smiling And One Person Looking At Buildings. Depicting Group Travel Vs Solo Travel.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.

 

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Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Dearne

    Some helpful ideas! As I am a solo traveller I will certainly consider the choices available and the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of travelling.

    Reply
  2. Sara

    How interesting. I am travelling with a friend as I don’t think I could travel on my own. Not the first time.

    Reply
  3. Polly

    I have only done one group tour once many years ago – the lack of flexibility and how packed the program was is what put me off and I have not booked such type of trips ever since. I prefer having the freedom to choose what I would like to do and have more time to fully experience every place. Great list of the advantages of disadvantages of each option!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, group touring has many disadvantages. That is a shame you didn’t enjoy your tour. But it aint for everyone.

      Reply
  4. Shelly

    Great tips for travel planning thanks!

    Reply
  5. Beverley

    I have travelled solo when I took a gap year to Australia and also travelled with a group tours. I now travel with my partner. Sometimes we will book group tours, depending on where we go. I certainly relate to many of these tips, I loved travelling solo and doing what I wanted, but sometimes it’s great to share those experiences with your loved one. What I love about group tours other than having it planned for me, but I love meeting new people along the way.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Each holiday or trip we take is different so having the luxury to choose a solo trip or a group trip is ideal. I do a mixture of both – it depends on where I am going to.

      Reply
  6. Cristina

    This is a great article. I prefer solo travel because I love the freedom to go where I want when I want. I also always look for hidden gems, and tour groups will normally take you to touristy places.

    Reply

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