International group tours are the wise choice
for single seniors
For many years I was an independent traveler. Eventually, I got tired of:
- planning my trips,
- studying travel books and maps,
- trying to find the best ways to get from here to there,
- taking care of many other travel arrangements.
As soon as I tried international group tour with professional tour guides, there was no way back for me. There is no question in my mind: for single men and women, organized group tours are the best choice. Here are the reasons:
The cost of group travel is reasonable
During a trip to Greece, I discussed prices for solo and group trips with a few fellow travelers, who already visited many countries and tried different options. All these seasoned travelers told me that before going abroad, they always compared the cost of the solo travel versus group travel.
After careful calculations, they always discovered that the total price for group tour was either the same or even a little less. At the same time, you can’t beat the comfort of knowing that all trip arrangements will be taken care of when you travel with a group.
Your travels are stress-free
Sometimes, even in the English-speaking country finding hotels and museums can be difficult. And in the countries where people do not speak English, the confusion level gets overwhelming. But if you join international travel groups, you always have an English-speaking guide who knows the area and customs.
It’s like having an old friend living in a foreign country, who can tell you exactly where to eat, where to shop, which areas to avoid. If you get sick or injured, your guide will be able to find a local doctor.
You see the best sites
A professional tour operator makes sure that you visit the top sights that make the place famous. When we bought a trip to Peru, I couldn’t wait to see the legendary Machu Picchu. However, before that tour, I never heard of Lake Titicaca in the high mountains of Peru. I saw this lake, and I was struck by its beauty and uniqueness.
If we would visit Peru on our own, I would probably never add this fantastic place to our itinerary. Now, when I think of Peru, I think of this lake even before I think of Machu Picchu.
You stay in 4 or 5-star hotels
Since tour companies book thousands of hotel rooms, they get fantastic rates which independent travelers are not able to acquire. The same is true with restaurants, attractions, and entertainment. You get discounts or special entry available only to tour groups. And you always get higher quality at a better value.
If solo travelers try to save as much money as possible, they will have to sleep on hostel bunks in the same room with strangers. Otherwise, they have to spend much more money for a better lodging.
When we were in New Delhi, India, one woman from our group wanted to stay an extra night in the same 5-star hotel where we were staying for the last two nights. When she inquired at the front desk what would be the cost of the extra night, the answer was: $600.
She was flabbergasted. “For the whole 15 days trip, I have spent only 2,800 dollars, which included all flights, great hotels, excursions, and most of the food. Why the extra night is so expensive?” The front desk clerk responded: “It’s because you got a group rate for the first two nights. The individuals pay $600 per night.”
You do not worry about transportation
If you travel in a group with a tour guide, you should not worry about transfers from/to the airport, about buses and flights between the cities. It will save you lots of time. You will not have to study maps if you don’t want to.
In Japan, the public transportation is state of the art. It is expensive but incredibly efficient. Japanese language for the solo traveler can be a big problem. In Tokyo and other major cities, the names of the subway stations and many signs at the train stations are written in Japanese and English, but once you venture out of a large city, everything is in Japanese.
Once, when we wanted to go for a day trip to Nikko (see my blog “Why do I love Japan”), we lost a lot of time at the train station in the provincial town. The clerk at the ticket office did not speak any English, and we could not figure out the schedule of trains which would take us to Nikko.
Because of our language problem, we arrived in Nikko in the late evening instead of early afternoon.
You eat excellent, safe food
The tour guide brings groups only to the quality restaurants with safe local food. When I see solo tourists buying food on the street, I always want to ask them: are you sure it is safe to eat?
We loved tropical fruits in Costa Rica, especially, mango. But I would never buy a very popular snack sold on the streets – pieces of green mango sprinkled with salt and lime juice and sold in a plastic bag. It should be a great refreshment during the hot weather, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it thinking that it might be contaminated.
You can make real friendships
While on the road, it is not easy for older solo travelers to make real friends with locals or other travelers. Independent travelers move in different directions, and usually, they have only one-time meetings.
However, in organized tours, it is easy to meet people who have similar interests and life experiences. During such trips, you will have more opportunities to find a travel companion or to make long-lasting friendships.
Recommended travel companies for group tours
CruiseDirect provides comprehensive, accurate and timely cruise travel information enabling customers to prioritize among price, convenience, and services.
Intrepid Travel. Small group tours with expert guides.
Tours for Fun is the online travel agency offering some of the most comprehensive, affordable and desirable tour packages across North America, Europe, and the World.