At every stage in a travelers life they should experience group travel. While solo backpacking, or couple travel, can be rewarding in its own right, there’s nothing quite like exploring a new destination or activity with a group of friends.
Whether you arrange a trip with your closest friends, or join a tour company, traveling with other people helps create new friendships and solidify old ones. The new experiences help create lifelong memories and bonds between people that extend well beyond your trip. No matter what type of traveler you are, here are a few top reasons you should travel in a group.
Benefits of Group Travel with Friends
One of the best things about traveling as a group is being able to share all the wonderful new experiences with some of your closest friends. Back home you’ve got your everyday memories together from school or work or social events, but now you’re off gallivanting around the world making stories that you’ll never forget.
Move over hilarious story about the time Susan slipped over at work, let’s replace that with something slightly more interesting. How about an exciting trip to the party island of Thailand for a half moon party in Koh Phangan?
Forget about the time Will threw his school books off the library roof, now Will is legendary for doing a backflip off the second story guesthouse into the pool… responsibly of course. Traveling as a group will not only solidify your friendship, but you’ll be reminiscing about those memories for years to come.
Making New Friends when Traveling as a Group
A lot of people don’t have a group of friends that are willing to pack up and take off on a three month trip around Southeast Asia. Some of them might not even want to pop over to Bali for a week long holiday, so you have to branch out and find a group to travel with.
Organizing a group tour can be an easy way to find a likeminded group of people to travel with. It takes the pressure off having to go out and find travel buddies. And it also allows you to be social and share experiences with people while you’re traveling.
Some on my closest friends over the last few years are people I’ve met while traveling as a group. Back in 2015, when we were traveling with a group of people in Thailand for two weeks, we became so close that we all decided to get matching tattoos (true story!). To this day we still stay in touch and we may or may not have added to our matching tattoos (spoiler alert, we did!).
Traveling with new friends gives you the chance to get really close to them, really quick. You spend more time with these new friends in a week than you probably do with people back home for months. Plus the memories and stories you make together will now bond you for life. Everything is accelerated when you’re traveling and spending 24/7 with someone, so friendships become deep really fast.
Imagine spending a week with someone traveling the Nusa Islands in Bali, everyday more exciting and adventurous than the last. During the day you swim through waterfalls, zip around on scooters, relax on beaches and explore local temples together. While each night you sip on Bintang beers and share stories from other travels or back home. Adventures + cheap beer = best buds for life!
Group Travel as a Couple
Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of traveling with a group. In fact, sometimes connecting with a group tour is the perfect way to branch out and for you and your partner to meet new people.
When you’re traveling as a couple, it can be a bit more difficult to meet new travel friends naturally. When you’re solo, you’re generally a lot more open to meeting other people on the road. Because you’re alone you put more effort into being social and it’s easier to meet and spend time with other solo travelers.
However, when you’re traveling as a couple, sometimes its hard to find new travel friends. Other solo travelers see you and your significant other as unapproachable. They might think you would prefer to spend time with your partner, even though you’re hanging around a bar waiting to make new friends.
Both Christine and I are extremely social people, so we enjoy meeting new travel buddies. We love the fact that travel brings you closer to people and lets you connect with others from different walks of life. When we travel we sometimes found it hard to meet people in hostels and guesthouses or while going out. We often find ourselves connecting with other couples, but even that can be challenging at times.
Traveling in a group, even as a couple, gives you the added bonus of being with your partner, but also being able to hang out with a bunch of new potential friends. It also stops you from having to spend 24/7 with your partner, which can cause problems on its own. Not that Christine and I ever want to kill each while traveling of course….
Managing Group Travel Expectations
One of the hardest things about traveling in a group is trying to manage everyone’s different expectations and needs. Some people are early risers, some party until the break of dawn. Some like history and culture, others are more into lazing about on the beach and sipping cheap cocktails.
No matter how hard you try, it’s always going to be difficult to travel as a group and please everyone. That’s why it’s important to manage group expectations and learn to compromise.
The best way to avoid any potential problems is to have open and honest discussions within your group about the activities they want to do. Let people voice their expectations and try to either work out a compromise or an easy way to split up for the day.
You might find it’s as easy as half the group spending the day at a museum or temple, and half the group going to explore the local market. You can coordinate a time to meet up later in the day and everyone wins. That keeps the group happy and your friendships intact!
Regardless of how you approach group travel, with friends, solo or as a couple, you’re bound to have an amazing time! Having people to share your travel experiences with helps you relive them for years to come. It also means you’ve got some travel buddies that are ready for the next group trip when it comes around!