Group Tour vs Solo Travel: Pros & Cons

Traveling around the world has been an exciting adventure that has had a way of getting me to face and conquer new fears each and every day.

Before making my first solo trip in 2015, traveling alone was one of my biggest fears. Just the thought of going to a foreign alone, where English is not the mother tongue,  left me up at night sweating, anxious and with an uneasy feeling.

This wild experience has opened my eyes up to the world and has given me a greater confidence in myself and my ability to navigate throughout different countries without the help of anyone by my side.

In my solo travel across more than half of the countries on the planet, I have learned the ins and outs of traveling alone and in this article we are going to talk about the pros and cons of solo travel vs group tours in order to get a better idea of them from both perspectives.

In the north of Thailand I decided to take a break from my normal solo travels for a day and join on a day tour with a reputable company called Travel Hub. They offer very distinct tours, private and group, with good prices and interesting iteneraries, so I decided to give it a try!

The trip that I did was a full day excursion, picking me up at 7:30am and returning back at 9:30pm We started our journey off visiting a natural hot spring, before making our way to the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun).

This is one of the most recognized temples in the country, and from first glance, one can understand why. It is completely white and sparkles brightly underneath the sun. The white represents the purity of Buddha and the glass represents his wisdom and teachings. 

This is definitely one of the most extravagant temples that I’ve ever been to.

We then made our way to the Golden Triangle, which is an area that that borders three countries: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. We did a guided river cruise on the Mekong River and visited the border of Laos and walked around. We were greeted with snake whiskey, a common exotic and strong drink that is common in Laos.

I must say, I have had many interesting introductions into foreign countries, but never one like that!

We then made our way to see different tribal villages, which included the Karen Long Neck Village, a place that is interesting for some and quite controversial for others. It was interesting to see, but not the highlight of my trip.

We had a nice buffet style lunch, a short stop at the Myanmar border and then a 4.5 hour drive back to Chiang Mai. Our day was completely packed, but it was nice to be able to see and experience so many places in a short time.

As I mentioned, this was not my normal solo travel style, but I was surprised at how much I liked the experience!

Now let’s talk about the pros and cons….

Pros:

1. Travel Without Planning & Organizing Trip

As a solo traveler, I am responsible for planning all of my trips, organizing my schedule and always paying attention to every small detail. Going with TravelHub was a great experience because it allowed me to take a mental break and just enjoy the trip without thinking and planning anything.

I was able to take some great pictures and just simply look out the window along the way without anything on my mind, which was actually quite a luxury.

2. Knowledgable Personal Guide

Another great thing about group trips is the fact that you will have a personal tour guide that usually has detailed knowledge on the places that you visit that can give you a very good idea about the story behind what you see. Our guide was a local, with a high level of English, which allowed us to easily learn and take in the information easily.

 

Not everyone has good experiences with guides, but thats why its important to look on Trip Advisor and read up on what people say about the company and tour guides.

3. Meeting New People

Without a doubt, one of the best parts about a group tour is the fact that it is a perfect way to meet other people. As a solo traveler, sometimes I am in situations where I don’t meet others, depending upon the location.

In my tour I connected with a few different girls from South America, as well as three guys from Barcelona.  I ended up staying in contact with them all and even ended up meeting them a couple weeks later in the south of Thailand at the Full Moon Party.

Without the group tour I would’ve never met these wonderful people that I will continue to be friends with as the years go by.

4. Safety & Security

For people that are a bit nervous about solo traveling, group trips are a really great option. It’s much less likely that something will happen to you when you’re with a group than when you are completely alone.

Some of the rural areas are difficult to reach and more dangerous for solo travelers.  Going with a group takes away the stress of possibly getting lost or something happening to you. Many times I have tried to visit a place alone and ended up having many obstacles, spent hours lost and getting ripped off by taxi drivers, which in the end costed me much more than I would of paid on an organized tour.

I have found from my personal experience that its much easier to fall into a scam when I am alone than when I am with other people to help in the decision making.

Cons:

1. Lack of Freedom and Independence

Without a doubt, one of the biggest cons of group tours is not having the opportunity to have your own freedom and independence. However, given that I have all of the freedom in the world that I want 99% of the time, it did not matter to me and was actually quite nice.

When you travel completely alone you are in control of everything and can stay as long as you want in a given place, compared to having a set time and schedule that you have no control over in a guided trip.

I think a mixture of solo travel and organized tours could be a good combination for one that is looking to have two totally different types of experiences. I know after my positive experience in Thailand that I will try to combine both types of travel styles into my plans.

2. Prices

Organized tours can get quite expensive depending on different factors (location, activity, time of year etc), in comparison to going completely alone. I have heard nightmares of people on very poor quality group tours and having experiences that have been complete nightmares. Sometimes people book extremely cheap tours to save money and in the end leave feeling a sense of regret for having joined in and not trying to make that same trip alone.

It’s important to do your homework and read all the reviews on Trip Advisor before making your decision. Travel Hub has many great reviews online, which is why I had them as my number one choice.

3. Personality Conflicts or Disconnection from Group

Sometimes you join a group tour and the energy is not what you were hoping for. It could be very possible that there will be someone in the group that absolutely drives you crazy, or the guide is terrible. If that is the case, it could be a very long and dreadful day.

However, with a positive attitude towards the experience, you can easily get past this minor problem and switch your focus on the beauty of the place that you are traveling to instead of getting worked up over a small, dumb issue.

4. Being Rushed

Many of the tours are filled with activities and are on a very tight schedule. While that is great for seeing a lot in a short amount of time, it can be kind of frustrating, especially if you want to really see a place or get photos and videos during the tour. Some tours are more relaxed, while others try to put too many activities in a short day trip.

Most tours will give you the agenda before hand so that you can see what your day will look like before going on the trip.

 

What do you prefer? Solo travel or group trips?

Catch me on social media to give me your thoughts!

 

 

 

Don’t Forget to Also Check Out: 

5 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM TRAVELING TO INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

ETHICAL ELEPHANT PARK VISIT IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

A MINI PARADISE: MYKONOS ISLAND, GREECE

 

 

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