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For the intrepid traveller, the idea of joining a tour group can be eye roll-inducing. But the fact of the matter is that tour groups can be the most efficient, safest, and - often - the most invigorating way to travel to a new destination. Of course, tour groups vary in size and length. So it is important to find your match to give yourself the best launching pad.

The joys of tour group travel begins with knowing that plans have been made for you. No need to make reservations at each individual stop along the way, no need to arrange for travel in between stops. If that doesn’t make a traveller exhale with a newfound sense of zen, nothing will.  

What is particularly helpful about having tours take care of the plans for you is that, as a tourist, you might think you know what you want to see, learn, or do. Or you might feel overwhelmed by the amount that there is to see, learn, do. As experts in tourism and ambassadors for the group, however, your guides are able to lead you to the most worthwhile sites. What’s more, they can be your walking, talking encyclopedia; hands down, having a great tour guide will get you the most out of your trip.

For groups venturing into wilderness - be it on foot, bike, or other mode of transport - there is the hard fact of safety in numbers. Having a guide and fellow adventurers to keep an eye on you is undoubtedly the safest way to travel through remote areas with wildlife or minimal direction or signage, especially when physically exerting yourself for consecutive days.

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But even more than that, the value you can get from your tour-mates is priceless. New people bring new perspective. If you join a group as a solo traveller or half of a couple, you are bound to find yourself travelling with other interested, cultured travellers who bring a unique set of travel stories and experiences.

And yet, it’s those exact people that might represent the most common hesitation preventing travellers from joining a tour. Not by virtue of coming from a different background, but by simply being there. Many, many travellers, especially solo travellers, revel in the liberation from feeling forced to make conversation constantly and not have a say in how they spend their time. But the answer to this hesitation goes back to choosing the right tour group for you. Some are large, some are small, some have an agenda organised to the hour, some provide leisure time. And realistically, if you explain that you want time to “do your own thing” for the sake of making the absolute most out of your trip, few fellow travellers wouldn’t understand in a real, personal way.

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