You may already know that I am a huge fan of small group adventure travel. Whilst I also take frequent solo trips, group tours was how I started travelling frequently and I still often take trips like this.
People often ask me which companies I recommend for group travel for singles. There’s not always a straight forward answer as different tour companies cater for different styles of travel and budgets. But to help you decide which group tour company is best for you, I’ve compared them for you.
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Why Take a Group Tour For Single Travellers?
- 2 So Which Is The Best Group Travel Company For Singles?
- 3 So who wins? Which is the best way to experience group travel for singles?
Why Take a Group Tour For Single Travellers?
- Group Tours are a brilliant way to meet like-minded people
I have made life long friends through some of my group trips. It’s rare I haven’t got on with the groups I’ve travelled with, probably because these sorts of trips attract a certain type of people. People like me who crave adventure and have a get-up-and-go attitude to life. We don’t let being single stop us from travelling.
- You might meet someone special…
Ok, this is yet to happen for me but I do know people who met their significant others on a group tour. After all, you both love adventures and that’s a great start…
- It’s really easy
We’re all busy people holding down jobs, hobbies and social lives. Planning a trip can be great fun but it can also be very time consuming. And you want to come back from your trip refreshed right? Not more stressed than when you left for it!
Group adventure tours take the stress out of travel allowing you to simply book it, then relax until your adventure begins. Even then, travel is easier when you know your accommodation and travel arrangements are taken care of throughout.
- You get to visit places you might not see otherwise
Group adventure tours take solo travellers to places they may never reach by themselves, remote and off the beaten track. You will get to understand the local culture much better, support local charitable organisations and may even get to experience life living with the locals on a homestay.
- Group travel help single travellers stay safe
Travelling as a group means that single travellers are safer as they have people to accompany them to dinner and watch their backs in crowds. Also the tour leaders know the places they visit like the back of their hand and will make sure you know where is safe to go.
Read more | If you’re an introvert and not sure if group travel is for you, read this introverts guide to group travel.
My Own Group Tour Story
I took my first adventure group tour in 2003. I was just 17 and it was part of a school expedition with World Challenge. We financed it without help from our parents, planned the trip ourselves and carried out various community projects as well as a week-long trek through the jungle. The skills I learnt as a young teenager; leadership, planning, team-work and money management, essentially got me my ticket to med school.
It planted the seed for future group trips but it was another 10 years before my next big trip.
My next group trip came about as I sadly broke with my ex-boyfriend whom I had planned a 4 month trip to South East Asia with. He encouraged me to go anyway and so I decided a group tour would be the best way to give single travel a whirl and ease me into solo travel gently.
I came back from that trip a different woman. Before I left I was plagued by doubt about what I wanted from life, was I making the right decisions?
4 months, 4 group tours and 3 weeks of independent travel later, I returned home confident and with a new purpose.
Not only was I more confident in general but this trip had filled me with confidence that travel wasn’t out of bounds for singletons. I loved my group travel experiences – I’ve taken 5 more since then – but I also realised solo travel by myself was fine too. Now I travel 50% solo 50% with a group.
These trips had reignited my passion for travel and I knew it would be an important part of my life from then on. Though little did I know that a few years later I would be running a successful travel blog! Life has a funny way of taking twists and turns you don’t expect at times.
So Which Is The Best Group Travel Company For Singles?
There is a huge variety in the type and style of group travel singles can take depending on their travel goals, budget and how many peopl they want to travel alongside.
My personal favourite group travel company for singles is G Adventures. But we’ll come back to that later. It may or may not be right for you personally.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Group Travel Company
- Would you prefer to travel in a smaller group or are you happy with a larger group size?
- Do you mind how old the other travellers are? Would you prefer to travel with party animals, young professionals or a mix of ages?
- Does it bother you if the leader is not a local?
- Do you want to chip in and help out with day-to-day tasks or would you prefer to take it easy on holiday?
- What is an acceptable standard of accommodation for you? Tents, Dorms, guesthouses, homestays or smart hotels?
- How active do you want to be? Are you looking for adventure, culture or a bit of both?
- What is your budget?
- How much free time do you want?
Armed with the answers to these questions, you are ready to decide; which is the best adventure travel company for you?!
We can divide tours roughly into three main groups; participation over-landing trips, bus tours and smaller group adventure tours. Let’s take a look at them individually.
Small Group Tours for Single Travellers
These are my favourite type of group travel for singles and so I thought I’d begin with talking about small group tours.
These trips usually have between 10 to 15 travellers and usually involves a mix of private and local transport. The marine-based trips involve sailing or cruising instead.
The age of the traveller usually depends on the location and price of the trip. Most small group adventure tour companies offer different tiers of trips. The more pricey trips have more comfortable accommodation and attract older travellers.
If you’re like me, a 30-something professional, I’d aim for the mid price range tours. The accommodation is comfortable if not luxurious. The ages are variable but usually most people are in their 20’s to 40’s.
There are exceptions to this rule and when I was travelling in South America, I was happier to book the more budget tours. South America is in general a pricier place to travel than let’s say South East Asia. It attracts slightly older, more experienced travellers so it’s safe to assume you won’t be subject to a ‘party bus!’
If however, you are travelling to Thailand or India, I would definitely consider upgrading unless, of course, a party bus is what you fancy!
My Personal Favourite Small Group Tour Companies
My favourite small adventure group tour companies are G Adventures and Intrepid Travel. Both favour more adventurous locations and off-beat experiences you might not experience without being on a group tour.
Both employ only local tour guides. This is great because they have brilliant knowledge about the places you are visiting.
They are also both conscientious ethical companies who do a lot of grass roots work within the communities they visit.
I have travelled with G Adventures 5 times and Intrepid twice. Based on my personal experience, I have written this review article; G Adventures Vs Intrepid Travel to help you decide between them. It also talks more in detail about the projects they get involved with.
But if you want to skip that article and just want to know which is best, then pretty much it comes down to G Adventures having a fairer cancellation policy but Intrepid having a great loyalty programme if you plan to travel with them a lot. G Adventures is also fractionally cheaper.
Check out their trips currently on sale here…
Pros and Cons of Small adventure travel companies
Pros; Smaller groups, emphasis on sustainable travel, local knowledgable guides, off-beat adventurous activities and homestays often included, flexible itineraries.
Cons; These are a slightly more expensive style of group travel for singles. But in my mind, worth paying the little extra so you don’t feel like you’re a big group being herded around!
Small Group Trips I have taken and can recommend
- Classic Peru including visiting Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and doing the Lares trek.
- Galapagos Central, South and East Islands – 10 days sailing trip.
- Bangkok to Hanoi via Cambodia and Vietnam
- Hanoi to Bangkok via Laos and Thailand
- Bankok to Singapore via the east Thai islands and Malaysian Highlands
- 7 day Thai Islands Sailing trip – read my review here.
Overlanding Group Travel for Singles
Overlanding is a completely different style of group travel and in general, the trips are a little cheaper and definitely NOT luxurious!
Overlanding trips involve group participation so if you’re not happy to chip in with the cooking and washing up, it’s not for you.
However, if you don’t mind getting involved and doing your bit, these trips can be great fun and really
On an overlanding group tour, you will be usually be travelling in a converted truck and camping at night. Some trips will involve a mixture of camping and budget hotels but you’re unlikely to stay anywhere with 5 stars!
They are an adventurous style of travel and a brilliant way of seeing a lot in a small time with a smallish budget. They are especially suited for more remote and rugged locations for example taking a safari in Africa or road tripping through South America.
My personal favourite overlanding tour companies for singles
I’ve travelled with three different overlanding tour companies and have had good experiences with all of them.
Dragoman is one of the most
The trip I took with Dragoman used a 50:50 mix of budget hotels and camping which meant that half of our meals were also around a campfire, cooked by ourselves.
I really enjoyed my trip with Dragoman but the one downside as far as I could see is that their tour leaders are not locals and so couldn’t offer much additional insight or advice. It felt a lot more like independent travel but with our own personal bus drivers!
I also travelled with two companies in East Africa, Absolute Africa and Intrepid Travel. Yes, that’s right, Intrepid do some over landing style trips too! The trip I took with Intrepid had local guides which I prefer as they are so informative. Absolute Africa was also a brilliant experience and one that I can’t fault.
Acacia Adventure tours are another popular choice for overland tours but as of yet, I cannot comment on them. Maybe one day…
Pros and cons of overlanding group tours
Pros; Affordable, adventurous, great way to travel across most remote locations, perfect way of experiencing safari without exorbitant safari lodge costs.
Cons; larger group sizes, some companies don’t use local guides
Overlanding trips Ive taken and can recommend
- La Paz to Rio with Dragoman – Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil
- Kenya Wildlife Safari with Intrepid Travel.
- Masai and Migration with absolute Africa – Tanzania and Zanzibar
Bus Tour Style Group Travel for Singles
Bus Tour Travel companies tend to be livelier and attract a younger crowd. You may be travelling with up to 30 other people and will likely stay in dormitories along the way. The guides are not usually locals. The trips are usually quite fast paced.
Bus Tour Companies I’ve Personally travelled with
I’ve taken a couple of these trips and they were both very different. Topdeck was my least favourite tour, probably as I felt I was a few years older than most of the group. There was a little too much focus on drinking and not enough on culture for my personal travel tastes but that said, it may suit a younger traveller.
My trip with Way Outback was quite different with a slightly broader range of ages. It may have helped that by travelling through the outback, there weren’t so many opportunities for nights out so the focus was definitely on the incredible scenery.
Contiki are another popular company for this style of travel but I do not have personal experience with them. However, I’ve heard they are very similar to Topdeck.
Pros and Cons of taking a bus tour
Pros; Cheaper than small group travel, Often lively tours great for younger travellers and party animals
Cons; Sometimes more of a focus on partying than culture, large group sizes, less flexibility
Bus Tours I’ve taken
Group Travel for Single Parents
I’ve always thought that when I become a parent one day, I want to travel with my child and show them life exists beyond the little that they know. I believe it teaches children tolerance, humility and broadens their minds.
But travelling with children isn’t always easy, especially the adventurous sort of travel that I personally love. And if you’re a single parent, I’d imagine it would be even harder.
They are now offering small group adventure tours like the ones we discussed above but for single-parent families. Children get to make friends and learn about the world whilst the parents get to enjoy some adult conversations with the other parents on the tour.
So who wins? Which is the best way to experience group travel for singles?
If you are in your mid 20’s or older with a reasonable budget behind you, then I wouldn’t usually recommend a bus tour. My personal preference would be a small group tour with G Adventures or Intrepid Travel (the former being my favourite.)
If you’re on a tight budget or taking a safari or travelling somewhere really remote, then an overland trip may be a good option. Again Intrepid was my favourite overland tour.
I’d love to hear about your own experiences of group travel? Are there and group tours you recommend for single travellers? Please feel free to comment below!
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