Posted by Andy Steves in on June 12, 2014.
Group travel can vary no matter the size of the group or where the destination may be. There are incredible benefits of traveling alone, with a small group, or even with a large group. Some programs provide a comfortable number of students to interact with each other as well as our experienced local guides. Traveling in a group can provide its own set of positives and negatives no matter which type of group a student traveler is in. Here are a few quick points to remember when traveling with a guide.
Independent travel is becoming more and more popular with some of the resources that are out today. A person gets to do what they want and when they want. They have the flexibility to spend their time where they want and who to see during the process. It's very easy to book reservations at any time when someone is going around traveling alone. With the positives of schedule flexibility that also comes with a lot of stress for someone. If the person isn't used to difficult travel alone, this has the possibility to cause problems.
Traveling within a group is a great way to meet a variety of people on the same trip. One is able to experience new sights and culture with different people during an extended period of time. The group aspects provide close learning with a guide while touring through the city or museum. Safety is also on the mind of many travelers who are going overseas for the first time. With a small group, there is enough of a balance between safety while not getting lost in a group of 30. Another positive thing about group travel is that it is often more fun. Traveling alone can get tiring and stressful. But if you are with a group of people, it is easier to designate duties to make a trip run smoother. A group of 3-4 can be a great combination to set out to have a successful week with. During weekend trips, the students often get a personal connection with the local guide as well as life long friendships.
When traveling in a large group it's always difficult to make reservations for restaurants, hostels, and transportation. If the best choice is to travel in a group of nine or more, make sure everything is planned to the minute. A problem with a large group is that there are so many different shared interests. Not every traveler could be satisfied with a schedule. This would fire back on the efficiency of the trip and group dynamic. A bad thing about traveling groups also relies on the fact most things will work smoothly. As any traveler knows, things don't go right 100% of the time. Therefore, when having a large group set for one activity but then plans falling through, it is much harder to decide and get a backup plan in place. The Decision: Plan as much as possible. If you choose to travel with a small group of friends, try doing it with a tour to map out the basics. A tour can provide a positive experience for students by meeting new people while still having the small group feeling. Sometimes there is no sense in taking a tour and getting lost in the sea of "20 of your friends" when in reality you wished it was half the size and you can be getting more out of it.
For more information on tours and other travel tips check out www.WSAEurope.com
I went to Rome with a few of my friends. Before we got there, our tour guide, Rhianne, sent us plenty of information regarding how to arrive at the hostel, and what our Itinerary would be like. She also made it a point to meet up with people the night before if their flight got in early so students would have something to do. Having a tour guide that lived in the city was amazing. It made me not have to stress about getting lost, and provided many opportunities to eat at the best restaurants, and, most importantly, the best Gelato places. By the end of the tour, I was good friends with each of the 14 members of the tour group, including our tour guide. I definitely recommend taking a tour through WSA because the guides make you feel like they actually care about each person on the trip. I knew that I could just relax, and enjoy my trip.Kyle Cook, Lebanon Valley College ~ Kingston University, London, Fall 2015
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