Group travel requires sacrifices from each member. The very nature of package tours imposes restrictions in freedom of movement and freedom dispose of time of one’s pleasure. Before signing up for any group journey, think of restrictions you will have to accept:
• Quality of accommodations
• Quality and quantity of food
• Quality of service
• Sight selection and time allocated for each
• Mode of transportation
• The tour director
• Behaviour and interests of fellow travellers
If you are an independent and eccentric individual, consider travelling with another compatible person(s).
You will have to accept the fact that some fellow travellers are often, if not always late, or complain about every thing and happen to be plain miserable all the time.
You may be lucky enough to have a fine tour director, but also unfortunate to be with a terrible one. You have no chance, except maybe quitting the group and traveling on your own, and on your own dime.
It is important to read all related literature and especially that of the tour organizer very carefully. Travel brochure writers have developed highly sophisticated styles and describe services in superlative terms. If you read breakfast is provided, that means both lunch and dinenr are not.
Low prices reflect limited choices, substandard accommodation, shabby buses driven by careless drivers etc.
Consider that a long trip may be once in a lifetime opportunity.
Why spoil it trying to save a few hundred dollars?
It is worth remembering that the difference between a two-star and three-star can be significant.
Also, if food quality and service are important to you, be aware of price. Low price means just the minimum acceptable food quality, quantity, and service. (High-end travel organizations allow you to dine wherever you want in the city visiting and will reimburse you, except for alcoholic beverages).
Outside of North America, hotel rooms are small to very small. Inexpensive travel tours offer only the least acceptable rooms quality, and hotels are generally far off the city centre.
Ungodly departure times commensurate with cost, the lower the price the more inconvenient flight times i.e 1 a.m or little later.
Who wants to get up at midnight to catch a flight at 4 a.m?
Specific interest tours attract like-minded travellers and chances are that you may be in a group with compatible individuals.
It is incumbent upon you to immunize yourself against diseases which may be prevalent in the country(ries) of your destination, get a pair of extra glasses, prescription medications you take daily
Some countries still impose visa requirements. They claim this as a security precaution. In reality it is a way to extract more money from every tourist. Apply early and if possible visit the consulted to get it. Occasionally, passports get lost in the mail!
Once you have met your travelling companions and the director, study all to determine the mood and compatibility of the group.
Accordingly, you can decide to keep to yourself or become friendly with some.
Bring your concerns to the attention of the director as soon as practicable, and discreetly. Also, make sure you obtain the telephone number of the head office of travel organization and the name of the department head responsible for the smooth running of every tour.
Often on long trips covering developing countries, governments insist on hiring local guides, some of whom are trained and capable of conducting sightseeing tours and provide valuable information. In totalitarian regimes, guides are inculcated to inform travellers about their version of history, often incorrectly!
Here are some suggestions you may want to consider:
• Be on time for all activities
• Ask questions if necessary, but not all the time
• Conform to the mood of the group
• Correct director’s mistakes, if any, in private
• Bring your grievances with others in the group to attention of the director and ask for speedy resolution
• Accept things that cannot be changed
• Choose your meal companions for superior enjoyment
Group travel requires adaptation. If you are an eccentric or individualist or have special interests, consider organizing your trip or select a company that offers tours to suit you.