TNN group tour for a fee down a narrow forest river

posted: 16/5/23 | May 16, 2023

My first trip abroad was an organized group tour. Back then, I didn't know anything about traveling. I've never been anywhere alone, and my family aren't great travelers. My travel experience consisted of cruises, and spring break in Montreal while in college. I'm as green as they come. So, at 23 years old, touring seems like the best way to get around.

As I headed to Costa Rica for my first adult trip, I was excited to have signed up a journey. I don't speak Spanish, I don't know how to navigate a foreign country, and I don't know how to figure out what to do or how to manage my time.

I was scared, unsure, and needed a lot of hand holding.

Our guide really helped me learn how to “swim”. The tour gave me the confidence to travel on my own. In the end, I felt like I had “got it” enough that I could find my way out and meet people.

After I got home, I started planning my next trip: a non-tour trip to Thailand, and after that experience, I ended up backpacking around the world. The rest is history, as they say.

More than 15 years later, I still love (and use) group tours. They are right for certain people, certain purposes, and certain activities for many reasons.

I think tours are underestimated by too many travellers, because they think of large bus groups of seniors being herded around for pictures before being put back on the bus to be driven to the next tour location.

And as long as these tours exist, not all tours are like that. Many companies offer very unique and interesting experiences in small group settings. Tour companies come in all specialties and sizes now. You just need to know how to choose the right tour for you.

I think the tour is great for a number of reasons:

First, they are great for people who are new to traveling or don't feel comfortable traveling alone. I've written before that the hardest part of traveling isn't the act itself, but finding the courage to go. It's not easy to walk out the door alone. It doesn't matter where you come from, we all fear the “unknown”. When you don't speak the language, or don't have much experience, or are simply worried about safety in a new place, you don't always want to grab a backpack and just leave.

Tours allow you to get your feet wet and conquer that fear.

Additionally, some travelers prefer touring when exploring new territory for the first time. Sure, you may have passed through Europe or Australia, but the thought of doing the same in Central America or the Middle East may seem too far out of your comfort zone.

Second, the tour is great if you're a solo traveler looking for company. People always ask me if I'm lonely as a solo traveler, or what I do if I don't meet anyone. Luckily, I've learned to meet people on the street.

But, being a natural introvert, it took me a long time to learn how to strike up a conversation with strangers. It does take work and a little courage to put yourself out there and make friends again and again.

However, when you are on a tour, you have an automatic travel companion. Tours are designed so that you have a group of people to talk to, explore, eat with, and spend time with. You won't be alone, which takes a lot of the pressure off.

More often than not, you will create a stronger bond than you ever expected with your travel companions because of all your travel experiences together.

TNN group tour walks down a wide open sunny beach

Third, the tour is good if you don't have much time. Can I see Jordan, Morocco, or Madagascar is mine? Yes, sure, but I don't have much time, and I wanted to take a quick look. That's why I visit those destinations on a tour.

When your travel time is limited, tours are the perfect way to easily enjoy the highlights. They have a unique experience built right in, so no matter how fast the tour goes, you'll feel like you're seeing something other than a must-see attraction (at least in the good ones).

Fourth, the tour is great for busy people. It seems like these days, so many are juggling a million things to do, so planning all the logistics of a trip to a foreign country might not be high on the priority list. And if this is your life, I think you need a vacation. After all, everyone needs a vacation once in a while.

Joining a group tour is a great way to have a fulfilling experience without the hassle of planning. It's very convenient. Just attend and participate. Let someone else do the research, planning… and improvising when something goes wrong.

Fifth, some destinations are logistically challenging and are best visited on a tour. Just try going to the Galápagos, is safaris, around India, or through some African countries on their own. Sure, you can do it, but it's not always easy and most people don't have the time or energy to take that kind of trip together. Multi-day hikes to Mount Kilimanjaro or around Patagonia are easier and safer with a group. The same goes for traveling through deserts, rainforests, jungles and other areas that are not easy to navigate on your own.

Finally, tours can give you access to experiences you wouldn't be able to access on your own. This is especially true for smaller boutique tour companies (like us!). By leveraging their inside knowledge and connections, you can gain access to people, places and activities that you didn't have before.

For example, on our Oaxaca tour we went to mezcalería my friendand he gave us a personal tasting and talked about his family's history to create passion.

In Romania, we got special permission to hang out in a Roman villagethanks to our guide's long friendship with the residents there.

In Jordan, we stayed at our house Bedouin friend village right next to Petra.

It is an experience that is difficult to replicate on its own and can contribute to greater understanding and depth and a more fulfilling travel experience.


Is the tour for everyone? No. But they weren't necessarily the big bus groups of the past, and I think they can offer travelers today a really unique experience that you won't find anywhere else. Even if you are a solo traveler, be sure to consider it.

And, if you are looking for a tour, consider taking it through our company, Nomad Network. We offer great small group tours to destinations including Tanzania, Cuba, oaxaca, mexico city, Romania, Costa RicaThat the Yucatan peninsula, Jordan, and much more. We use our personal travel experiences to create unique itineraries that you won't see anywhere else. We mingle with the locals, go off the beaten track, connect with expert guides, participate in unique activities, and take you to tourist-free restaurants, bars, walking tours, swimming pools, backyard BBQs, and more!

Click here to see our fall 2023 deals and join us on the journey!

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