What to Do: Small Group Tours

Recently, Sherry Ott and I gave a presentation on the “Benefits of Small Group Tours for the Solo Traveler” at the GAP Adventure Concept Store in New York City. Both Sherry and I have incorporated small group tours into our various travels and for various reasons. Here are highlights from our presentation. Maybe you’ll be inspired to incorporate small group tours into your travels as well!

[singlepic=1813,195,,,right]STEPPING STONE

  • Good for the novice traveler
  • Group leader to translate and answer questions
  • Experience all the new things within the ‘safety’ of a group
  • Used it as a ‘test run’ for extended travel


  • Comfort level varies for different countries
  • Unsure of safety as a woman traveling alone
  • Language barriers also vary country to country
  • Transportation issues

[singlepic=1812,185,,,right]BREAK UP EXTENDED TRAVEL

  • Variety – solo, travel with friends & group tours
  • Travel is work!
  • Nice break from booking transportation & lodging
  • Offered a ‘vacation’ type experience
  • Also offers a level of independence
  • May provide future travel partners

[singlepic=1810,175,,,right]CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

  • Access to cultural activities you may not have on your own
  • Experience life like the locals, including transportation and staying with families
  • If you want to understand a country and it’s people, ride with them
  • You aren’t on the outside looking in
  • Times when you have to have a guide (ie, Galapagos)

[singlepic=1814,175,,,right]NO TRAVEL PARTNERS

  • Some experiences you don’t want to do on your own
  • Even if you don’t have a travel partner doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the experience
  • Make new friends
  • Have cultural experiences within your own group


  • When booking, think about what you want to get out of the experience
  • Comfort level/Age range
  • If you are solo, try to arrange an airport transfer when possible
  • While on trip, be patient with new cultures
  • Also be patient with your group members

Some of the destinations we’ve used small group tours include
Peru | Galapagos Islands
| Morocco | Brazil | Cambodia | Vietnam | Egypt

Recommended Tour Operator

Travel Solo But Never Alone

Other comments

3 Comments on "What to Do: Small Group Tours"

  1. Tweets that mention What to Do: Small Group Tours | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- Topsy.com on Wed, 16th Jun 2010 5:55 pm 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry Ott, Liz M. Liz M said: RT @CareerBreakHQs Missed our presentation with @ottsworld on small group tours at @GapAdventuresNY ? Here's a recap! http://su.pr/2OD4jq […]

  2. megan on Sat, 19th Jun 2010 1:32 pm 

    I definitely agree with all these benefits of small group travel. I’ve taken a few small group/adventure tours when I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in one country (e.g. when I’ve only had a couple of weeks off work).

    I hadn’t planned to do any organised group travel on my own career break, but for some of the reasons above I decided to book a group trip in Egypt – I feel guilty to say it so early on, but I’m looking forward to having someone take care of the decisions, accommodation and transport for me, even if it is only for 8 days!

  3. Sherry Ott on Sun, 20th Jun 2010 9:24 pm 

    Megan – I did a small group tour in Egypt and it was one of the best decisions I made. You can’t really travel independently through Egypt…very hard to do. Don’t feel bad about about having someone else do the planning…trust me – you’ll need a little vacation from your Career Break!
    Be sure to check back with us and let us know how you liked the Egypt small group tour – we’d love to get your take on it!

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