If you're unimpressed by the concept of filing on to coaches en masse or following a guide with an umbrella - that’s definitely NOT what you’ll find on a small group adventure tour! In fact we think there are plenty of hidden benefits of small group travel - and here's why...

What is small group travel?

Group tours (also known as adventure tours) place an emphasis on adventure (no surprise there) and make an effort to take you off the beaten track so you can experience a country from the inside. They tend to share a few things in common; group sizes are limited (normally to about 15 people) and, this type of exploration is more about being a traveller than being a tourist. There is an array of different adventure tours to choose from, whether you fancy trekking to Everest base camp, exploring Amazonian backwaters or driving across the Serengeti in search of the ‘Big 5’.

Many people decide to go travelling alone, but opt to include a small group tour or two, in order to meet people or to get off the beaten track in a destination that's safer to travel with a group.

Which type of tour should I choose?

If you’re after advice on including a tour in your round the world trip, you’ve come to the right place. Most of our consultants have been on adventure tours so we’re perfectly placed to advise on what which type of tour will suit you best. We work with an extensive range of specialist tour operators, but G Adventures is our main partner.

With G Adventures, there are many different styles of tour, for example, family tours, "18-30 Something" tours (often shoestring tours or they may include camping to keep the price down), 'National Geographic Journeys' (which have more comfortable accommodation and more included experiences) and 'Classic' tours which suit most ages. We can explain the differences help you decide which tour to go with.

The Great Wall of China

So that's what we mean when we're talking about small group travel - and here are some reasons why we rate this kind of travel so highly:

1. See the world with like-minded companions

You’ll get a kick out of being in the company of like-minded travellers who are taking time to explore the same part of the world as you, in the same way. Shared interest and experience tends to bond people together very quickly, whether you’re travelling on a converted truck across Africa or kayaking in Costa Rica. Small group tours generally consist of 10-15 people, all sharing amazing, often life-changing experiences. You’re bound to come away from your tour experience with great memories and some new friends!

2. Get further off the beaten track than you would on your own

Taking a tour is like independent travel, but without the organisational hassle and it’s especially beneficial if you’re short on time but want to explore more than superficially. In addition to the iconic sights, your tour guide will take you off the beaten track to enjoy a real taste of local life and discover tucked away places untouched by tourism. No queuing for bus tickets or haggling over the cost of accommodation – the logistics will be organised for you, which means you’ll spend more time experiencing the locale.

Thai monks

3. Enjoy authentic, local experiences as you travel

Throughout the course of your tour, you’ll come face to face with fascinating cultures, customs and wildlife, as well as staying in local accommodation, which is an integral part of any adventure. Depending on where you stay, that could mean camping, small hotels/pensions, maybe even a yurt! You’ll also be travelling by local transport which is another opportunity to meet local people and gain real insight into the country you’re visiting.

4. See and do more with others than you would by yourself

You can choose the tour that takes in all your ‘must-see’ sights, whether you’re a history, nature or adrenalin activity enthusiast! Joining a tour will allow you to see far more of a country in a short space of time than you could do if you were travelling independently.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

5. Learn from your experienced tour guide

An enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guide is often what makes the difference between a good tour and a great tour. An invaluable source of information on local culture, history and sights, your experienced, local tour guide will also deal with all the time consuming jobs like buying train tickets, and organising national park permits.

6. Budget in advance for your trip and get great value for money

Not only can group tours be outstanding value for money – many people find that having a tour booked makes it easier to budget for the trip. Once you’ve paid for your trip and the kitty, all you need is some spending money for things like beer and personal items.

Macchu Pichu, Peru

7. Reduce your environmental impact

Travelling in a small group using public transport or even under your own steam, is more environmentally friendly. Even when you do travel in a private vehicle, group travel leaves a much lighter carbon footprint than if you each hired a car. All the tour operators Travel Nation work with take responsible tourism very seriously.

8. Never worry about paying a single person supplement

If you’re travelling on your own, a tour won’t penalise you when it comes to single person supplements. On average, around 50% of tour groups are made up of people travelling on their own, so tour operators will pair you up with a room mate of the same sex so you don’t have to pay any extra. Obviously if you want your own room - that’s fine too, and a supplement would then apply.

9. Keep yourself safe and secure

If you are part of a travel group, you and your possessions are much less of a target for criminals. Similarly, if you get ill or injured, you have the immediate help of your tour leader.

10. Enjoy travelling in whatever style suits you down to the ground

If you’re starting to think about a tour – be assured, it's not a case of one style fits all, in fact there’s a huge array to choose from. In terms of destination - whether you’re looking for a safari, a trek, a family-friendly tour or an exotic expedition, we can always find you something that fits from amongst all the tour operators. You also have choices in terms of style – from basic all the way up to luxury accommodation, independent travel to small group. Whatever you prefer – talk to us and we can find something that meets all your needs!

How to book a tour

There are a few ways to go about finding the right tour for yourself. If you know which country you'd like to visit, you can call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.  We will listen to your requirements and suggest tours from different operators which might appeal to you.

Hike through the Hooker Valley in New Zealand | Travel Nation

Into the wild: an active New Zealand South Island tour

Chris West

Senior Travel Consultant
at Travel Nation
Visit Canada in autumn | Travel Nation

7 Reasons to visit Canada in autumn

Bryony Dunn

Marketing Manager
at Travel Nation
Request a quote