I have been an independent traveler for many years. While my boyfriend and I were on a year-long trip around the world this past year, there was so much planning that needed to be done. Every day I had to figure out where we were going to sleep, how we are going to get there, where to eat, what sights we should see, etc. I adore this part of traveling, but I was nearly burnt out from the constant revolving door of decision making. It was around then when I received a notification from Intrepid, (a group tour company). They were having a big sale, so we looked into it and decided to book one of their group trips through Morocco. After traveling on the group trip, I learned it is such a fun way to travel while getting to relax from planning duties!
These are my top 5 reasons to travel on a group trip!
1. Get a Local Perspective
One of the best parts about traveling on a group trip is that most of the time the tour includes a local guide. Our group trip through Morocco had a local guide with us the entire time. Anytime we had questions about cultural matters, she was always there to help explain. I have traveled to a lot of countries without a local guide and I was so grateful to have one during our time in Morocco. She shared things about herself, her family and her culture that I would have never gotten if I wasn’t traveling with a local.
One of the best things is she could translate for us all the time. Food menus, in shops, or bartering for goods in the markets- she would help us with talking to locals. During our bus rides from city to city, she would ask if we wanted to listen to local Moroccan music. She would teach us parts of the language, and interesting things about the culture. We really were able to bond with our guide and gain a Moroccan friend.
2. Make Friends
An unexpected perk of traveling on a group trip is making good friends with the other travelers in your trip! This was something I wasn’t expecting. Since I was traveling with my boyfriend, I wasn’t worried about having someone to talk to. But we made such good friends with everyone in our group.
Most group trips average from 10 to 17 people on the tour. Our group was 16 people ranging from 18-29 years old. Most of them were from Australia (we have since learned that Intrepid is an Australian company). Some were from the USA and England, while one was from South Africa.
There are solo travelers and couples on these trips. We made friends with everyone. So whether you are a solo traveler, a group, or a couple, you can definitely join a group trip and make lots of friends!
Everyone in the group was excited about travel, Morocco and learning about one another. Within a few days into the trip, we all were joking around and having so much fun, even on days when we had long bus rides to and from our destinations. At the end of the trip, many were staying extra days in Marrakesh and we all hung out with each even after the trip was over. I was honestly sad leaving Morocco saying goodbye to the wonderful friends we made! Now we all keep in touch in our Facebook group.
3. No Planning
This is one of the biggest reasons for booking a group trip for me! Since we were traveling full-time, it was such a relief to not have to book any accommodation, trains, busses, local tours or figure out where to eat or what to see for two weeks!
The companies that offer group trips know what people want to see, where to go, and more about the country than any research I can do myself. I trust them in planning what people want to see. They honestly surprised us; I feel like I got such a great deep dive into Morocco.
We got to experience things I really would not have been able to do on my own. We visited the the nomadic people of Morocco for tea and were welcomed into their temporary home. Our guide translated questions for us while we asked about how the nomadic people live. If we were traveling by ourselves, we would have seen the nomadic people on the side of the road and wouldn’t have even thought to stop and say hi or have been able to communicate with them.
Several times on the trip through Morocco I was in awe of the experiences we were having. Like when they showed us the local oven that locals use to bake their daily bread in a tiny town I think my heart melted. I had always seen these tiny bakeries in documentaries, but never would have just walked into one and been able to ask questions.
This was our route through our trip to Morocco. They have several different options for traveling Morocco, different durations, accommodation classes, and different age groups. So no matter what your age or budget, you should be able to find a group tour that works for you. I recommend several tour companies just a few paragraphs below!
4. Learn How to Travel the Region
If you are interested in traveling to a new continent or country, but a bit nervous or anxious, I suggest looking into a group tour. I was a bit worried about traveling Africa because I had not been to the continent before. You will have a local to teach you the customs and see through a well rounded perspective of the country before you are done.
During our almost two week stay in Morocco, we traveled through most of the country. With the help of our guide, I was able to ask questions about Morocco and the region that I was unsure about and get a different view than I would have just doing research about the country. For example, I learned that in each city in Morocco, the “official” taxis alway are a certain color- in Casablanca they are red, while in Meknes they are blue. I’m sure I will return to Morocco one day and feel much more comfortable about how to travel the country independently.
5. Great Value
Group trips are often affordable, making them a great value for your dollar! Honestly, after years of backpack traveling, I have to admit that our group trip was such a good deal. While we did purchase it on sale and chose a more budget friendly destination, I still believe group trips are a great deal. We were able to stay in nice accommodation, have all our transportation costs included, most meals, daily tours and excursions all paid for. Several times I would be shocked with how many activities we were doing in a day and my partner would agree that we would have never been able to plan all of this in the time frame for the price that we traveled for.
Most tour groups do offer different levels of group trips based on your budget. So if you’re a budget backpacker, like I am, you can definitely afford a group trip somewhere. If you’re looking to stay in nicer accommodations and have private transportation there are also options for you too.
Travel Tip: Sign up for the weekly emails from a travel company you are looking to travel on a group trip with. Odds are they will have a sale on some of their trips coming up and you won’t want to miss it! That’s how we traveled Morocco for $65 a day!
Companies that Offer Group Trips
Today, there are companies that offer group trips to almost any destination you’re thinking of for so many different types of durations. If you want to bike around Europe for 2 weeks, visit the Galapagos islands, see the deserts of Namibia, etc, there are group trips for you! Here is a list of some I have learned about through other travelers:
This is the company we chose to travel with for our first time visiting Morocco. We did the Essential Morocco trip that took us all around the country. I highly recommend Intrepid. We had an incredible time traveling with them. Our guide was so helpful, our accommodations were unique, and I felt like I truly experienced Morocco by the time the trip was over.
With Intrepid, they have many different types of trips for your budget, age, and days you are wanting to visit. Intrepid offers 3 levels of trips: Basix, for budget travelers, Original, for the middle level, then Comfort, which is for bigger budgets with nicer hotels. Intrepid also offers family group trips with destinations all over the world.
Our trip was for 18-29 year olds only and had the Basix level of accommodations, but they basically offer the same trip for any age (over 15) with the Comfort level of accommodations. Being a backpacker, I felt our accommodations were great. One night we even camped in the Sahara Desert with a nice tent!
Intrepid is a really diverse company for tours; if you’re looking to go to Antarctica, or cycle around Tanzania, or focus entirely on food for your trip, you can do that and so much more with Intrepid.
I can easily seeing myself booking another trip with Intrepid, as we just had an amazing time traveling with them. I think our next trip with them might be through India and Nepal!
While I have not traveled with G Adventures, I have heard great things about them. They seem very similar to Intrepid and have different trips based on your budget, age and interests for almost all of their destinations. From my research, it seems their trips are around the same costs as Intrepid too.
Exodus Travels is along the same lines of Intrepid and G adventures also, with tours running in over 100 countries! Some of their bestselling tours include trekking through the Amalfi Coast, or to Everest Base Camp, cycling the back roads of Sri Lanka, to exploring Peru.
EF tours has many different branches. You can travel all over the globe with the company, but it is definitely focused on the age range of 18-29 year olds. One of the branches focuses mainly on educational travel. The others focus on college spring breaks, taking a gap year, girl only travel and more.
EF Ultimate Break is really good for booking spring break group travels. And EF Go Ahead Tours is more like the Intrepid and G Adventures trips. I know people who have taken an EF Ultimate Break tour and really loved it.