How to Pick a Group Trip


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Bob Staake

Going on a group trip for your next vacation is a way to meet like-minded travelers and get more from your money, according to Heidi Podjavorsek, the vice president for sales and marketing at the Signature Travel Network and a specialist in group vacations. “Since the others on your trip are interested in the itinerary, you’re with people who share a common interest,” she said, “and the cost of the trip usually covers some meals, tours of popular attractions and other inclusions, which add up to a big money savings.”

There are hundreds of options when it comes to picking a group trip. Here, Ms. Podjavorsek shares her advice on finding the best one for you.

MATCH A TRIP TO YOUR STYLE All group trips to the same destination aren’t created equal, and it’s important to book one based on your priorities — some are activity-based, while others focus on culture, gastronomy or luxury accommodations. If you’re interested in Tuscan wine, for example, Butterfield & Robinson and Backroads offer bike tours of Tuscany, while the itineraries for the region from Abercrombie & Kent include access to some prestigious wineries and high-end meals. Trips from Globus and Trafalgar visit more wineries that are less exclusive; these trips also cost less.

IS FLEXIBILITY IMPORTANT? Some group trips, according to Ms. Podjavorsek, have itineraries with activities from morning through dinner and are ideal for travelers who want little free time. Others, such as those from G Adventures and Insight Vacations, allow for more flexibility — they may include only a half-day of activity while the rest of the day is left open for exploring on your own. Decide which appeals to you more.

THE CASE FOR A SMALLER GROUP Generally, a group trip shouldn’t have more than 16 people, Ms. Podjavorsek said. “Everything takes longer when you have more people, including hotel check-in and meals,” she said. Also, larger groups rely on buses for transportation, which are too big to get into the city centers of many small towns, especially in Europe. But a benefit of traveling with a larger group is the price — these trips are usually less expensive than their smaller counterparts.

AGE AND DIVERSITY If you want to travel with people in your age range, pick a trip accordingly. Companies that tend to attract travelers older than 50 include Insight Vacations, Globus and Natural Habitat Adventures. Younger travelers are drawn to G Adventures, Contiki Tours and Cosmos. If you want to travel with people from countries besides the United States, trips from Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Abercrombie & Kent attract travelers from around the world.

IS IT FAMILY-FRIENDLY? Many group trips aren’t ideal if you’re traveling with young children or teenagers, while some are meant specifically for families. Adventures by Disney, Backroads, Butterfield & Robinson, Tauck Bridges, Trafalgar and Cox & Kings offer high-quality family-friendly group trips.

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