- Location, Location, Location: The group tour to Cuba was so deeply meaningful to me because we were largely centered in Havana and really had the chance to dig into the city. While the bulk of the trip to Croatia was in, um, Croatia, we also darted into Montenegro and Slovenia. I really, intensely love spending enough time in one place to get the feel of its daily rhythm, to find that perfect bakery, to just park it in a park and people watch. Spending just a day or a single night per stop in Croatia didn’t allow for that. Which leads me to:
- Itinerary: When I reviewed the Croatia trip itinerary I was SO excited because it was jam-packed and incredibly robust. Word to the wise: If it sounds insane, it’s probably because it is. “Yay! We’re going to see so much!” turned into “(Sniffle) Why are we (sob) having to see so much?” Croatia was just flat out exhausting. It felt like a fly by. Which leads me to:
- The Postcard Tour: Beware of trips where you’ll see “all the great sites!” Who wants to see all the great sites? A massive wad of idiot tour groups on buses, that’s who. (So, in this instance, yours truly.) I like seeing the sites I want to see, sure, but I also like having down time to sit, observe, and just take it all in. Not gonna happen if your bus is stopping every 20 minutes along the coast for yet another “scenic outlook” shot.
So what did I learn? I should travel independently whenever possible. If there’s a trip where I feel like it’s safer, way cheaper, or impossible to do so legally solo (ie: Cuba), I’ll still absolutely consider a group tour. But I’ll consider it knowing that the number of stops we make will be directly proportional to how many sobbing freakouts I will have. Fancy vest wearers, you’ve been warned.
How about you? Any group tour advocates or adversaries out there? Would love to hear your take on the matter!