The Pros & Cons of Private vs. Group Tours

When it comes to planning a once in a lifetime vacation, you want to make sure that you get exactly what you want out of your trip. For many people, planning a trip to an exotic location can be confusing. Not only have you likely not been to the location before, but also you may have a lot of questions about the local culture and need expert advice on which activities and sites not to miss.

That’s where becoming part of a tour group can help. You’ll need to decide, though, whether a private or a group tour is best for you. The decision will likely take a number of factors into consideration. To help you out, we’ve assembled the pros and cons of both private versus group tours.

Group Tours

Pro: Lower price
Let’s start with the group tour. The most obvious pro to booking a group tour for your next vacation is the price. Typically, a group tour comes at a lower price when compared to a more stylized, private tour.

Pro: Meet new people
Another pro to booking a group tour is that there is sometimes a sense of family togetherness fostered among members of the group. This type of tour offers the chance to meet new friends and acquaintances, in some cases, from all over the globe.

Con: Fixed dates & itineraries
This brings us to the cons of group tours. You normally aren’t allowed much leeway in terms of the tour you take when you sign up for a group tour. Normally, these types of tours rely on pre-fixed departure and return dates with little to no flexibility. The itineraries are also commonly set well in advance and are not available to be altered by vacationers.

Con: Fixed transportation
As well, another con to group travel is fixed transportation. This usually means a large tour bus that makes pre-planned stops and may even lead to you missing out on certain locations and sites. Some historic sites may not have room to accommodate large buses.

Con: Tourist-rich experiences
Group tours also heavily rely on tourist-rich activities and sightseeing. For travelers in search of a more “authentic” adventure, you may not find yourself fully immersed in the culture of a region by taking part in a large group tour.

Private Tours

Pro: Customized for travelers
Next, we look at private tours. For many travelers, private tours afford unique vacation opportunities that can be customized to reflect personal needs and wants. You don’t have to depend on pre-planned itineraries. Private tours are designed around what travelers want to get out of their vacations.

Pro: You set dates/times
Along with this, it is up to you to set up the private tour and guide to fit your schedule. With a private tour, you can set the date which is most convenient to you. You can also choose to stay in one destination longer, and one shorter. You don’t have to depend on going along with the group. Additionally, you can make your vacation as short as you want, or extend it as long as you want and you can afford.

Pro: Vacation with friends/family
Another pro to taking a private tour is that you know your fellow travelers. Because the tours are private, you get to decide who joins in on the tour. This may mean just your immediate family, your extended family or your invited friends. You don’t have to worry about vacationing with strangers if you don’t want to.

Pro: Private transportation
With a private tour group, you can also rely more on private transportation to get you around. While large tour groups may end up on large buses and other services, small private tour groups often get around by private car or minibus, offering travelers more flexibility.

Pro: Special assistance
Private tours are also useful for those who need some extra assistance, including older relatives, those with small children, or travelers with disabilities.

Con: Cost (sometimes)
As for the cons to private tours, such tours do traditionally cost more money. However, because you are planning the vacation you want, you aren’t wasting money on things you don’t want to do or see. If you don’t want to stay in a luxury resort, for example, you don’t have to. That’s more money for you to take part in the range of activities that you do want, making a more meaningful vacation for you to remember for a lifetime.

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