When I was 17 my friends from college and I went on a group holiday to Ibiza. It was a week of excessive drinking, falling out and broken ankles. Upon our return out of 12 of us only 4 were still talking to each other. Until recently that experience was my only one of group holidays and I was always very dubious. Family group holidays are a slightly different kettle of fish and have the potential to be even more troublesome.
So what are the pros and cons of a group adventure? The cons are fairly obvious:
- It is harder to make decisions meaning simple things like eating become a massive argument.
- Travelling with people you know and in some case don’t know can put a strain on your personal space. It’s difficult to find ‘alone’ time on holiday.
- It can prohibit freedom. Trying to get a large group somewhere or to do something is tiresome and sometimes you do just want to go wandering down an interesting laneway.
- Shared experiences. Have you ever been on holiday with your boyfriend/girlfriend and then tried to explain your amazing trip to your friends? Well often they lose interest after the 90th photo. Travelling with them means lifelong memories that will bond your forever.
- There’s someone else to rely on. If you get into trouble you’re surrounded by your close friends and/or family who will help you out whether that’s sitting in a Greek hospital while your broken foot is mended or lending you some cash.
- Safety. As with the above groups are often safer than travelling alone, Thieves and pickpockets are less likely to target you if you’re with a group of men and women.
- It can work out cheaper. Booking in bulk and usually for groups of 10 more can result in a nice discount and you don’t need to worry about single supplements.
- Travelling in groups allows you to do things you might not get to do otherwise. Say, for example, your husband loves trekking and you don’t, you can travel with friends somewhere else to say, lie on the beach or visit India. You don’t miss out and neither does he.
Are there any destinations which lend themselves to the group experience? Yes lots. Ever wanted to climb Kilimanjaro? Well the majority of people who trek are in either a group of friends or social club, or they’re singles who are out together in a group through a travel company. Trekking is a solo pursuit to some extent but you still need other company trekking alongside just in case. If you decide to climb Kilimanjaro you will need a guide to show you the way. There are lots of holiday companies that offer Kili trips and they will either let you book as a group of friends or as a single. You will then end up in a group of other single trekkers who you can rely on for the duration of your trip and I’ll bet become lifelong friends with.
Away from trekking, long trips to developing countries or activity holidays also lend themselves to group holidays. A week in Andorra rafting, cycling and walking is a week best shared with your partner, friends or family. If you are a single passenger then try an adventure company as they will no doubt run a solos trip meaning you can make friends there. The ongoing/round-the-word/gap year trip can be daunting alone as much as we might think we want to do it. Places like India, Thailand or Peru are hot destinations for groups of friends, school groups and solo travellers alike. The ‘foreigness’ of these places means most of us feel happier with a group of travellers than alone.
With all of the above in mind and my recent climb to Kilimanjaro I have to come to the conclusion that while we’d all love to go it alone, going together is actually more fun and safer. A shared moment is a living moment and not one you might doubt later.