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Travel Groups for Solo Travelers: The Expert’s Guide

Group of girls travel to a vineyard.

If you’re a solo traveler, heading out with a travel group is the perfect way to explore the world without feeling isolated or overwhelmed. These groups provide the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, share unique experiences, and enjoy the safety and convenience of a well-organized itinerary. 

Now, before you go, you may have some questions, and that’s awesome! Fortunately, we’ve been at this whole group travel for solo travelers thing for quite a while now and we’ve learned quite a bit along the way. So, if this is your first international group travel experience as a solo traveler, don’t worry! 

We’ve got you covered so you can alleviate some of those pre-flight jitters and get ready for an amazing experience.

Who is group travel for?

A group of solo travelers on a street in Lisbon, Portugal.

Group travel attracts a pretty diverse range of customers, and solo travelers are a huge chunk of that (some studies put the number of solo travelers joining group tours at over 60%). The main reason that many travelers choose group travel as their entry into solo traveling is the companionship and safety it provides. They want to travel abroad for the first time, but they want to be sure that they will meet people along the way who share similar interests in a welcoming environment. 

Age ranges vary vastly from one solo group travel company to the next. Some, like FTLO, cater to those traveling abroad in their 20s and 30s, while others target travelers older or younger. It’s important to keep in mind that while the stereotypical solo traveler on a group trip may seem at first like a backpacker, there are solo travelers looking for far more than that. Some want more curated, local experiences, others prefer the convenience and organization factor that group travel brings. 

What is the best way to choose a reputable group travel company?

A man does research on group travel companies.

Research is key! Look for well-established solo travel groups with positive reviews and strong safety records. Websites like Trustpilot can provide insights into the experiences of past travelers. Additionally, travel forums like those found on Reddit and social media groups dedicated to solo travelers can offer recommendations and firsthand experiences. 

There are several different kinds of group tours aimed at solo travelers these days (in fact, we’ve blogged all about this before), so plan ahead and figure out exactly what you want before you put any money down and purchase those international flights. 

I'm not sure if group travel is right for me, and I’d really like some more info!

Two girls walk in an ice crevice.

Well, you’re in luck! Thankfully, most modern group travel companies have excellent Community Teams that will be more than happy to speak with you about any questions or concerns you may have. Often, you’ll be asked to fill out a profile so that they have all the relevant information they need to help you best.

When you do speak with a Community Team member, let them know what you’re interested in and they’ll provide recommendations for your first international trip based on your specific travel preferences. But don’t limit yourself; ask about anything you can think of (we’re talking international travel tips or even if you can pack light in only a carry-on bag). These teams are trained to help and to provide more than a few tips so that you can decide if group travel is the right move for you.

What are the social benefits of traveling in a group?

A group of travelers prepare a meal together with wine.

Traveling in a group opens the doors for lifelong friendships. You’re surrounded by fellow adventurers who share your passion for exploration and discovery. From sharing meals and stories to embarking on thrilling excursions together, these group experiences create strong bonds through community experiences. 

More often than not, that means lifelong friends and epic memories made. Whether it's a spontaneous hike to a hidden waterfall or a late-night conversation under a starlit sky, the moments you spend with your travel companions enrich the journey and make it unforgettable.

How does group travel simplify trip planning?

A girl on the rocky coast of Portugal.

Planning your first solo trip abroad can be overwhelming. Luckily, most group travel companies take care of all the logistics and provide a structured itinerary that you can enjoy without the hassle of organizing everything yourself.

With the details handled by the tour company, you can focus on enjoying your trip without any worries. All you’ve got to do is book your flights and your tour company will handle the rest. Transportation, accommodations, and sometimes even meals are meticulously organized for you, reducing the stress of planning. This allows you to immerse yourself in the experience, whether you're exploring a bustling city, relaxing on a golden beach, or venturing into the wilderness. The tour company ensures that every detail is taken care of so you can make the most of your vacation and create unforgettable memories.

Furthermore, any great group tour company will provide a local Trip Leader to run things on the ground with you. Think of them as your local expert who has all the inside info to help you get the most out of your trip.

Will I have to share a room with someone?

A hotel room in the desert of Jordan.

Most group travel companies offer two (or sometimes more) packages. Generally, if you purchase the base package, you will be paired with a roommate. Most companies will do research so that they can find the best roommate for you with the goal of creating an unforgettable bonding experience.

On top of that, you’ll usually have the option of booking a single for the duration of your trip if you’d like to have your own private room. Both options are great; it just depends on what you’re looking for. If you want more alone time, book a single; if you’re after something more social, book with a roommate.

Will I have alone time during group travel?

A girl looks out at the desert in Jordan.

While group travel involves shared experiences, there is often ample free time for solo exploration. Tour itineraries typically include periods where you can venture off on your own, allowing yourself a reset if you need it and, in turn, ensuring you don't miss out on the experience of a solo trip.

This balance allows travelers to enjoy the camaraderie and security of a group while still experiencing the unexpected moments that come from exploring a new international destination independently. Whether it's wandering through a local market, discovering hidden gems, or simply taking a minute to absorb the surroundings, these solo moments can be some of the most memorable parts of your trip.

Is group travel safe? How can I stay informed about safety while traveling?

Group travelers in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Group travel, in general, is incredibly safe. Not only are itineraries heavily researched to provide the safest experience, but most companies monitor the destinations they visit and provide real-time updates if anything occurs (you can check out FTLO’s Travel Advisories). 

Trip Leaders also provide useful information about potential risks and how to avoid them, including tips on safe areas to visit, local customs to be aware of, and advice on health and safety precautions. On top of that, when you’re in a group travel environment, you’ll always have a built-in buddy system, so you’ll be able to share taxis and stay out late. 

Can I choose my travel companions?

Two girls on a group trip at a vineyard.

Although you can’t personally select your fellow travelers, modern group tours attract diverse and interesting individuals from all walks of life. These tours are designed to bring together people who share a common sense of adventure and curiosity.

Companies often group travelers by age or interests (FTLO serves customers aged 25 to 39), increasing the likelihood of finding compatible companions. This thoughtful organization not only enhances the travel experience but also fosters lasting friendships and enriching conversations, making every journey more memorable.

What types of group travel options are available?

Three men on a group trip on a boat in the Mediterranean.

Adventure tours, historical experiences, small group trips; the options today are vast and varied. 

Cultural trips are ideal for those who wish to delve into the history, art, and traditions of a destination, offering a deep and enriching understanding of local heritage. Adventure tours are perfect for thrill-seekers who enjoy activities like hiking, rafting, and zip-lining, providing adrenaline-pumping experiences in breathtaking locations.

Wellness retreats focus on relaxation and rejuvenation, offering activities such as yoga and meditation, creating a serene environment for travelers to unwind and recharge. For foodies, gastronomic journeys are tailored to explore local cuisines and culinary techniques, providing a delicious and immersive culinary adventure.

How do I know what to pack for a group trip?

A bag packed for a group trip.

Most group travel companies will send out a packing list anywhere from a few months to a few weeks before departure so you know exactly what you need to bring. On top of that, there are tons of great blog posts out there (like this one on Japan) that will give you all the inside info you need to pack the perfect bag.

How do meals work on group trips?

Eating a ham and cheese plate in Italy.

Meals on group tours vary significantly. Some tours include shared meals, providing opportunities to dine with the group and enjoy pre-arranged menus that showcase regional cuisine. These meals often become social gatherings where you can bond with fellow travelers over local delicacies.

On the other hand, other tours give you the freedom to explore local eateries on your own (with recommendations from your Trip Leader), allowing you to venture into hidden gems and unique restaurants that cater to your personal taste preferences. This balance not only allows you to experience the camaraderie of group dining but also to savor culinary adventures independently, giving you an opportunity to explore a destination through the various food options.

Are group tours cost-effective?

A group of travelers explore the desert in a truck.

While group tours can sometimes appear more expensive initially, they often include essential costs such as accommodations, transportation, and guided activities. These tours typically come with experienced Trip Leaders who provide in-depth knowledge about the destinations and serve as your point of contact on the ground.

Additionally, as we mentioned previously, group travel can foster social connections, allowing you to meet like-minded individuals and share experiences. When all these factors are accounted for, group travel can offer exceptional value compared to solo travel, where you bear all expenses independently and miss out on the added benefits of a well-organized tour.

A New Kind of Travel

A group of girls drink wine at a vineyard on a group trip for solo travelers.

For those traveling solo who are seeking a blend of independence and community, group travel is the perfect option. It offers a great balance of camaraderie, safety, and personalized experiences. Whether you are a millennial wanderer or a first-time explorer, group travel can transform your solo journey into an enriching adventure shared with like-minded individuals.

Ready to embark on your next adventure? Check out FTLO’s international trips, and explore the world with confidence!

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I was so nervous about traveling solo, but this makes it seem so much more approachable. Definitely going to look into some group travel companies now. geometry dash

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