Pros and cons of a group trip
I just got back from a 10-day trip to Morocco. And there's a lot to unpack. Instead of writing a ginormous post covering every aspect of the trip, I'll break it down by theme.
This was the first time I was travelling with a group of people I didn't know. Also a first: I did not plan this trip. Aside from booking my flight, booking airport transfer and a hotel room for my first night in Casablanca—I arrived a day early—, I've left the planning to the travel company. I rate this trip an 8 out of 10. I took off 1.5 points for the hiking situation. More on this later. I removed another 0.5 point for shopping. It felt like we were expected to shop in specific stores. Aside from these 2 negative points, the trip was awesome. I'd tweak a few activities, but that would be more of a personal preference than a dislike. Pro: Meeting new people This was my main goal for this trip. And I'm happy with the results.
I travelled with Sisters Traveling Solo, a black-woman owned travel company who specializes in cultural trips and who offers trip planning services. They are also a Facebook group, where women who already travel solo or plan to do so share tips and experiences. It is a very positive space. I picked them because I enjoy being a part of the Facebook group and because their itineraries are always very interesting. I was sure to enjoy the company and the trip itself. And I did. Con: Not doing any of the planning Throughout the trip, I debated whether or not this was a pro or a con. See, I enjoy planning my trips. I've even done some research for friends who were travelling to destinations I haven't travelled to before. Also, when planning my own trips I cater to myself and the activities I pick are based on my likes and my comfort zone. I didn't expect that from a group trip. Mind you, I enjoyed waking up in the morning and not having to worry about how the day would go. Someone else was in charge of making sure that everything went well. It was quite relaxing at times. I finally opted to list this as a con because of the hike. If you don't follow me on Facebook you may not know that I saw my God. I honestly thought that I wouldn't make it. Thanks to 4 awesome women, I made it back unscathed, physically. I was an emotional wreck for the rest of the day. This is not an activity I would have planned. Which leads me to another con: my lack of research.
Video by Maria G. (Sisters Travelling Solo)
Con: The false sense of not having to research I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to trip planning. I decided to let go for that trip.
Had I done my due diligence, which would somewhat defy the purpose of embarking on a group trip (i.e. letting another person take care of the planning aspect), I would have looked up hiking in the Chefchaouen region and I would have known that the hike wasn't for me.
Pro: The different perspectives
I enjoy seeing the world through other people's eyes. Travelling with a group allowed me to discuss what I've seen with 19 other women, all with different opinions and points of view. It was nice to wrap up the day with my travel companions.
Photo by Cole Banks (Sisters Traveling Solo)
Pro: Affordability and access to certain experiences The cost of my trip included accommodations, all meals (except 3 or 4 lunches), airport transfers, one local flight, ground transportation, activities. I paid extra for my flight, the extra night I spent in Casablanca, tips and shopping.
Volume allows you to negotiate lower rates. If I were to book the same accommodations as a solo traveller or as a travelling couple, hotel/riad fees would amount to a little over half of what I paid in total to the travel company. I also factor in the time I'd spend selecting accommodations. We also had access to a few activities that I wouldn't know to look for. For example, a herbalist gave us a lecture on Fezi herbal medicine, a group of female musicians entertained us one evening.
Pro: You can do your own thing
It is important to realize that no one forces you to do anything: you can do your own thing.
Say an activity doesn't really appeal to you or you're too tired from the previous day/activity, you can opt out. You can take time for yourself at any time. Of course, if it's a travel day, you have to stay with the group. Unless you choose to make your own way.
My first experience as part of a group trip was awesome. I met some very interesting women, and made a few friends. I'd definitely go on another group trig again, using the same company or another one.
Have you been on a group trip before? How was it?
Do you want me to share the top 5 things you should do to have a great experience during a group trip? Let me know!