In 26 years of running group tours, Taste Vacations founder and owner Allan Wright has heard something along the lines of “I would never go on a group tour” countless times.
Generally, those comments come from experienced travelers who are proud of their ability to travel on their own. We certainly respect the decision to travel independently and agree doing so has many benefits.
But if one never travels on a group tour, one cannot really make a comparison with that mode of travel. In other words, you might not know what you are missing. Read on for Allan’s experience as a world traveler, having done much travel both ways, and his suggested benefits of a private group tour.
My First Group Tour: Dordogne
The first group tour I ever took was a bicycle tour in France back in 1995 – 28 years ago! I had already traveled throughout Europe and to Africa and Asia and I was very proud of being a savvy world traveler. But in 1995 I was living in Poland and, for the first time in my life, I had a job that provided me more money than time. With a friend, I signed up for a group tour biking through the Dordogne countryside of France … and had one of the best vacations of my life (and eventually this led to launching Zephyr Adventures).
Saving time is one of the key reasons to sign up for a group tour. Even with so many more resources available to do research and planning via the internet it can take a LOT of time to plan hotels, meals, and activities on a tour. All of that is planned for you on a group tour.
It is also true that for active vacations, going with a tour operator solves many logistical problems that might not otherwise be easily solved. In my case back in 1995, I would simply never have done a multi-day biking tour in Dordogne or, for that matter, anywhere. Similarly, it is too challenging for most people to plan their own culinary tour well without being in a destination. Group travel thus make some tours and experiences possible you would otherwise never do.
Another huge benefit of a group tour is the local expertise you get. On a group tour you will have either a local guide or one who knows the area and this expertise can turn a good vacation into a great one or a great vacation into a stellar one. On all of our tours you’ll enjoy all aspects of the culinary experience – exceptional wine tastings and personal blending sessions, entertaining and educational cooking classes, behind-the-scenes brewery tours, and wine- or beer-paired meals. In fact, I am so thrilled with hiring local guides that when I am on a personal vacation, I will often hire a guide just for a day so I get the full local experience.
Saving time, dealing with challenging logistics, and gaining local experience are the three reasons I most often hear from people – like our travelers – who know the benefits of a private group tour. But I don’t believe these three are the main reason travelers keep coming back on tours. Instead, I am confident it is the “group bonding” of sharing a memorable experience with others who have similar interests that make group tours so fun.
When people think “group tour”, they think of a busload of older folks seeing large European cities or national parks behind glass windows. And I won’t knock that travel for those who like it. But this ignores that group tours tend to have a much more focused niche and tend to attract others who are interested in that niche. All of our itineraries are available as a private tour and with only 2 to 16 people on a trip, we make it possible to experience a place’s culture and hospitality on a more personal level.
We are experts in organizing private tours to the best culinary locations around the world, which means you get to go on vacation to savor great food and sample the local wine and beer with your friends and family, on your chosen dates, to your chosen destination. Doing something you love in the company of others with whom you have much in common is a form of “group bonding” I like to call “human magic” (when a group creates more fun than one person could create on his or her own) and this makes organized tours so powerful.
Equally as amazing is the opportunity for you to host a group trip for your club or organization, or to collaborate to offer group tours specifically tailored for your business, clients, or followers.
We launched Taste Vacations because we love exploring the world’s best food, wine, and beer destinations and wanted to share our passion with others. Our small Taste Vacations team has over 50 years of experience in the specialty tour industry and has the knowledge and experience needed to make your next vacation unforgettable. There are many benefits of a private group tour. See you on one soon?