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Group Travel: The Pros and Cons

When I think of group travel, the first thing that comes to my mind is a busload of silver-haired matriarchs headed to Branson, Missouri.  You know, crowded buses, truckstop restroom breaks, and quite likely a fair amount of snoring.

Furthermore, the idea that this baby boomer traveler would consider any form of group travel for an international trip was simply out of the question.  I’m far too independent, would prefer to have my own schedule, I love to experience world history when traveling, and I have little patience for some of the drama that I envisioned might happen when you throw a bunch of people together overseas.

Therefore, when Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) called to see if we might like to experience one of their new Connections journeys, my immediate response was, “no thanks”.  However, Carol fought back by reminding me that A&K is quite likely the world’s foremost luxury travel tour provider, had a new program that offered a fair amount of free time, and would save her literally months of planning, I easily succumbed to her batting eyelashes. (Full disclosure: Abercrombie & Kent graciously covered our travel costs in this case.)

Having recently returned from a week in Spain with A&K, I thought I might share with you the pros and cons of group travel from our first group travel experience:

Group Travel: The Pros

Group Travel: The Cons

Thankfully, our first experience was absolutely delightful.

We enjoyed fantastic luxury hotels, ate were the locals prefer to eat, never stood in a line, enjoyed unbelievably qualified tour guides, traveled in a small group of 12 people, had generally 3-4 hours of free time each day (and a local guide to help us decide what to do), never had to give a moments thought about the logistics of getting from point A to point B, and quite literally had more opportunity to immerse ourselves in the local culture at a price that I would have been hard pressed to duplicate on my own.

Now, I realize that not all group travel companies are equal.  You certainly need to do your homework and look for the recommendations of folks who have used the company before.  However, having said that, and while not willing to give up on my independent travel, I’m quite certain that we’ll consider another international group travel experience in the future.

Our first experience was simply brilliant, as one of our new British friends was quite fond of saying.

How about you?  Have you any group travel experience?  Would you consider group travel?

David and Carol Porter are contributors on the AARP blog, blog regularly at theroamingboomers.com and keep us updated on their travels via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.