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Travelling Solo: How tour groups can ease you into the best adventure of your life

Have you given up on trying to coordinate your friends and decided to go travelling alone? Does this idea absolutely terrify and excite you at the same time?

What if I told you that you could have guaranteed friends as soon as you get there… Be safely accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide from the area… And be able to sit back, relax and know everything is planned for you?!


When I started planning my backpacking trip, I knew that I was slightly nervous about travelling solo. I had never been the most outgoing or confident person and preferred one-to-one friendships than being in a large group of people.

Not only this, I had only ever travelled to destinations in Europe and the USA and didn’t know what to expect when immersing myself in South-East Asian countries and cultures. How did ‘backpacking’ even work, anyway?!

I decided that, before going it alone and throwing myself into the deep-end, I would ease myself into the experience by booking a place in a tour group for the first 30 days of my adventure.


By doing this,  I knew that I was going to start the experience the right way:

  • In a highly-organized and safe environment.
  • With plenty of time to adjust to the culture shock of a completely different part of the world and living style.
  • With confidence knowing that I didn’t have to initially worry about accommodation and travel itineraries.
  • With incredible ‘insider’ knowledge from a local tour guide who could enrich each destination and teach us things that we could never have known by ourselves.
  • And (most importantly to me) with peace of mind that I would instantly be joining a group of like-minded travellers my age and not be left alone crying on the streets of Bangkok!

I chose G-Adventures’ 30 day ‘Indochina Discovery tour:

Gadventures logo
Indochina discovery


And I have absolutely no regrets.


The benefits of my decision started VERY quickly… After arriving at London Heathrow airport on the day of my departure, nerves mercilessly kicking away at my stomach, I straight away spotted a girl around my age waiting at the same departure gate.

Well, this is as good a time as any to start talking to strangers! 

After plucking up the courage to introduce myself, we discovered that we were both heading to Bangkok to join the exact same tour group – I had been a nervous ‘solo’ traveller for a record 20 minutes.

We arrived in Bangkok, got picked up by the bus arranged by the tour company, checked into our hotel and spent the day together wandering around Bangkok adjusting to the heat, smells and sights. It was all so easy, we got on really well and I was instantly SO grateful for booking the tour!


We met with the tour guide, Kit, and the other 16 group members that evening and I felt an intense buzz in the air as we all introduced ourselves and shared our excitement of what was to come over our first Thai dinner. I felt safe my first night in the hotel with my Norwegian roommate, confident in the plan given to us for when to wake up and what bus to get on in the morning and excited to learn everything first-hand from the guide.


I never once felt isolated or self-conscious throughout the entire 30-day trip. Every single person in the group was friendly, energetic and care-free: Traits that I soon came to realize are shared by every person who decides to throw in the towel and go explore the world!


My initial worries were a waste of time. Less than 24 hours after meeting with my tour group, we felt as though we had known each other for years. The experiences we shared together at unforgettable destinations over the subsequent 30 days cemented our friendships indefinitely.


The tour group package made it possible for me to adjust to backpacking life with absolutely no stress.
I started my journey with the support that I needed so that I could successfully go on to backpack alone for the next 4 months.

I cannot recommend tour group experiences like the ones offered by G-Adventures enough for those nervous about travelling alone. I would do it again in the heartbeat.


Check out my full G-Adventures tour by clicking on the countries below:

CAMBODIA
VIETNAM
LAOS
THAILAND


COMMENT BELOW
What are your experiences with tour group packages?
Would you recommend them to other solo travellers?

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Lauren Bolger
    April 8, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I absolutely love this post! Haha remember those watermelon slushies? Miss you first travel buddy!

  • Reply
    Moon
    April 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Glad to hear you had a good time 🙂 Travel becomes memorable when we have great companions

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 18, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      I completely agree Moon! And it definitely brings people closer much quicker too. We felt like family very fast.

  • Reply
    Stacy Karyn
    April 18, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I love traveling solo and am always so happy to read about other people who are trying it out as well. Such an incredible experience that can help shape you into a more well-rounded person. Hopefully you’ll inspire some other people to take on the adventure too!

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 19, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Very true. The experience has had a HUGE impact on the person I am today and I dream about doing it all over again day in day out! I really hope this does inspire people to just go for it. I always say no matter how shy or scared you are, you’ll never regret it.

  • Reply
    Jubilee D Meyer
    April 18, 2018 at 10:28 am

    What an amazing experience to have! I love Chiang Mai! It is my favorite place i’ve ever been

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 19, 2018 at 9:44 am

      We didn’t spend that much time there, unfortunately, but we saw the Cabaret show and volunteered with elephants there which are probably some of the best memories of the whole trip!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    There are so many places on this planet that I really want to visit and it can be tough to find people to travel with because there is –of course– a lot to go into it. I’ve debated on travelling alone and you’ve really inspired me.

    Great post! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 19, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Oh I’m so glad to hear that! It is nearly impossible to find a time that is suitable for everyone to go… There was always ‘work’ or ‘family’ or something else that delayed it, so I just went for it by myself! Honestly, it will be the best thing you ever do and you meet people almost instantly. Let me know if you ever go 🙂

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 18, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    This looks/sounds like so much fun!

  • Reply
    Nadalie Bardo
    April 18, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    I have traveled solo a few times and I know the feeling. It goes away after a few trips alone. I would love to plan a trip that would last at least 2 months minimum traveling East Asia.

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 23, 2018 at 10:07 am

      I would definitely recommend at least 1 month for East Asia – 2 is even better! There is SO much to see and experience. Let me know when you go so I can live vicariously through you hehe

  • Reply
    Moni
    April 19, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I am still not a big fan of traveling with organized groups, I do prefer to organize everything on my own and to travel with my soul-mate. But your story gave me some interesting ideas about the itinerary in Asia. From your map, I can see that you visited lots of interesting places.

    Best,
    Moni

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 23, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Hi Moni! That’s great that you’ve found a way of travelling that works for you. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a person available to come with me and had little experience of organising my own travel so this was a perfect choice for me. I’m glad that this post inspired your Asia itinerary – Hope you make it out there!

  • Reply
    Nickle
    April 19, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Looks so much fun. I know some people who took a similar trip last year. I’d love to go on this tour too but maybe next year or the year after that. You spent 30 days on this trip? WOW. Very nice.

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 23, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Yes – Followed by another 10 months travelling SE Asia and Australia. Once the travel bugs gets you, you’ve got no chance of escaping!

  • Reply
    Nailil
    April 19, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Ok, this seems like a perfect way to travel. And I will admit, I didn’t know travel groups were a thing. 🙂
    Nailil
    http://www.thirtyminusone.com

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 23, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Hi Nailil – Pleased to know this post showed you a new way to travel. Go for it, you won’t regret it!

  • Reply
    Tionna
    April 19, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Aww, getting serious wanderlust after reading this. I’ve never traveled alone before but reading about your experience has definitely intrigued me to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      April 23, 2018 at 10:19 am

      YES Tionna! I was in exactly the same boat as you and I had the best time of my life. Let me know if you decide to itch that wanderlust!

  • Reply
    kat
    April 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    ah this trip looks amazing! love all the pics 🙂

  • Reply
    Brittany
    April 20, 2018 at 12:19 am

    Oh my
    Goodness I would be so nervous to go on that adventure solo too! What a cool group you had to experience all of that with you! Looks like an exciting trip!

  • Reply
    The Travel Bunny
    April 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    In the past, I was always worried about travelling solo. Until I had no other choice. It was for short periods, in a longer trip, when my friends and I split up depending on our own interests. Once tried, it wasn’t bad at all. It was quite good to do only what I wanted 🙂

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