Group Travel: Is it for you?

Group travel: is for you?

There’s no doubt that travelling in a group has it’s pluses and minuses, and travelling with a group of strangers brings a special set of rewards and risks.

I’ve undertaken many group trips and, on the whole, they’ve all worked out fine.

In fact, I’ve met some fascinating people along the way and I’d say I’ve travelled with decent people more times than with jerks.

But, it is a key area of a trip that you have no control over, and it’s not just other travellers, the crew are part of the group too!

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The group I travelled with for 6 months. We had our moments, but we were a good group.

My group travel theory

I have a theory about group travel, and it’s this.  Irrespective of how long your trip is, you start to unravel as a group in the last 10% of the trip.  So if you’re on a two-week trip the last day or so people are bit tetchy.  If it’s a month, it’s 3 days; 3-month trip, around 10 days; 6 months, then the last 2 or so weeks you can feel increasingly frustrated with others and impatient.

I think towards the end of a trip we are mentally and emotionally moving on to the next stage of our journey, be that going home and back to work, or on to further travels, or to start a new life elsewhere.  We begin to ‘check out’ of the current situation and our tolerance as reached its limit.

Handling tricky group dynamics

When travelling in a group, I try to see things from the other person’s perspective
If you have a tricky group situation, it’s not really up to the crew to sort it out. You’re travelling as adults, in an adult world and crew aren’t school teachers or parents.  Yes, they have a role in ensuring a harmonious trip as possible takes place; but so too does everyone in the group. After all, you’ve chosen to do it and (in most cases) paid a fair amount of money for the experience.  Why wouldn’t you want to get the most from it, enjoy each day and make it work?

Strategic seating

Chances are, in a group of adults, you’re not all going to get on, but you can try and be civil.  Not always possible, I appreciate that. The bigger the group, the more chance you’ve got of steering clear of people you’re not too keen on.  You can deploy a bit of ‘strategic seating’ at group meals or on transport.

In another section on the site, I’ve written my list of lesson’s that I’ve learned about group travel. We all have good and bad days and need to make allowances for that.  Some people are just particularly irritating and all you can do is manage how you feel and react.  Punching them isn’t usually a good option and you risk being sent off the trip.

Be realistic about what Overlanding can do for you

Before I left I was worried about not getting on with people, but in the end we made some great friends. 
If you think that going on an adventurous overland trip will: make your unhappy marriage happy or your teenager grow up, it’s highly unlikely.  I don’t think it will cure depression, cure addiction, or make you give up smoking either.  Also unlikely it will make you brave or cure anxiety.  It could make those issues harder to cope with when you’ve been sat in a truck for 12 hours, or freezing in a tent or feeling particularly lonely.

However, it can be a time for reflection and the beginning of a new start in your life.  You never know, you might meet the love of your life, or just spend time with some great people and see some amazing sights. In the end, you get out what you put in.

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PLEASE NOTE

Much of the information and advice expressed on this website is the personal opinion of the writer. If you choose to follow any advice you do so at your own risk with no recourse to the writer or Adventures in Overland.

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