Enjoy the last post in my ‘Too Broke To Travel’ series.
While traveling alone has its benefits, a travel buddy or group can help reduce traveling costs, provide trip planning assistance, and have you making new friends on a vacation you could not have created on your own.
Saving money. That you want to get the best deal for the most reasonable price aka ‘great trip for cheap’, is no secret. Let’s do some quick math (the following is all hypothetical numbers):
- 4-night stay at Virgin Islands all-inclusive beach resort – $199/night ($796+, incld. daily resort fees, surcharges, and taxes)
- Roundtrip flight from Midway International Airport (Chicago, IL) to Cyril E. King Airport (British Virgin Islands) – $345/flight ($690)
- Airport transportation (to resort) – $50/way ($100)
- Not included in resort’s all-inclusive food & shopping – $225
- Cab fare for island traveling (3 round trips) – $150
For one person, traveling alone, this vacation is already upwards of $1,961. While you may not get discounted flights or save anymore on your souvenir shopping, the resort stay, airport transportation, and cab fare can be split.
So let’s add one other person to this trip. And a $1 cab surcharge for an additional person in the cab ($6; $1 per trip). Now the trip is down to around, $1,441 per person.
Lastly, let’s think BIG. Using this example, let’s use 8 travelers in a group. We’ll change the resort stay to a villa rental ($1241/night). Since this group won’t be lodging at an all-inclusive resort, we’ll add $100 to the original $75 food budget and upgrade from cabs to car rental for $237 (with a driver included). Let’s create an activity budget as well ($75). Now this trip costs: $631.25 per person.
Plus, for things like tours, museum trips, and zoo visits group discounts are available.
Trip planning assistance. Unless you’re the group’s leader, planning the details of, say, the trip example above will not be your responsibility. You’ll need to go through the travel group’s membership process, either go through the group leader or trip travel agent to book your spot on the trip then make sure you make your trip deposit and subsequent payments. Depending on what group you’re in, you may have activity input. If that is the case in the group you join and you just want to go with the flow that’s been picked out, that option stands, too.
Make new friends. By joining a travel club and going on group trips, you’re able to meet and spend time with new people. Whether you’re the introverted or extroverted type, this can be fun. Ideally, your travel club is composed of like-minded/similar life-styled people so you’d be traveling and making friends with people you would under other circumstances, too.
Another thing is security. Would you feel safer traveling abroad alone or with a group? Think about it.
The obvious cons are: when traveling with more than just yourself, you have to coordinate activities with the wants of everyone. Hopefully they’re all activities that you enjoy. The other thing is having to move around on other people’s time. Let’s say you get dressed fast and early for breakfast. Then you have to wait on the other members of your group to finish getting ready. Remember, though, you don’t have to spend all your vacation time with your group. You can branch out and do some sightseeing or side activity alone or with another group member or two.