Group Tours for 30 somethings

Jan 11th, 2014, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Group Tours for 30 somethings

Hi There,

I'm a single girl in my thirties. I've always travelled independently in the past but I don't really want to spend two weeks alone anymore. I'd like to try a group tour but I'm scared to death of getting stuck with a load of 18 year olds who want to party every night. Any suggestions? I just want to travel with people my own age.

Jane_london is offline  
Jan 11th, 2014, 06:52 PM
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thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 12th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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How to put this. Hmmm, OK, I've opted for bluntly.

There is a relatively well known tour company in the UK called Solos. Their name explains their customer base.

At one time I used to see their groups in a local bar quite frequently. They would stay in a local hotel and come into this bar (a friend of mine owned it) on one or two evenings in a week. So if you've got the picture, I saw dozens of these groups over a period of time. Now here's the point.

Each of these groups of 15 or so, were a group of what I can only refer to as 'losers'.

So my point Jane is that it isn't 18 year old partiers I'd be worried about, it's the 35 year old guy with bad breath; a major case of dandruff; poor hygiene; who won't leave you alone; that I'd be worrying about on a singles tour.

Now I will point out that the groups I saw were on a 'sun' trip and the company does offer different types of trips. So it may be that which type of trip you choose would influence which 'type' of people you will find yourself with. I kinda doubt the people I saw would be booking the 'Verona Opera Tour' for example.

The company did win a 'best solo' award apprently but that might just mean they got the most bookings.

Personally, the idea of being forced to spend my time with any group of people I don't know makes me shudder. Even in the best case scenario I have to think there will be one or two in the group who I really don't want to know.

If I put myself in your shoes however and say, 'I don't want to travel alone so how do I find a group of people I WOULD be willing to spend my time with?', that's a different kettle of fish isn't it. I won't look for a tour company, I will look for the right group composition. So how to find a group of 'your kind of people' becomes the question.

Clubs often organize tours for example. A photography club might organize a tour for members. As a club member you would know the people who are going and whether you would be willing to spend your 2 weeks in their company. I see that as a far lower risk than a tour involving complete strangers.

So my advice, look for a group, not a tour company.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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I should have added another example. I have always been into hiking and wilderness backpacking. For many years I belonged to a local hiking club. Every year, individual members of the club would organize trips to various places. As they were member organized, they were non-profit which doesn't hurt does it.

I went on at least a dozen of those trips and every one was well worth my time and money. I knew the people, knew their strengths and weaknesses in various aspects and there were no suprises. Some of the best memories I have of travel involve some of those trips. So I have to say that while I consider myself a definite 'no tour' person, I really should qualify that as a 'no tour with strangers and using a tour company' person.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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Rick Steves
suze is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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G Adventures tends to have a younger crowd than many groups, but not the annoying "let's spend the next two weeks getting sloshed in six different countries!" type. I've had really good luck with traveling with a few different tour groups, usually as one of the youngest ones on the trip, and it often works out quite well. The cheaper-midrange trips tend to attract younger adults rather than the blue hair and walkers brigade.

It might also work well to join with a couple of different groups... a few days here, a few days there, etc rather than the entire time with just one group. That way if you find people annoying you're only stuck with them for a couple days. A tour group that has fewer members (say 10-12 rather than 40) will also give a different experience.

Look at the tours that you're interested in and get more information from there. The group you're with can really make or break a trip but you have to like the location you're going to or it's not worth it. Trips to western Europe are going to attract a different genre than trips to southeast Asia.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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Not Rick Steves. They tend to skew older. Intrepid.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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I'm not sure - but I think the OP really isn't looking for suggestions. About 2 minutes after she started this thread another brand new member registered and posted a glowing recommendation for some UK tour company for 30-somethings. (I saw it when they both first posted before the moderators later deleted the second post).

It is just toooooooo coincidental that she posts and some unrelated stranger just happens to immediately post the answer.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2014, 04:58 AM
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Thanks everyone.

I really agree that it can make or break your trip. I'm thinking of heading over to Vietnam/Cambodia or possibly Thailand. If you can recommend any good companies that would be great.

I'm now thinking of doing a couple of short tours like Iowa_Redhead suggested.

There are so many companies out there its hard to choose.
Jane_london is offline  
Jan 15th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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So do it yourself. It is very, very easy to travel independently in southeast Asia, and you will meet other travelers if you stay in smaller hotels. Otherwise. Intrepid.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 16th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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I've been on a couple G Adventures tours and loved them.
I haven't done SE Asia (yet) but I have been to Africa and India with them.
I completely understand where you are coming from- I am happy/capable traveling alone, but it's really nice to have a group to enjoy.
They have a couple of levels of trip, I would avoid the 'YOLO' ones, as those, in my experience, attract the type that like to have multiple beers in the evening.
the 'Standard' level tours I have done have been a mix, I've been the youngest every time (I'm 23) but most have been late 20's-early 30's, and there has always been 2-3 'older' travelers (50's/60's) who I have really enjoyed having along.
foggybridges is offline  
Jan 16th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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I've been to Thailand with Friendly Planet and am planning to go to Vietnam and Cambodia with them this year. I don't really know what their demographic is but our trip was mostly composed of 30 somethings with a few older travelers. It was a good mix of couples, friends, and solo travelers. I particularly enjoyed the "free days" with no scheduled tours. Loved being able to skip off and do my own thing. I joined up with other travelers a few times and had fun. Whatever you pick, look at itineraries first to get an idea of whether a particular group tour is for you.
Hobbert is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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I did Vietnam with Intrepid and quite enjoyed it. There were just 6 of us on our tour - ages ranged from late 20's to early 40's so right in your age range. (Intrepid used to be a partner company with G Adventures so they offer similar itineraries). I also traveled to Peru with Intrepid on one of their Comfort classed trips and I was the youngest (46) on the tour.

Other companies I have either looked at or travelled with are:
Imaginative Traveller - travelled to Egypt
Encounter Overland (now Dragoman) - travelled to Africa
Explore - was going to go to Cambodia with them but they cancelled the trip

Hope this helps.
DJCat is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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I went to Jordan with Explore and wouldn't recommend them. Would consider Imaginative Traveler or Peregrine/Gecko, although I haven't traveled with them.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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I ran into the Gecko group in Bolivia and they were mostly older than 30s.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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I too am interested in a Thailand Laos trip. I am in my 40s, but a young 40! I will go look into lonely planet now Jane, have you found anything more?
theta is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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H Theta,

I've done loads of research now and decided to go to Vietnam with a small group tour company The Flash Pack. I don't fancy being stuck with loads of people. Small group tours are best I think. Lots of companies that do them.

Cheers for all the help
Jane_london is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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Hi Jane_london,
Wondering how the trip with The Flash Pack went? I am thinking of booking travel with them to Vietnam. I think their prices are quite high, but then again I'm in the USA. I am just wondering if you would recommend them. I would be traveling solo. Thank you!
mim_la is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 09:35 AM
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Hi Jane_london
Maybe you can join cabin gulet cruise or sharing boat charters.. if you type on search enginess you will understand what I mean.
hope this kind of holiday can help you, take care
yngyachtingturkey is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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I'm a 30 year-old and have been traveling extensively on my own, sometimes joining a group tour and sometimes planning things myself. Here are my two cents for my fellow solo [relatively-young] female travelers:

First of all, for those who are new to traveling, DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU TO SIMPLY DO IT ON YOUR OWN. Yes it is easily doable for many, but it is certainly not for everyone -- SE Asia can be chaotic and hard to navigate, and being in a foreign country thousands of miles from home where you don't speak the language can be hard to cope with at times. If you are very social and active, not easily intimidated by things/people/cultures drastically different from what you're used to, then I'd say go for it. If you're just a typical 30 year-old girl who has never traveled on her own, I would strongly suggest starting with a group tour.

I've used mostly these two companies in the past: Intrepid and G Adventures. They are not one of those "singles vacation" companies that offer tours with a romantic connotation. The people that I've met on my tours are mostly people that are in the same boat as me -- keen to travel but their friends/partners aren't available. The tours are not exclusive to singles or people your age; there may very well be couples, pensioners, students... etc, but the majority would consist of solos in their 20s - 40s. On the cheaper tours you will find younger people. With the more expensive ones you will get more mature people and couples.

The group size is about 10 - 16 people. Large enough for you to be able to avoid someone you're not keen to have a conversation with at the dinner table, but small enough for everyone in the group to have a chance to get to know each other if they want. The gender ratio is mostly skewed toward predominantly female. The more exotic / active trips (i.e. trekking, multi-sport holidays) will have a more balanced ratio and younger age range as well.

Now, if you're into partying, perhaps one of those 18 - 35 tours is for you (contiki, topdek, busabout... etc, just google 18 - 35 tours). They tend to be quite a bit cheaper than the G or Intrepid tours. I joined a contiki tour in Australia a couple of years ago and that was one of the worst travel experiences I'd ever had. Just like all the reviews that you may find on the web, these tours cater to those who love to party and hook-up. You will get about 30 - 50 people on each tour and, while you may never have to be stuck with people that you dislike, the group dynamic is essentially like high school cafeteria. If you can find your own small group to fit in and hang with, all will be fine. But do you really want to go through that again in your 30s?

Echoing one of the previous reponses, DO NOT GO WITH SOLOS!! I went on a ski vacation with them last year and it was even worse than the contiki tour, on a whole different level. The average age of my group was about 55 and, while I have nothing against older people, they are perhaps the most boring, un-inspiring, and most of all petty group of people that I ever encountered on my travels (with perhaps 2 - 3 exceptions). Some of the men even gave off a serial-killer vibe, and I think all the women hated my guts.

Anyways, this is an old thread and the OP has probably figured things out already. I hope this will still be useful for others in the same boat though.
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