Considering that I’m building a business based on group travel, you might be surprised to know that I’ve done more solo travel than group travel in my life. While I enjoy solo travel (I explained why here), it isn’t an accident that Mockingbird is focused on group travel. Some of you may already be converts to group travel, but for the rest of you – some of whom may be wondering, why in the world would I want to travel with a bunch of people I don’t know? – let me explain. Actually, let me sum up:
1. You don’t have to go solo (obviously). Sometimes it’s difficult to find people from your own circle of friends to go with you on a trip. And despite the perks of solo travel, it can be challenging. Okay, let’s admit it, traveling with other people is usually more fun. A group trip means you don’t have to wait for your friends to get their act together to travel.
2. You make new friends. Chances are better than good that you’ll like most of your travel companions. For starters, you all chose the same trip – so you obviously have the same good taste. And you’re on vacation. Having fun. It’s the perfect recipe for friendship-building.
3. You don’t have to spend every minute of the trip with the same person. If you’ve ever traveled with just one other person and discovered ten minutes into the trip that you’re not compatible travelers, then you’ll understand this. With a group of new friends to mix it up with, everyone is happier.
4. Not all of your pictures have to be selfies. This is a good thing.
5. And you always have enough faces to fill the cardboard cutouts. See Exhibit A above.
6. It’s so much easier. Seriously, how nice is it to have someone else plan all the details of your trip? If you’re always telling yourself that you’re going to take that vacation just as soon as you have time to do the research and planning, you’re ripe for a group trip.
7. And it’s much less stressful. I think part of the reason people get stressed when they travel is because it’s hard! It requires incredible attention to detail and near-constant vigilance about where you are and where you’re going. Most of us who’ve traveled independently have had a moment where we’re standing on a train platform, wondering which train we’re supposed to get on as the whistle blows and the doors close… Wouldn’t it be nice if you weren’t the person who had to figure that out? And instead had someone leading the way so you didn’t have to think about anything except enjoying where you are? Yes. Yes, it would.
8. Groups have more opportunities. Some experiences are more accessible to groups (purchasing power and economies of scale, you know), and some things you just might not want to do by yourself – like going to a night hotspot.
9. The potential for fun multiplies exponentially. If travel were a mathematical formula, I think it would be: for each traveler added to a group up to a threshold of X, the fun quotient increases by a power of Y. Or something like that. The point is, all sorts of unexpected things happen when you travel with other people.
Of course, not all groups are created equal. I can’t say I’d be excited to travel with a group of 50; that’s not so much a “group” as a “mob.” There’s probably a magic number that creates the perfect group, and while I don’t know yet exactly what that number is (maybe there’s another formula for it?), I’m inclined to believe that it’s more than 5 but less than 15. In fact, I’ve chosen Lucky 13 to be my magic number: Mockingbird groups will have no more than 12 travelers, plus the tour leader.
Group travel opens up the world of travel in different and exciting ways. If you haven’t tried it before, feel free to use Mockingbird as your guinea pig – our first group tours are coming out soon. No selfie-sticks needed.