Group tour travel is a great way to save money and broaden your access to exotic destinations. These excursions have a lot more to offer than just a ride on a bus.

Tour companies often have the leverage and connections to negotiate significant discounts with hotels and other vendors so they can help you cut your vacation expenses. Plus, there are many excellent group travel services to match all kinds of individual needs and desires. Whether you want an exciting adventure or a peaceful, relaxing getaway, group tours can meet your needs.

If you're a first-time traveler, a group tour can help you get around in unfamiliar territory. Some destinations, such as Machu Picchu, would be difficult to visit at all without an experienced guide.

Here's how to get your money's worth when booking a group tour:

1. Choose a reputable company. Ask around for recommendations from family and friends. Visit some travel forums and message boards online such as TripAdvisor. When you're screening a company, ask them how many tours they've done and if possible, get references.

2. Clarify the total costs. Ensure you understand the full cost of your trip. Ask if the stated price includes all meals, admissions to sights, and transportation. Calculate tips and the cost of any optional excursions that may entail a supplemental charge.

3. Review the daily itinerary and accommodations. Find out what you'll be doing and where you'll be staying.

  • Some tour companies use hotels on the outskirts of town because they're less expensive. Check on the availability of transportation to any downtown sites you may wish to visit.
  • Ask how many meals you'll be eating at your hotel. You may want to visit some local restaurants even if you have to pay a little extra.
  • Do your own research on any shopping recommendations that your tour guide provides. They may receive compensation from local merchants to recommend them, so evaluate and research the shopping destinations that you want to visit. You can always ask the locals while on your way there to provide unbias recommendations.

4. Look for knowledgeable guides. Enthusiastic and experienced guides can enrich your travel and make it more fun. Find out if they are local residents or fluent in the local language.

How Do You Choose the Right Tour for Your Individual Needs?

1. Select a group that you'll enjoy traveling with. Different tour services attract different kinds of clientele. Research their target market to be sure it matches and preferences you may have. For example, you may be more interested in traveling with singles or with couples. You may also be able to find tours that welcome seniors or children or focus on cultural or outdoor activities.

2. If the environment is important to you, look into ecotourism. Lots of companies claim to be eco-friendly so carefully evaluate and their advertised claims. Confirm if they rely on local goods and services. Ask about their policies to conserve energy and reduce waste.

3. Make arrangements for independent time. A good tour company should be willing to accommodate your need for some independent time as long as you don't disrupt their operations. Be tactful in letting your tour guide know when you plan to venture out on your own.

Group tour travel can help you save money and experience the world. Do your research, shop carefully, and schedule your time wisely to make the most out of your vacation.