By Bob Hoelscher
These days, consumers can find individual, couples or family travel opportunities with just a click of a button. So why do people still travel in groups? And what benefits would group travel bring to your club or organization?
Group travel creates community
The human being is a social animal. Very few of us choose to go through life as “loners.” Instead, we prefer to share both our joys and sorrows with relatives, friends, neighbors or other individuals with interests similar to our own.
We are also fortunate to live in a society in which the freedom to travel can be taken for granted. Consequently, it is only natural that most people are happiest when they can visit new places and enjoy new experiences when surrounded by people with whom they know that they will be comfortable. Surely part of this situation can be attributed to a wish to remain safe and secure whenever venturing into new territory (the “safety in numbers” phenomenon), whether conscious or not.
But the desire to be with those whom we appreciate, and who in turn appreciate us, enhances the pleasure of enjoying new destinations and experiences together. Not only does group travel serve our existing “communities” (of relatives, friends, neighbors, etc.), but it also creates a stream of new “communities” as a bonus.
The value of group travel
Groups that travel are bound to connect with people of creeds, colors and lifestyles different from their own. Folks we meet and learn about as we venture outside our familiar home environment can significantly enhance understanding, tolerance and brotherhood on a “grassroots” level, both domestically and worldwide.
Most people, regardless of where and how they live, share many of our familiar goals: They want to be happy and attain a reasonable level of success, to have the freedom to choose how to conduct their lives, to make life’s journey better for the next generation than it has been for the current one, etc. Or, as the “Vulcans” of Star Trek fame put it, to “live long and prosper.”
Making human connections with people of other cultures and beliefs helps to build mutual respect and goodwill. The prospects for resorting to violence to settle future differences is going to be reduced substantially when others are seen not as faceless enemies, but as fellow human beings who deserve the same rights and consideration that we do.
The perks of group travel
We’ve already seen how group travel addresses an individual’s social needs, but several studies conducted by industry organizations have also shown that those who travel regularly gain measurable health benefits. Travelers as a whole are statistically happier, healthier and live longer than those who “stay put.” Individuals with disabilities have opportunities to travel with others who can assist them with their needs.
There are special perks for group travel leaders. Although the planning, promotional and administrative work required of a group leader could never be characterized as “easy,” there are advantages for those individuals willing to accept the challenge. If nothing else, having the opportunity to travel to exotic (or at least very attractive) destinations free of charge, or at a greatly reduced rate, can prove highly attractive. Furthermore, depending on the individual or organization involved, it can also be possible to earn a modest amount of income for your efforts.
Group travel can also make a lot of financial sense for your fellow travelers. Many packaged tours include elements such as hotel stays, meals and transportation, sold together at a discounted price that individuals could not get if they were traveling alone. Group travel harnesses the power of buying in bulk, and spreads the cost of guides, ground transportation and other items across the whole group, giving people more experience for each tourism dollar that they spend.
Coming up next: How to build your travel group