If group travel conjures up image of hordes of tourists following a guide with a megaphone, think again! Small group travel today can be the ultimate way to travel to some of the world’s most exciting, challenging and exotic countries. I am in the enviable position of hosting small groups of Kiwi travellers each year to the likes of South America and Africa, and can honestly say it’s the way to go!
You may not have friends who share your particular bucket list of travel desires, but don’t like travelling alone. Perhaps tackling a foreign language is too daunting, or you simply don’t have the energy to do it all yourself. Booking a small group tour takes care of all of that. There is company to share the experiences with, all the nitty gritty details are taken care of by someone else, and your host is there to smooth the way should anything unexpected happen.
World Journeys creates and operates a range of small group tours each year, selecting our most-loved destinations such as the game parks of Southern Africa, the beauty and traditions of Japan, and the epic ports of the Mediterranean. Some of these journeys include a cruise — whether that be Holland America Line in the Med, or a small ship in the Galapagos Islands. Other journeys take roads less travelled, such as our itinerary in still-developing Madagascar (perfect for avid travellers!).
New for 2018 is a Croatia & Slovenia journey, which has a little taste of Venice and Mostar thrown in. There is so much to savour — the karst caves of Postojna, the castles of Predjama and Bled, picturesque open-air markets, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic churches, palaces and bridges as well as the spectacular Plitvice Lakes National Park. A highlight for many will be the small ship cruise along the Adriatic Coast, visiting some of the most beautiful Croatian Islands. Wine and food tasting along the way gives you a true glimpse of local life.
In fact, food and wine is always a highlight of our travel, and we often include a farewell dinner at a hidden gem favourite restaurant enjoyed only by those in the know.
Most of all, I love the conviviality of travelling in, and hosting, a small group. There’s always company if you want it, or time to do your own thing every now and then. And every person brings something to the mix. There may be a keen photographer in the group who you can follow to get the best shots, or a fashionista who will call upon my haggling skills to buy jewellery or textiles in the markets.
Many life-long friendships have been forged on tour, and many return again to travel with us in subsequent years.
Travel is all about the journey, but it’s also about sharing the experience, and that’s the beauty of travelling with a group.
Words: Chris Lyons, Director and Tour Host, World Journeys