For most people, the nuances of international travel are just as foreign as the language and customs of the places being visited. Booking a group travel package removes most of the headache and a lot of the worry associated with international trips.
In particular, entering and leaving foreign countries can be consisderably much less trouble when traveling as a group than individually. Recognized groups get through Customs with less delay, and baggage is handled without having to pick it up after getting off the flight.
United Kingdom Group Travel
For example, Great Britain has a program called Group Travel that makes it much easier to get through Customs than for individuals. Originally the program applied only to authorized groups traveling with a tour leader, but it recently has been expanded to cover more travelers. The changes have expanded the program to include people who arrive in the United Kingdom individually but plan to join their group in the country. It also allows travelers the benefit of priority screening even if the group has no designated leader.
The program benefits both Customs officials and those traveling in the group. It reduces delays at immigration points into the country and makes it easier for officials to screen those coming to visit. For the traveler, in addition to reducing the amount of time spent at the airport, it also helps keep the group together, reducing the change of someone getting lost. The program is free of charge and does not require the group to register in advance.
Companies running international tours also provide assistance with travelers converting money into the local currency. This reduces the need to check exchange rates or the need to find a financial institution to make the exchange. Tour providers also are likely to offer a better exchange rate than private broker since they are making a profit on the package tour and don’t need to skim off a fee from the exchange.
Traveling as a group also can ease concerns about your safety when traveling abroad. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of countries where it believes travel is unsafe for Americans. It also publishes travel advisories as conditions change and potential treats are identified. Group tour operators pay close attention to these advisories. The last thing they want to report is that not all its customers who left for a trip made it home.
This principle also works on the idea that there is safety in numbers. While one or two people traveling alone in a foreign country might not be noticed for several days, traveling with a group ensures that someone is going to miss you if you do not show up for the morning’s activities.
If traveling to lands with different laws and customs, being part of a group can help avoid embarrassing misunderstandings and lapses in protocol, particularly if the group includes a tour leader. Package tours often begin with an initial orientation session with periodic updates as needed during the trip.
Overall, international travel presents a whole new set of rules and checklist items for travelers to remember. Going on a group tour can eliminate many of those worries and leave you free to enjoy the sights.