Travel is all about new experiences, and here is one you may want to try: group travel. This can be an organized tour, a cruise, a circle of friends, or ... Though group travel was never one to rate very high on the cool factor in the past, it is enjoying a rebranding of sorts and is growing in popularity.
More and more, travelers are freeing themselves to capture all the adventure available at their destination thanks to group travel. For example, in most cases with group travel, someone else is taking care of the train and hotel reservations (not to mention the foreign language) allowing you more time to explore, discover, and absorb everything. Also, often group travel can be less expensive than setting out solo due to buying in bulk.
When I went on my Mediterranean cruise last summer, I really enjoyed the luxury of expanding beyond my comfort zone. For example, I invited shipmates (strangers, really) to sit with me. Listening more than talking was a safe and relatively easy way for me to break out my shell. Who knows, those shipmates may turn into future travel comrades and longtime friends.
Even if cruising with family and/or friends, which can be more fun than going solo, I dare you to make the first move in meeting fellow passengers. You could sign up for a cooking class for the cuisine special to the area you are visiting; that would make it very easy to meet a classmate. If cooking is not your thing, there will be plenty of other excursion options where you can make new friends.
For those At Sea Days, leave your suite and check out the sing-alongs or workout opportunities. The crew does such a great job putting together different activities for everyone to enjoy. If a thoughtful board game (chess anyone) is more your style, you can bet you'll find a partner. How about a group spa experience? Facials are more fun with friends. Or try excavating your inner Picasso with an art lesson or some studio time. End the day with a nightcap at one of the ship's watering holes. "I'm buying the next round" won't put a dent in your wallet because everything is all-inclusive!
Remember, there is such a thing as "too much fun," so make time for some solitude. Replenishing your soul at sea is probably one of the most nourishing things you can do for your health, happiness, and peace of mind. Be sure to take advantage!
Lastly, I recommend group travel with different generations. It adds a layer to the all the adventures you'll be having by letting you experience them from the point of view of those younger and older than you.
When deciding whether group travel is for you or not, think about the following: If you're part of a self-made travel group, such as a bachelorette party or office ski trip, be sure to decide and agree upon an alpha leader. This will spare everyone a lot of heartache. The alpha can create a day's agenda, make sure the trip's itinerary is followed, and perform other travel-related tasks. Of course, if you are cruising or joining an organized tour, then choosing an alpha leader isn't necessary, though if you are part of a self-made travel group on a cruise or tour, you may want to agree upon a point person.
Have you chosen where your next trip will take you? I hope you'll consider the adventure of group travel. Let me know what and where you decide. And no matter what, post pictures!