If there’s one doubt that everyone shares ahead of their first group travel experience, it’s whether they will get on with everyone in their group.
After all, a week or more with 14 people you don’t know is a fair-ish plunge into the unknown. You’re handing over a lot of control.
It’s also your cash and your precious pot of holiday on the line. The last thing you want to do is to splurge it on stilted conversations.
PTA (pre-trip anxiety) is one of the many things you’ll actually find in common with your fellow Flashpackers.
“I still remember the first thing I did after I booked my group trip was I put an update on Facebook,” says Kirsteen, who joined us on an insider trip to Peru and Bolivia. “And it said, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve just booked a group holiday with a bunch of people that I don’t know. I’m so scared!’
“And I had nothing to be scared about but yeah, initially, totally scared.”
It’s the kind of feeling that Victoria can relate to. A veteran of three Flash Pack trips (to Myanmar, Jordan and Finland), Victoria had serious reservations after committing to her first group adventure.
“I was filled with trepidation and quite anxious,” she recalls. “And I thought, ‘This could be a really expensive two-week disaster that I’ve just spent a few thousand pounds on.”
Flashpacker Abbie, a convert from our Sri Lanka trip, says this worry about group travel rings true for a lot of people.
“I think the main sort of fear would be that you would go there, and there’d be actually nobody that you get along with, or there’s nobody in the group that you have anything in common with,” she says. “But it’s so not true.”
The like-minded link
Flash Pack co-founder Radha Vyas is well aware of the fear around group travel. It fact, it was her own dubious experience of a group tour that inspired her to launch the company in the first place.
As a result, she and co-founder Lee Thompson are passionate about the need for a great dynamic on every single trip they run.
“The group dynamic is so important to us,” Radha says. “We’re completely obsessed with it. Because, who wants to go on holiday making small talk for two weeks? Certainly not me. So, it’s really important that everyone comes with an open mind and a spirit of adventure.”
In our growing archive of happy reviews, many Flashpackers remark that they were lucky to have travelled with a wonderful group.
In fact, luck doesn’t have that much to do with it: it’s all down to our happiness heroes.
These in-house gurus play a critical role in making sure that everyone who joins a Flash Pack expedition is at a similar age and life stage, with the same kind of friendly and open outlook on life.
“I think they [Flash Pack] are fairly good because there’s kind of an interview stage to start with,” says Andy, who has Flashpacked to Sri Lanka, Jordan and Myanmar. “They send you a questionnaire and make sure you fit quite well. They do a great job of vetting travellers, I think.”
The level of curation that goes into arranging a Flash Pack group means that not getting on with people simply isn’t an issue.
“We all kind of came to the same conclusion that because it’s Flash Pack, and because we had all chosen the same holiday, we already had a lot in common,” says Oliver, who joined us in Myanmar.
People typically relax from the moment they meet their group. They realise that these are people they’re naturally drawn to.
“I think it’s just that kind of initial group trip where you think, ‘okay, what’s it going to be like?’ Andy says. “And once you’ve passed that, it’s perfect.”
Even the real worriers among are quickly won over.
“Going out and meeting everyone, and just hearing a bit about them and their backgrounds…I realised. actually, they’re all pretty much the same as me,” says Kirsteen.
It was this common ground theme that drew Abbie in to group travel, too.
“To actually be on holiday with people who are coming at life at the same sort of stage is really cool,” she says. “There were doctors, there were HR professionals, there was such a wide range of people.”
So, are you ready to try group travel and have your fears allayed?
Leap right into a Flash Pack adventure on one of these incredible trips:
See Beijing from a vintage motorcycle sidecar and learn Kung-Fu from a martial arts master with your group travel buddies. Then get up close with giant pandas at Chéngdū’s famous wildlife reserve. And, of course, tick off the bucket list Terracotta Army and Great Wall of China, from your own VIP sunrise vantage point.
Paddleboard and snorkel through warm, tropical waters and learn to samba in the Bohemian district of Lapa. Go island-hopping across the beaches and lagoons near Paraty on a private day-long boat trip. And let’s not forget Copacabana beach. This is group travel in Brazil at its best.
Raft through jungle lowlands and trek the lush foothills of the Himalayas. Tick off a bucket list moment in style by seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise. For a touch of the high life, you’ll also swim in rooftop infinity pools over Kathmandu and stay in a Jaipur palace fit for a king. Then chill out in a lodge in the Annapurna peaks, under clear starry skies. Living the group travel dream.