What makes a tour the best for you ?
This will depend largely on your own personality and preferences however universally one of the most important consideration when choosing a tour is group size.
Ever been in a full elevator ?
Feels pretty ‘cosy’ doesn’t it ?
Well that is what a small group is. Around 10 people. Imagine now stepping out of the elevator and joining the group from the elevator next door and marching off to the shops. All going into the little bakery and ordering something for lunch.
Oops, someone cant remember the key pin ,,, oops, difficulty communicating with staff … language barrier … oops oops someone cant make up their mind ! The list is never ending.
What’s not a small group ?
Some people will tell you that 15 to 25 people is a small group. In comparison to the big coaches then maybe you could cut them a little slack. But really anything over 12 is no longer a small group. Saying that it is not uncommon to see groups of 25 even being touted as a small group experience. Given these types of tours tend to be aimed at less engaged travelers they are still out there.
Going back to our elevator and bakery example. Take those 20 people and plonk them in a bird hide or remote swimming hole or amongst ancient rock art and the results are the same. 20 is not a small group.
6 QUICK Reasons why group size is so important …
To break it down, group size is the most important aspect of an experience. Here’s why:
- Time to load guests on and off the vehicle – the larger the group the more time wasted in getting on and off the bus.
Stragglers, inconsiderate people and general laws of motion mean that it takes time to load the livestock on the truck.
For large coaches this could mean 10 -20 minutes at least for each stop. Do the math on that and soon you realise that over the course of the day you can waste over an hour just migrating on and off the vehicle.
2. Time in line for food – waiting in line for lunch is never fun nor is getting to the table and having to choose something which the other 20-40 people have just been playing with.
Beware the hungry monster which has been known to stalk those late to the table.
3. Time in line for experiences – more time wasted.
Impacts on types / quality of food able to be prepared or transported – typically the larger the group the more generic the food with little or no focus on the added experiential element that dining adds to a holiday experience.
The ability to cater for the ever increasingly diverse array of food allergies and restrictions is also sacrificed.
4. Access to guide for asking questions – there is only so many gaps in a day for questions to be asked of a guide and in fact on most larger buses it is physically impossible to shout a question from the back of the bus.
When you do cross paths with the guide you may have to wait in line for your question to be asked.
5. Impact on the environment (noise, trampling, waste) – nothing quite like going to idealic outback locations and soaking up the ambience.
The larger the group the less realistic this becomes.
6. Personal vs impersonal experience – the larger the group the less you exist.
So the question .. ‘ what is a small group ?’
Answer – any tour which ticks the 6 boxes above !