These past few months I tried joining group tours for my travels. I remember the first time I joined a group tour was Mt. Pinatubo tour five years ago and it never happened again since I prefer Do-It-Your-Own. Now, let me share to you my reflections of joining a group tour or being a joiner.
1. Less expensive – yes, being a joiner is a lot cheaper than traveling on your own or with group of friends. I think your expenses are fixed when you joined a group. For example: a tour would cost Php. 1000.00 -1200.00 plus Php. 500.00 for other expenses such as food, pasalubongs, cottages, entrance fee (it depends kung ano inclusion sa tour mo), in a group tour, I tend to spend Php. 1300-1800. But doing DIY, I tend to spend around Php. 2500.00 – 3000.00 per tour (includes transportation, food, cottage, entrance fees, boat ride and others). We are talking for just a day tour here, hindi pa kasama kung overnight or 3 days tour.
If you analyze, parang ang tour fee is like paying your transportation in the travel. Mas nakakamura kasi if you are many than you are alone. There are some tour packages that includes meals kaya sobrang makakamura.
I also felt that I spend more when I travel with friends / relatives than joining a tour ( I don’t know kung ako lang ba nakakadama ng ganito. Hahahaha)
2. Gain friends – in joining a tour, you get to meet a lot of people from someone who is mending a broken heart to someone who just wasting money to see the world. Hehehe, anyway meeting people is bliss, you tend to share a molecule of you and started to build friendship with that person. Masaya lang makihalubilo sa mga tao, malalaman mo ang reason nila for traveling and you just reflect on something “ganoon din ako.”
3. You can go to places you thought is impossible – we have bucketlist, we ticked a place or an activity that we wanted to go or experience with. Minsan ang hirap isipin kung paano mo magagawa ang isang bagay eh ang laki ng gastos, ang layo, walang public transpo papunta doon, private ang resort – wala ako membership – kaya travel tour ang sagot dyan. Be patient in looking for the travel packages that you want to tick in your bucketlist. I am looking forward to Vitalis Villas in Ilocos Sur (may travel tour dito).
4. Coordinated – well, I used to be the planner of the group during barkada or family outings, that’s why I spend most of my time looking for the best resorts, service and planning an itinerary. But with being a joiner, I just study the itinerary, if it favors with my time then go. Hayahay ang buhay ko, ang dami pa namin mapupuntahan dahil kaya itong ayusin ng coordinator
One downside lang siguro is sometimes ang daming nakalagay na tourist destination sa itinerary pero hindi mo naman type iyon, kaya no choice ka lang kung sumama o maghintay sa van.
5. Waiting Game – this is what I don’t like in group tour, there are joiners who were slow at primadonna ( kung kumilos ang tagal, ang bagal. Parang walang naghihintay sa kanila kung umasta lalo na sa kainan, bihisan, liguan etc). Kaya ang itinerary hindi nasusunod. Sorry, mabilis lang kasi ako kumilos. Saka wala ako sa bahay para umasta ng dona.
6. Cancelation – this is the most heart breaking, you scheduled the trip, filed a leave, prepared your OOTD and save money but due to lack of joiners to fill the tour- they needed to cancel it. Hay! Sakit sa puso. Lagi ko pinagdadasal na wag ma-cancel ang tour, kung pwede lang akong mag-alay ng itlog para di bumagyo o umulan at matuloy ang tour.
Note: Be mindful in choosing a travel agency. Better search their portfolio in social media, mahirap na at madaming manloloko ngayon. If they have ratings, checked it. Also ask referrals from friends.