Why Consider a Small Group Tour Operator During Your Career Break

Written By: jeff

Posted On: September 7th, 2011

career break travel adventures in India, gap adventures, ditch the cubicle, taj mahal

Me at the Taj Majal on my tour with Gap Adventures. Copyright

Backpacking on your career break is not incongruent with hooking up with a tour during your career break. In fact, during my career break, I joined tours through the Galapagos and the Amazon. I found mixing it up to be nice actually and had great experiences. But, I don’t like just any type of tour group. It has to be small. I don’t like being one of many. It makes for odd group dynamics and interferes with your experience visiting places.

In June, I headed to India with Gap Adventures for a 15-day tour of Rajasthan. There were only 12 of us on the tour which I loved. We weren’t so big as to overwhelm the destinations we visited. And, we were small enough to get to know each other even though we all came from different backgrounds and had different travel styles. In fact, there were 2 couples on a career break: one getting settled and the other wrapping up.

Here are a few reasons why I like to mix in SMALL group tours during a career break or long-term trip.

Benefits of Choosing a Small Group Tour Operator During Your Career Break Travel

  • Get acclimated to the road: Going from the confines of an office to the openness of the road can take a little adjustment. You can figure out how your backpack works while the tour operator will take care of all the rest. In India, after having done so much traveling without a tour, it was reaaaally nice to have Gap Adventures in charge.
  • Maximize a short amount of time in a country: Sometimes like my time in Ecuador, I had a short amount of time to see a lot. I didn’t have the time or the patience to figure out how to do the Galapagos independently. Jumping on a tour can help you see the most in the short amount of time you have.
  • Allows you to experience the real destination. Because our group in India was so small, we could jump on the local trains, line up a few tuk-tuks on the fly, and go have dinner at a family’s house in Pushkar. We could get into a good local restaurant, pass through local markets and walk around the cities without fanfare. We weren’t trying to navigate the streets from point A to point B on a big coach bus. Our small group size was manageable and our group could get around almost as nimbly as I would have on my own.
  • Gives you added peace of mind. Everyone has their own measure for how safe they feel in new, foreign environments. Traveling with our group gave us all added confidence as we walked around. It also helps to minimize culture shock. And, we had our tour leader, our local expert, in case we came across any bumps in the road/on the trip.
  • Small is BIG. My trip to India was the first time I had traveled with Gap Adventures. I’ve gotten to know them pretty well over the past few months. Here is why I liked this tour and the company’s philosophy.
    • They have more than 20 years of experience which means they are solid, stable and know what they’re doing.
    • They have tours on all seven continents, in more than 100 countries. They share the same passion for travel that I have.
    • They support sustainable tourism by working with locally owned hotels and restaurants. And, from Cambodia to Peru, in partnership with their non-profit Planeterra, Gap Adventures has a number of volunteer and social programs that really work to change and improve people’s lives.
    • Finally, the tours are intimate and the small group size of no more than 16 means you’re traveling with other like-minded people, you’re not lost in the shuffle, and most importantly you don’t lose intimacy with the places you visit. As I mentioned, on our tour there were only 12 of us.

My B-Side Tips On Using a Small Group Tour Operator During Your Career Break Travel

Here are some of the things that happened during my tour and why it was nice to be a part of the Gap Adventures tour.

  • In-country, on-the-ground support. My partner had trouble with his flights delaying his arrival. Gap Adventures’ regional manager and our tour’s CEO worked together to help him connect with our tour as soon as he was able to land in New Delhi.
  • Small group size. Not to belabor this point since I mentioned it above. But, our tour only had 12 people on it. It was just the right size so we could move around the country nimbly and not be trip over ourselves at monuments. It also allowed us to get to know each other well. We had a great time together and I really enjoyed traveling with them.
  • Focus on using local services: From hotels to restaurants to tuk-tuks, we always used local services. They were the kinds of choices I would have made had I been traveling solo or with my partner. I really appreciated that we could see where our travel dollars were going and whose businesses they were supporting.

Check out the other topics covered in the Gap Adventures Career Break Video Series

  1. Introduction
  2. Packing Tips for a Career Break
  3. Money Tips for Your Career Break
  4. Security 101 While Traveling
  5. Discovering A Country Through Its Food
  6. How to Get Around Like a Local While Traveling
  7. Why Consider a Small Group Tour Operator on Your Career Break
  8. Cooking Class in India: Learn Something New on Your Career Break
  9. Solo Travel: How to Travel Alone Without Feeling Lonely
  10. Getting to Know Our Tour Leader in India

If you like this post, sign up for our newsletter or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with Career Break Secrets’ career break and travel advice.

Disclosure: I am serving as the Gap Adventures media spokesman for career break travel. While this series is part of a broader campaign to raise awareness about career break travel, all opinions, tips and advice are mine.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge