It may make your next trip affordable

Can Group Travel Reduce Expenses?

by Debra Karplus

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Are you itching to leave town for a day, a few days or longer, but find that booking a trip, transportation, meals, lodging, and activities are a bit overwhelming? Perhaps you're on your own and need a travel pal, so you don't have to venture off on your own. Or maybe you are looking for some sort of theme trip, such as a genealogy quest, contra dance, or a historic visit to some place like Gettysburg. Possibly you want to combine travel and meeting new people on a trip with people who may be demographically just like you, such as seniors or single people. Taking a trip as part of a group could possibly be the best way for you to take your next trip.

The luxury of a pre-planned package trip comes with a price.

Someone has to organize a group trip, and someone needs to lead the trip. These people usually do not perform this task for free. Typically, their time is subsidized through the cost of the trip by travelers like you.

Although group travel rids you of the job of seeking the best deals on airfare, locating restaurants, and finding hours and admission fees for a variety of interesting attractions, you, the traveler, give up a certain amount of freedom by travelling with a group.

Group travel opportunities exist in a variety of places.

National groups like the Sierra Club offer many outdoor adventures, some very rigorous and many not so rugged. You will likely need to get to the location on your own and may not know any of the others in the group when you first meet up with the other travelers. Road Scholar has trips for seniors. Some are offered with grandchildren. There are even many budget-friendly trips advertised for less than $600. Again, for these trips, you will need to get to the destination on your own, and there may not be others from your area. If you are an extravert, it is a great way to meet like-minded friends.

Wherever you live, there may be some group travel offered within your own community. Perhaps your bank has trips for its customers. Community colleges, such as Parkland College in Illinois for example, organize many day trips and some longer trips for community members. If you are over 50 and affiliated with The Osher Lifelong Learning institute, your local group may lead some interesting groups with other seniors in your area. Or possibly your local public television station and even one of your commercial stations may advertise some organized trips. Listen for these as you watch TV, check out their websites, or call them.

Discounts on organized trips are sometimes easy to find.

Is your church or synagogue planning a missions trip or a trip to Israel? This might be a great way for you to dabble in group travel. Maybe you sing in an ensemble or are in some other activity-based group that travels. Take this opportunity to go someplace new.

If you are willing to take on the very important role of chaperoning on a school trip involving travel, your presence will be greatly needed and appreciated. This trip may not be for everyone. You must love to be with teens that may be away from home for the first time and may want to test their limits. Perhaps the high school Spanish class, for example, is headed to Costa Rico or Mexico over spring break. Find out exactly what you will be expected to do and how much the trip will cost you as a chaperone.

Habitat for Humanity builds houses, not just in your community but in impoverished areas around the world. If you truly want to make a difference, add meaning to your life, and give your time, this type of trip might be exactly what you are seeking. Contact your local Habitat group and ask if such trips exist.

Travelling for free is a great idea if you are willing to do some work.

Build a foot path in Greece. Get there, do the work, and the rest of the trip is free. Do an online search using the words "free group travel for volunteers" and see what you find.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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