The other day I came across an article that got my attention regarding group travel. It got my attention because we sell a good bit of group travel, both in land packages as well as group cruises.
The author obviously had some experience with groups because the suggestions made were very appropriate for those who enjoy traveling with a group.
Of course the reason someone wants to travel with a group would be because they are unfamiliar with the location, or have an interest in the location and want to know more about it from an expert. Another reason some travel with a group is they feel safer than traveling alone. And some go with a group for the opportunity to meet new people. Also friends and family constitute a reason.
There are some guidelines, mostly unwritten but should be understood, that helps the group experience interesting and more enjoyable. Group tours are pre-planned so you don't have to put in extra thought in what to see and determine all the transportation requirements.
One of the most thoughtless things that group leaders have to consider are the guests who always show up late for daily departures. It shows disrespect of everyone's time, and throws the days schedule off course for the rest of the day.
When you travel with a group, don't be reluctant to ask questions, especially relevant questions that all in the group would be interested in knowing the answer. Engaging the expert with questions helps everyone's understanding.
Enjoy making friends with others traveling with you. Everyone has a story, so let them tell theirs then you can tell yours. A good way to keep everyone liking you is to not insist on having the front seat on the bus every time or be demanding to be the first one to take pictures.
Be flexible and resist being demanding. Remember your American manners to those traveling with you. Another good suggestion is to be patient when others who are physically slower than you.
Respect the rules. When the sign says “No Smoking”, don't smoke. Follow the rules as suggested by the tour operator.
Remember to show appreciation to your guide and other service personnel who take care of your needs. Most tour companies and cruise lines suggest minimum gratuities for service personnel.
Following these suggestions for group travel will make everyone a “happy camper”.
Now, for an important announcement. We have been notified that the Transportation Security Administration will set up shop at the Abilene airport next week, Sept. 11-15 for all those people interested in getting signed up and interviewed for their Pre-Check authorization. They were here a month or so ago and we went out to the airport and the process was a “piece of cake”. Sure helps to save time and trouble in going through security at the airport.
Want to go somewhere? Call the experts at The Travel Factory, 698-1421 or toll-free 800-760-4040. Find us at 4150 Southwest Drive between Rosa's and Chick-Fil-A in south Abilene.