When we talk to people about travel, one of the first things that usually comes out is that people have VSHOs ("Very Strongly Held Opinions") about the best way to travel.
Some people are adamant that they would never, ever consider a cruise. Others have strong biases against group tours. And some we've talked to would never consider traveling independently because they think it would mean "death by search" to find a good deal or to thoroughly research all of the best options.
One thing we've learned in our travels, though, is that you can have an incredible travel experience in all kinds of ways. And, in fact, the option that you might think would be the least appealing, could actually wind up being the best way to experience your dream destination.
Here's an example. I always thought that I was not the kind of person who'd ever want to do a group tour. I took a lot of pride in my ability to thoroughly research destinations, to find the best deals, and I was certain that I alone knew how to make the most out of my time on vacation. But then I started planning my trip-of-a-lifetime to Machu Picchu. I was single at the time, and I didn't have any friends that were interested in joining me. I didn't speak Spanish, and it was my first time traveling in Latin America. As a single, gay first-time traveler to a South American country where I didn't speak the language, I started to think about maybe joining a group.
I found a company that ran LGBT adventure travel, and it just so happened that they had an itinerary for a group going to Bolivia and Peru, including Machu Picchu. I didn't really want to have to pay a single-traveler supplement, and since I'm a pretty easy going guy, I asked if anyone else on the trip might be willing to share a room. I figured--this is adventure travel, right?--I can deal with just about anyone for two weeks if I have to.
It turned out that there was another guy who had also asked about sharing, and he was in New York City! I got in touch with him, and we had lunch and talked about how excited we were to see things on the trip. He was not only completely normal--he was actually really nice. We hit it off, and by the end of the lunch, we'd decided to share a room on the trip. When you think of it--you're more likely to have things in common with other people who are eager to see and do the same things you're excited about. If you're both seeking out the same kind of vacation experience, chances are pretty good that you'll be compatible with the others in the group.
When I arrived and met the rest of the group, it was pretty clear that we were going to have a really great time. We went out to dinner on the first night in La Paz--six gay men, all of us single--and had a conversation about Liza Minnelli that likely confused the hell out of our local guide. But we were laughing and joking the whole time, and we were all clearly enthusiastic about the incredible adventures we were about to have.
By the end of the trip, we'd all decided that we needed to plan another vacation together for next year. Over the next few years, our core group from that South America trip wound up making trips together to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, as well as to India and South Africa. Every once in a while, one of us wouldn't be able to make it, but would join on the trip after that. Sometimes we'd add new people to the group, and some of us brought friends along on the next trip.
The trips I took with that group of guys totally changed my opinion about joining a group tour. Breaking through the mindset that I'd hate traveling that way was the key to many of the most fabulous trips I've taken, and the most unique and special experiences I've had.
I think one of the great things about our mission here at Huckleberry Travel is that we know how to match the right person to the right trip. If you're overwhelmed by "internet information overload" or if you've been ruling out certain types of travel because you've got an idea that you won't have an amazing transformational travel experience, why not rely on our expertise? We might be able to put you on a luxury cruise ship that becomes a life-changing vacation full of "hidden gems." Or we may just hook you up with an all-inclusive resort that is anything but boring and cookie-cutter. Maybe we'll introduce you to a group tour that leads you to friends who'll become friends-for-life. Reach out to us, and let's start talking about your next trip!