Group tours can be a great way to see a country if you travel solo, but don’t want to be on your own. As everything is organised for you, it takes the stress away from having to plan accommodation, transport and itinerary. I’d totally recommend a group tour if it is your first time travelling overseas, or visiting a new country where you don’t speak the language.
I’ve done several different group tours with different tour providers and had some great experiences (as you’ll see from the pictures in this post). However the one downside for group tours is that you don’t know who you are travelling with. When you have to share experiences & rooms with strangers, then things don’t always go smoothly.
Maybe I’m getting grumpy in my old age, but the allure of a trip where you are expected to share a room has definitely worn off. Unless you are travelling with someone you know (eg a family member or friend), then you never know what kind of roommate you are going to get. Read on to see the different types of roommates you might come across on a group tour:
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The 7 types of roommates you might get on your group tour:
Or maybe not so innocent?! This person is in the country for the first time (but doesn’t travel much outside their home country, so isn’t worldly wise). They exclaim at every little thing that’s different, or don’t get some things which are basic to a well travelled person; e.g. like having to pay for the mini-bar, or not taking liquids onto a plane. This can be a tad tedious if you’ve travelled a lot and it’s old hat to you.
Was I taken on a ride (i.e. was this all an act) or were they really that innocent, naive and clueless?! As a roomie it can very annoying to put up with this without either getting frustrated or coming across sarcastic or patronising (or is that just me?!) But in general as long as you are all having fun, don’t worry too much – these people are who the guide is here to support. Remember you don’t need to hang out with your roomie all the time.
The constantly cold/hot
This roommate takes control of the thermostat or fan / window situation. One thing they don’t ask you before matching you with a roomie on a group tour, is whether you like air conditioning on or off and this can be a cause for tension.
I’ve been that person insisting on air con before – if it’s 30 degrees+ outside then I’m not going to leave it off! I’ve also been the one opening windows in the winter when the hotel had no thermostat and I was going to sweat to death in bed otherwise. What can I say I like to be cool to sleep!
Tour organisers should definitely ask you about this before pairing you up. But remember, it’s easier to add layers for warmth, than get cold without that air con…
The best solution is to talk to your roommate and compromise where needed (also pack extra clothes if you feel the cold)
Always thinking about themselves they use the wardrobe, bathroom space and spare chairs for all their stuff, relegating yours to squeeze in where possible.
Or they may flood the bathroom and use all the towels, with no consideration that you need to use it afterwards.
They may also decide to continue with ‘their’ routine, whether this disturbs you or not. This might be keeping lights on, getting up 40 minutes earlier than you (fine if you are sharing a bathroom, but at little extreme at 4am when not required. Sometimes its best to be on time and not extra early!)
It’s up to you how you handle this – confront them, ask nicely or just take space/tell them how it is…
The early / late risers
Whichever you are they are the opposite!! They will get up early when it’s not needed. Or scowl at you when you need to get up and turn the lights on early and they don’t.
This is probably rare on an organised group trip, as you are all participating in the same activities. It makes sharing a room difficult, unless they are blessed with brilliant night sight and are as quiet as a mouse. But you can also prepare for this by bringing ear plugs and a eye mask to avoid your roommate from disturbing your sleep.
The person who came on a group tour, but wants to be alone. They don’t participate in activities or group meals (unless it’s free/included with the tour).
They don’t hang out with the group, they don’t ask questions or volunteer information about themselves. Basically they are the antithesis of group tours…
Why did they join a group trip at all?! These people need private guides! There isn’t much you can do about these people except ignore and make friends elsewhere to hangout with.
This is the person who hasn’t brought half the stuff they need for the trip and is always borrowing yours. (That could be sunscreen, medication or items of clothing).
The caveat for this person is that generally it’s OK if they are very grateful for borrowing your things. In a group you expect that everyone has hand sanitiser and sun screen, so it’s not a big imposition to borrow some when yours is stuck at the bottom of your bag.
If they aren’t grateful then this is a pain on having to dig out extra stuff for them. But if no one shares then the outcome might effect the group. You could end up not being allowed into that temple as they aren’t dressed appropriately. Or having to put up with them complaining due to sunburn or insect bites…
The easy going one
This is the one who is considerate with other people, flexible of waking hours, doesn’t make too much noise. They will also join in and participate in the group and are generally a fun person to be around.
These people make the memories that you will remember forever for the tour. Generally I find most people will fit in this category and you’ll get some amazing experiences along the way, just as I have.
Remember if you are not annoyed with someone on your trip, then you’re the one who’s annoying everyone else! ?
So which of these 7 types of roommates have you come across before? Let me know in the comments below!
Ps – big thanks to all my tour mates who helped me write this (either directly or indirectly, don’t take it too seriously!)