7 Hidden Benefits of Small Group Tours

The best small group tours should feel like independent travel – minus the hassle of booking everything for yourself. Find out why GeoCultura small group tours are kept small and appeal to travellers looking for a more personalised service.
7 minute read
GeoCultura small group outside Corfe Castle, Dorset, England

7 hidden benefits of small group tours

 Brimming with authenticity and friendliness, the best small group tours should feel like independent travel – minus the hassle of booking everything for yourself.

 What makes a tour group ‘small’? There’s no official definition. Coach tours can carry up to 50 people – certainly not small – but we’ve seen small group tours advertised for up to 24 people. We think that’s still too many!

 At GeoCultura, the average group size is just 12. It’s a number that we’ve found works well, for reasons we’ll go into here.

 If you’re wondering if small group travel is right for you, these seven hidden benefits will help you make up your mind. It (almost) goes without saying that the not-so-hidden benefit is having all the hard work of itinerary research and planning done for you!

 1.   A more personalised experience

This applies to every stage of your vacation experience. Small businesses take the time to get to know you and your needs, so you get a more personal and prompt service, from booking to after-care. And your small group tour itself will be a more flexible and bespoke experience, too.

 This personal approach is a big part of what makes a small group tour with GeoCultura so special. Our small company size means we’re more like a small family with amazing expertise. Every member is fully invested in making our company succeed, which means making sure all your pre-travel questions are answered, and extra hotel nights are booked if you need them, so you have an amazing time!

 "The team's attention to the little details also made the trip a joy. The small group experience meant we could always both see and hear, something you can't [always] count on when you sign up to a tour." - Kate B, September 2023

 You might especially notice that attention to the little details when you’re eating in one of the hotels on our tours. Larger tour groups are often treated differently, sometimes having to eat from set menus at set times in a particular section of the hotel restaurant. In contrast, at many of the hotels on GeoCultura tours, you will be able to choose when you have breakfast, opt for an earlier or smaller evening meal, and pick from the full menu.

 2.   Get more from your guide

The average guest-to-guide ratio on a GeoCultura tour is one guide to six guests.

 Fewer guests per guide gives you more and better-quality interaction with your guide. That means more opportunities to take advantage of their expertise by asking the questions that matter to you. It also means your guide can better tailor their content to your interests and has the time to pursue your questions down all sorts of interesting tangents.

 You and your guide can get to know each other better in a small group scenario, and when you have a guide like Jess Vian, one of our Isles of Scilly Holidays guides, that can only be a good thing! “I love meeting people and showing them where I live. I love it here, and I invite you to love it as well,” she says. “I can also talk for England, I’m fascinated by local history, and I want to share it with people.”

 3.   Have a positive impact on the places you visit

Picture the scene. It’s a gentle spring morning. A coach pulls up to a small viewpoint overlooking a beautiful, calm ox-bow lake surrounded by trees in early leaf. Dozens of tourists pour out of the bus, surging forward to get the best view. The birdsong stops. The tour guide starts to recite a scripted piece of information, loudly. A small group of deer start and run from the scene below. Everyone jostles to take photos, maybe have a snack. Of course, someone needs the bathroom. They all pile back on the bus to go to a large chain restaurant for lunch, leaving a cloud of exhaust fumes and some litter in their wake.

 With a small tour group, this scene looks completely different. Your presence is far less intrusive. You spend longer at the lake, so you can really observe it. You learn all about its cultural and geological past. You’re interested in the deer you can see on the other side of the water, so your guide tells you what species they are, how they were introduced to the area long ago by a king who loved to hunt, and they continue to thrive here.

 Afterwards, you stop for lunch at a locally run restaurant. You order the mushroom ragu, made with local mushrooms that, the owner tells you, were foraged just before the deer got to them! In the evening, you stay in a locally run hotel and, over a whisky from the local distillery, chat with the manager about your day.

 You’ve learned more, had a more authentic experience and contributed more to the local economy, all while having a less negative impact on the local environment.

 4.   Make the most of every minute

On a small group tour, you spend less time planning and making irritating last-minute changes. That’s what we’re here for. You also spend less time waiting around for others. After all, there are fewer people to be late and your guide has more time to help everyone remember where they need to be and when.

 There’s more flexibility to linger in a place you fall in love with, and more opportunity to leave early if you don’t! It all boils down to more time enjoying yourself and experiencing your destination.

 5.   Make life-long friends

On small group tours, the faces of your fellow travellers quickly become familiar so it’s easier to get to know people – even if you’re terrible at remembering names! And on a GeoCultura small group tour, you’re more likely to have something in common with others in your group. After all, if you all booked a tour that niches on Charles Darwin, for example, you’re far more likely to share an interest in nature or Darwin himself.

 The chances are good that although you started your small group tour with strangers, you’ll finish it with new friends. As well as making the tour experience even more friendly, that means you’ll have people to reminisce with about it for long afterwards.

 That’s not to say you must spend your time chatting. You’re free to mingle as much as you like, or not at all.

 6.   Feel safer, experience more

There’s truth in the saying ‘safety in numbers’. But not great big numbers! On a small group tour, you feel known, and you are known. People look out for you and notice when you’re not there, just as you have their backs.

 That sense of security improves your tour experience far beyond not feeling worried about being left behind or vulnerable in new situations. Ultimately, feeling safe can give you the confidence to push your boundaries. That, and the presence of an expert guide, can open you up to a world of new and enjoyable experiences.

 7.   Get off the beaten track more easily

It follows that smaller groups means smaller transport such as minibuses and private taxis, smaller-hotel options, and chances to eat in places that aren’t set up for bigger groups. As well as visiting the most popular places, small tour groups can venture off-the-beaten track, to places that bigger coaches simply can’t reach. We think that makes them all the more memorable.

 Ultimately, these seven benefits of small group tours boil down to connection. Travelling as part of small group tours gives you a deeper connection – with your guide, with your fellow travellers, and with the people and places you visit.

 On a small group tour with GeoCultura, all you have to do is sit back, relax and let the questions, conversation and stories flow!

 Have we convinced you of the benefits of travelling with a small group? Check out our upcoming small group tours.