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By Mike Vondruska
The Best Guided Tour Group Size
Travel Tip – Think about it.
Let’s say you have earmarked a chunk of your hard-earned money and set aside a block of days to escape your normal everyday life for a getaway guided tour to go explore some corner of the world.
Why would you want to sign on with a tour company that has maximum group sizes consisting of 20-45 travelers?
With that many people, can that tour company make arrangements to be invited into someone’s home to watch a local artisan at work or to have lunch with a local family?
With 20 plus people . . . No, not likely!
Can that many people quietly walk in a jungle forest to adequately hear the awesome sounds of howler monkeys in the distance?
I don’t think so as it might be more challenging to hear the sounds of nature if some of the people in your larger group are chatting with each other.
Plus, with big tour groups, your guide usually needs to have a portable sound system and microphone.
Now that’s impersonal!
In my opinion, the best number of travelers to have in one group is no more than 16.
With 7 to 16 people, everyone can fit comfortably in a 17 to 20 passenger Sprinter van or similar. Narrower and off-the-beaten-path roads can then be navigated without any challenges.
With even smaller group sizes of 2-7 people, an SUV or Suburban will work great.
A Travel Story About One of Our Recent Trips
Recently, my trip design team and I were helping a private group to arrange an 11 day custom designed tour to explore the Yucatan Peninsula region of México.
They had 25 people in their group which means we would have to secure a big coach bus for their transportation.
They wanted us to include in their custom designed itinerary several off-the-beaten-tourist-route cenotes they had discovered online. Their reasoning was that there would be no huge tourist crowds to fight off at these more remote cenotes. Sounds like a great “game plan,” doesn’t it?
Yes, BUT … big coach buses cannot make it in the narrow dirt roads where we know these cool cenotes are located. Because of that, we could not arrange for them to go to these remote sinkholes.
So instead, we had to make arrangements to take them to the more advertised cenotes with big parking lots where most likely there will be 3 to 6 other bus/van loads of tourists trying to enjoy these natural pools at the same time.
To Wrap-Up this Article
Here is my advise if you are looking for a guided tour?
Find a company that limits their tour group size to no more than 16 travelers.
By signing on with a company that only promotes smaller group tours of up to 16 people, your hard-earned vacation money will go further towards creating many more up-close and intimate memories of the region you want to explore.
FYI: On our online advertised tours, our maximum group size ranges between 6 and 16, depending on the type of tour it is.
Here is some quick info about the kinds of transportation we use on our tours.
Buen Viaje! / Happy Travels!