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Traveling alone - how do group tours work?


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Dear enotalone people,

I’m wondering how you would handle this situation if you were me. I’d like to visit China for 2 weeks. I don’t know anyone there at all, and I'll be traveling by myself.


My biggest fear is loneliness. So, I would like to go on a guided group tour, but I’m not sure how they work. Have any of you taken a tour with a group of random people? If so, were you always together with at least some of the people, or did you find yourself alone sometimes involuntarily?


I’m 33 but I don’t like sports or drinking. I don’t want to be the only person under 70 on my tour, but I’m afraid - scared, really - that if I go on a tour with young people, then they’ll all decide to go skydiving or bungee jumping spontaneously and I’ll be stuck by myself, or else it’ll turn out to be a drunken party every night kind of tour (scary for me), or an action/adventure type where you go boating and you have to, like, build your own boat.


Do you think I have something to worry about, or am I just being silly? I feel like I'll be bored with old people, but scared of young people, and I don't know what to do. I'd appreciate hearing any of your experiences travelling alone. If only I knew that I would have someone to talk to on any given night.


Thanks so much for your help.

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I have traveled on my own a lot and have traveled in several developing countries as well I don't tend to do tours, but I think anywhere you go you will be fine!


It is always easy to meet other travelers and even if you don't, it's part of the experience!


I wouldn't join a tour of a whole country like a contiki, or kiwi experience(in New zealand0 or anythign like that.


and in China, it is fairly easy to travel on your own. Sometimes i would book day tours or something if there are particular places you want to see or certain activities you want to do.... tha way you have people to do things when you want, but you aren't stuck with them for the whole trip.


so yeah, I go with the 'NO TOUR' thing.


how long are you going for? why not pick up a China Lonely Planet book and you will get all the information you need to travel on your own?


I guarantee if you go on your own you will meet a lot of people doing the same thing...


For eg.. you will hop on a train and find someone else going to the same place you are and doing the same things you want to do. You aren't bound to do anything with them, but you can if you want... and it will be company for the train ride or someone to share accommodation with.

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I've been on several tours. It's not as spontaneous as you think. First, the tour guide keeps all the members together most of the time. They keep you together for meals and when they take you around the landmarks. Second, the only time you will be "alone" is when you're at a landmark and the tour guide says "You have 30 minutes of free time here." and everyone runs off doing their own thing ie taking pictures or souvenir shopping. You will also be alone at night when they bring you back to the hotel. I should mention, you're not confined to the hotel. You're free to explore as much as you want. If you were wondering, the majority of the tour group stay with the people they came with. Some are friendly and want to get to know others, but others just don't want to socialize outside of their friends or family they came with.


There are some things I don't like about tours. It is extremely fast paced. They work you on their schedule. You have to get up at a certain time, leave the landmark at a certain time, eat for designated number of minutes....it's very structured and when members don't arrive back at the tour bus on time, it throws the whole schedule off. Another thing is that the places they bring you for your meals SUCKS. It is not authentic food from the area. They usually pimp food to you that is more "Americanized." Tour guides also pimp their sponsors a lot or tell you to buy certain products.

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