Why I’m Glad I Took a Group Tour to India
Prior to booking my trip to India, I heard a lot of mixed advice from people who had travelled there. Some people told me they hated it and would never travel back, and others told me that they absolutely fell in love with it. When I talked to travellers about whether or not it was safe to travel there alone, I also received mixed feedback.
I chatted with and followed fearless travellers like Mariellen of Breathedreamgo, and Rachel of Hippie in Heels, who seemed to be doing just fine on their own in India. But as much as I tried to not get influenced by all the people who told me not to travel there alone, I also wasn’t very confident doing a solo trip.
“We only have to make it through one day on our own,” I thought.
I’ve never been big on travelling solo. I mean, I’ll do it, but I’d much prefer having one other person to travel along with. Turns out, it’s hard to convince people to come to a place like India with you. So I decided I was going to take my first group tour with G Adventures. When I thought about group tours, the immediate thing to come to mind was 40+ people piling onto a bus every day and not really getting to experience the authentic side of a country.
But I did my research and had always been a huge fan of G Adventures and what they stand for. So even though I didn’t know what to expect, I felt confident that with an open mind I’d have a good experience. Turns out, I also was able to convince my sister to come on the tour with me.
India was definitely as overwhelming as I expected it to be. Between the chaotic traffic, the hordes of people everywhere, and the poverty, it’s definitely no lie when people tell you that India awakens all your senses. Weirdly enough though, I think mentally preparing myself for anything really helped with my expectations. I didn’t go into India with high expectations. I went with an open mind, and because of that, nothing disappointed me.
On top of that, I realized that although India is intimidating, it really didn’t feel unsafe.
When I first arrived in Delhi and made my way to my hostel for night one, I was a bit intimidated (and too jet lagged) to be motivated to leave the hostel and explore. I wasn’t joining my tour until the following day, and to be honest, knowing I would be with a group and an educated guide is what calmed my anxiety of the overwhelming country. “We only have to make it through one day on our own,” I thought.
Once joining our tour, I felt much more confident knowing that we had a local guide who knew everything we needed to know about the country and could show us the must-see things. The good thing about a guide is that all those random questions you get along your travels can actually be answered. And, I found I learned so much more on this tour then I ever would on my own.
On top of that, I realized that although India is intimidating, it really didn’t feel unsafe. What comes off as intimidating about the country is really just the typical day-to-day life in India.
If it means that you go on a group tour and actually see a country versus not going because you’re too scared, I think it’s totally worth it.
Being on a group tour definitely boosted my confidence when traveling the country. Not only did you have others around you when you wanted to venture off from the guide or had free time, but you also felt there was safety in numbers. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t have felt as confident in traveling the country if I was alone or just with my sister.
Even just navigating the cities we were in was hard. Google Maps wasn’t very helpful, most locals didn’t know how to read our maps, and there weren’t street names (that we could find). There was even an instance where we had to run onto a moving train because the train only stopped for less than two minutes—had we not been prepared for this by our guide, we would have missed our train, and train tickets book quickly.
I think choosing to go on this trip with a tour group was the best decision I made. Would I go on a tour for countries that were easy to travel solo? Probably not, but being with a group for a country that is hard to travel allowed me to see so much more of the country, not have to stress or worry, and honestly made the trip seem more like a trip or vacation versus a headache.
Now that I’ve gone to India as a group, I definitely think there are parts of the country that I could conquer on my own. We see brave travellers doing it all the time, but it’s not for everyone. If it means that you go on a group tour and actually see a country versus not going because you’re too scared, I think it’s totally worth it.
Why I’m Glad I Took a Group Tour to India
Have you traveled to India? What were your impressions? Email us at edi[email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Why I’m Glad I Took a Group Tour to India top and in-content photo credit: Lauren Marinigh