3 Things I Learned On My First Group Travel Experience

Last weekend I decided to spontaneously head to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany with Stoke Travel. I boarded the train from London with 40 other eager party strangers. 10 hours later, two bottles of rosé, countless beers and tequila shots later, we were greeted with a sea of tents and a party pumping in a campground. Definitely not the worst job I’ve been asked to do.

I’m a serial solo traveller, so group travel is an entirely new experience. Solo travel comes with many perks (I get to do what I want, when I want, and how I want) but, as I learned this past weekend, group travel can open the doors to new experiences that you wouldn’t normally consider when you’re hacking it by yourself. So here are 3 things I learned on my first group travel experience… thanks to Stoke Travel! Ps: Wanna get in on the Stoketober fest fun in 2019? You can sign up here!

Sometimes not being in charge can actually be really, really good

Travel can be stressful at the best of times, and sometimes you just NEED to switch off and let someone else take the organisational reigns of your trip. Plus, if you throw a little bit of some good old fashioned binge drinking into the mix, you’re looking down the long barrel of potentially lost passports, forgotten bags and misplaced iPhones.

This is where group travel can be great. You have a whole support team looking after you to make sure you have the best time ever, and let me tell you, the Stoke team really have the whole supportive family vibe down pat. I literally left my backpack on a platform in Mannheim, Germany. It had my entire life in it (think laptop, camera, hard drives etc) and I didn’t even realise it was gone! Luckily enough, our guides picked it up for me. Talk about crisis averted.

Group travel can provide you with an opportunity to do something you wouldn’t do by yourself

Sail Croatia, kayak through Norway, hike Kilimanjaro, party in Ibiza, drink at Oktoberfest - all things I probably wouldn’t do if I was travelling by myself. Sure you might make friends (especially if you’re a serial hostel traveller like me) but sometimes turning up by yourself to a local drinking festival when you know no one can be daunting.

On the other hand, if you rock up solo on a group travel trip by yourself, you’ll soon be calling 40 people amongst your nearest and dearest. Travelling to Oktoberfest with Stoke provided me with the opportunity to do something I honestly didn’t even have on my radar for this year, and I had one heck of a time!

One experience shared can bring you closer to people you wouldn’t normally meet

I’ve talked about this before when I hiked Stairway to Heaven in Hawaii. Sometimes when you share a significant achievement or life event with other people - even people you don’t know - it bonds you together in this weird, we all survived this CRAZY WEEKEND together, kind of way. Even if you never hangout in person again, you’ll always have a special unspoken bond. And who knows, sometimes you might meet someone who will change your life. Anything is possible. That’s the great thing about travel!

TravelCarolyn West