Have you ever tried planning a trip with your family or friends, only to fail and end up with nowhere to go at all? And even if the plan pushed through, did you go through so much stress that it (almost) ruined your vacation?
This summer, I’m laying off the coordinator and leader’s role in planning vacation trips. So with much doubt and hesitation, I went for a Banaue-Sagada-Baguio tour as a joiner in a group of 14. Long story short, I enjoyed the trip and developed appreciation for going on a trip as a joiner among people I have not met before.
Why go on a vacation with complete strangers as a joiner? Aside from the fact it’s less stressful since the itinerary is already set, and the cost is cheaper as a group, what can you gain from joining a tour? Here are some thoughts from some of the other joiners I met in the tour:
6. You know it will push through.
“This is an activity for those who are adventurous and actually love to travel, so you can bet it will push through. Walang drawing like what your friends do,” says Carrie, a 51-year old lawyer. At her age, Carrie is loving the fact that it’s much easier to travel these days especially with opportunities like being a joiner. “When you join a group of strangers for an adventure, the excitement just doubles because you don’t know what to expect. You know the adventure will happen, rain or shine.”
5. You get to test your limits.
“When you’re traveling with people you don’t know, you have to learn to be cooperative,” says 26-year old Angelo, an accounting staff from Bulacan. “For example, if you’re hungry, you can’t be a brat about it and ask the van to make a stop somewhere. Tiisin mo.”
“I discovered that I have the skills to go mountain hiking and cave exploring with a shoulder bag on,” says Jigs laughing. A 24-year old restaurant manager, Jigs doesn’t mind going with people he doesn’t know, for as long they get to enjoy the whole adventure together. He considers it an opportunity to make new friends, experience a new adventure, or at least learn from other people’s stories.
4. You have better selfies.
“When you’re traveling solo, it’s hard to get a good selfie especially if you don’t have a selfie stick. Asking other travelers to take your photo for you is kind of embarrassing. But when you’re a joiner, you have a lot of volunteers to take your selfie for you. The coordinators are usually the best [people] to take your photo since they know the best angles and the best spots,” says 32-year old software engineer Paolo.
3. You learn to adjust.
“When you’re among strangers, you just have to be ready to make adjustments. In a way, it teaches you the real value of leadership—you don’t leave anyone behind. If you’re hiking, there’s bound to be people who walk much slower than you, so you have to wait for them to pick up the pace. Encourage them to suck it up so you all can get to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation once you reach your destination,” says Jonathan, a 36-year old warehouse supervisor. He has joined tour groups for ten times already, although with some of his own friends in tow.
2. You will not be judged.
“You don’t know anyone, and they don’t know you, so they don’t have any reason to judge who you are in their company. As a joiner, you feel braver to act just the way you are. And when you’re being yourself, you feel more relaxed. Being away from familiar faces and places like home or work can be liberating,” says Jay, a 26-year old software tester.
1. You can help mend a broken heart.
“I learned to sacrifice my own happiness to help a friend who’s suffering from a broken heart. By going with him on this tour, I’m able to comfort him somehow. Hopefully, this adventure that we shared with strangers can give him a fresh perspective on things,” says Aleya, a 36-year old mother and a businesswoman.
Have you ever joined a group tour before? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!