This post was originally published on the author’s blog, bayleelandowski.com. It has been republished with her permission.
Less than a month ago, I returned from my week-long vacation to Italy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I chose to take this trip with Intrepid Travel.
I was impressed with how the trip turned out to say the least!
Since I was so thrilled with my experience, I wanted to share a bit about why I chose group travel and what sets Intrepid apart from the other travel companies available to you. So, here’s what my Highlights of Italy trip was really like, and why you should consider it.
Why I chose group travel
Travel is a passion of mine. Many people say they want to travel but they won’t take the leap! There’s a million valid excuses but if you don’t just go for it anyway, it’s never going to happen. These opportunities don’t fall into your lap – it’s you that has to put effort into it.
But hey, that’s exactly why I chose to do group travel! I was so busy with school and work and saving money for rent, groceries, and things like this that I simply didn’t have time to sit there and plan an elaborate trip. So I took to the internet and researched what each group travel company covered and offered.
Group travel really takes away from the exhausting process of planning every little detail and lets you focus on the fun stuff. Instead of worrying about your reservation getting lost over stupid internet problems, you just get to browse Pinterest for what to do in your destination. No hassles. Yes please!
I was looking for a company that would handle accommodations and transportation but also didn’t have a packed itinerary. I wanted the freedom to explore but also wanted to reach out to a tour leader if I needed suggestions. Intrepid Travel offered exactly that. They do have more advanced trips with more organised itineraries though if that’s more your thing!
Once I decided on a company, I paid the deposit and got excited! Intrepid Travel lets you pay the trip off over time if you want, which was way convenient for a broke college student like me.
Why I chose Intrepid specifically
There are so many group travel companies out there heading to tons of exciting destinations and while I’m sure those trips are great, Intrepid boasts responsible travel on their adventures. This means that by traveling with them you can create wonderful memories while knowing you’re leaving a positive footprint. I’ll elaborate further in this section so you understand why I’m so keen on this company:
You get the local leaders
Intrepid employs tour leaders in each country who reside in the area. This is awesome in a few ways! Jacopo, our tour leader, was able to give us a rundown of the culture and history in each city we visited. He spoke Italian of course so when we asked him to help us with our Italian, he was happy to!
Halfway through our trip we suddenly realized we had booked our flight to leave a day after the tour ended*facepalm*. Luckily, Jacopo had no issue booking us a second night in our hotel. It was nice knowing that we didn’t need to stress about it!
Furthermore, Jacopo became a friend! We keep up with him and the rest of our group on Facebook.
You meet so many cool people!
One of the best parts of the trip were the people I met. Everyone was older than us but honestly, I liked it better that way for a first-time trip. Next time I will try out one of Intrepid Travel‘s 18-29 trips. But regardless of which one you go with, an awesome part about meeting all these people is that they are like-minded.
We have connected with them all over Facebook and in the future I know that I can reach out to them if I am heading to their countries. One couple offered their home in New Zealand to Zoe and I for if we wanted to stay longer than a vacation and work there! What an opportunity. I will certainly be taking them up on it!
But the point of this is that you can build travel connections with the people you meet, which is especially important if you’re looking to travel often for cheap.
You get to learn the basics of travel
Prior to this Italy trip, I had traveled to Europe once before with a different tour group. It was a great time but we just took a tour bus everywhere. Sure it’s convenient, but let me tell you why Intrepid does it better.
Intrepid Travel is all about responsible travel and part of this is traveling by public transportation. Taking public transportation gives you a more authentic experience. You get to do things the way the locals do!
This was helpful to me also because I was able to learn how to navigate a train station. In addition to this, Jacopo taught us how to pick out “tourist food”. And for two nights on the trip we got a taste of what it’s like to stay in a hostel (a really nice hostel!). We had a great time and it opened my mind to staying in more of them which is great because they’re so much cheaper than hotels.
Freedom and flexibility
Leaders with Intrepid Travel have plenty of fun things planned for you even without it being included in the itinerary. Of course, you don’t have to do these things if you don’t want to but these are experiences you likely wouldn’t get on your own! We did so many amazing things I wouldn’t have known how to go about doing if I traveled on my own.
Another nice feature of these trips are the orientation walks in each city. They are optional but our trip leader gave us plenty of information and showed us the main route from the hotels. After the orientation walks, we were free to do whatever we felt like. Essentially, the whole day to explore! I personally loved this and this is one of the main reasons I chose Intrepid Travel. It was a great balance between organised activities and free time.
There is nothing I would recommend more than taking an Intrepid Travel trip at least once in your life. They have a trip for every budget and every style. They have foodie trips (for vegans too!), hiking and biking trips, festival trips, Adventure Cruising, and more.
One recommendation I have is that you should consider arriving a day or two early to get over the jet lag. I had such a hard time with this and all I wanted to do was explore, explore, explore!
Though I do want my next big Europe trip to be on my own, I am already making plans to use Intrepid Travel for a Central America trip!
Ready for a beautiful adventure through Italy? Check out Intrepid’s range of small group tours there.
(Image credits from top to bottom: Baylee Landoswki x2, Intrepid Travel x2, Baylee Landoswki x3.)