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BlogTravel buzzFeeling the loneliness epidemic? You’re not alone! Here’s how guided group travel leads to new connections
Travel buzz

Feeling the loneliness epidemic? You’re not alone! Here’s how guided group travel leads to new connections

May 31, 2024 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

If you’ve found yourself feeling isolated or disconnected from society recently, know that you’re not alone. There’s growing recognition that today’s collective sense of seclusion is a pressing public health crisis—dubbed the loneliness epidemic. In our fast-paced world, genuine human connections are increasingly rare, contributing to feelings of isolation and alienation. Group travel offers a powerful antidote to loneliness by providing opportunities to create meaningful bonds and shared experiences.

“When you open your heart to the world, many different things will fall into it,” said traveler Marisa when recounting her reasons to travel. “By exploring new surroundings, you’ll run into new people that are just waiting to be your friend, if only for a few moments. I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people from all walks of life that helped make my experiences even more profound.” Read on to find out how traveling keeps this epidemic of loneliness at bay, and to see what some of our travelers said about their shared experiences on tour.

You’ll forge new friendships on tour

Leaning into group travel is one of our favorite ways to combat the current epidemic of loneliness, simply because traveling together mirrors how many of us made friends as children: spending time together in a group, sharing meals and new experiences. It’s rare for adults to get opportunities like this to make new friends, especially when we lead such busy lives. If you’re seeking connection, friendship, and even a new travel companion, join one of our group tours. “What made this trip memorable were the people that I met,” said traveler Stephanie about our Food & Wine Tour of Southern Italy & Sicily. “Having a smaller group allowed us to get to know each other. I was traveling solo, but I never felt alone because there was always someone to eat, drink, or shop with.”

You’ll meet new people whether you set out with your family and friends or venture forth on your own on a solo trip. In fact, solo travel isn’t just a temporary solution to the loneliness epidemic—it’s an excellent way to find a travel buddy for future adventures. Travelers Vicki and Jessica met while traveling solo on tour and have since planned several trips together. “Just before my father passed away, he said to me [that] he wished he would have traveled more,” Vicki said. “I will not be saying that! I started solo traveling in 2019, then I met Jessica in 2022 on an EF tour in Iceland, and now we have several other tours that we are booked on.”

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You can disconnect from technology and connect with nature

According to major health institutions, one of the leading causes of the loneliness epidemic is thought to be our use (or overuse) of technology. Many of us spend much of our time glued to screens, and sometimes we need a break to feel connected to others and the world around us. Join us on one of our National Parks Tours to rediscover the wonders of your own backyard as you immerse yourself in nature. “What impressed me most about America’s first national park was just how expansive it is,” said staffer Laura after visiting Yellowstone on our U.S. National Parks: The Grand Canyon to Yellowstone tour. “The park’s wide-open spaces create a feeling of boundlessness that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.”

Fend off the loneliness epidemic and feel like a part of a larger whole while stargazing on tour in New Zealand, which is one of the best places to see impressive night skies. Chase the aurora borealis on our Iceland: Reykjavik & the Northern Lights tour, or admire the power of Victoria Falls, one of the most iconic places to visit on our Botswana & Zimbabwe Wildlife Safari. Not only will you feel more connected with nature, but chances are you’ll bond with your fellow travelers as well. “A big benefit of a solo safari in Kenya is that you travel in the same Jeep the whole time with the same six people, including your guide,” said staffer Megan after taking our Kenya Wildlife Safari for Solo Travelers. “You really get ample time to talk to that group and can easily leave the tour with six new travel friends!

Disconnect to reconnect

You can become a Group Coordinator and bring people together

If you find yourself in search of travel companions and want to create a supportive network, why not form your own community? If you have a knack for bringing people together, joining our Group Coordinator program is the perfect way to not only combat loneliness for yourself but help others fend it off as well. (It also happens to be a side hustle that will allow you to travel for free.) Gather a few people with a shared passion for travel, give them the opportunity to invite along a few more travel partners, and watch as your social circle expands. “I meet new people as friends bring their friends and the circle grows with each tour,” said Group Coordinator Davis, who’s helped coordinate four tours with Go Ahead.

Once you start organizing tours (and earning free travel as a Group Coordinator!), you’ll see opportunities to find people to travel with everywhere. Invite neighbors from your local rec center to join you for rainforest exploration and nature hikes on our Grand Tour of Peru: Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca, or gather your book club together to be whisked away to real-life destinations reminiscent of the lands in A Court of Thorns and Roses. If you’re a member of a religious community, consider putting together a group for one of our Faith-Based Tours. Or, if your friends and family could use a little self-care (couldn’t we all?), consider encouraging them to take some time for themselves—and each other—with the siren song of fresh feta and Greek wine on our Food & Wine: A Taste of Greece tour.

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You’ll find a community with shared interests

Joining one of our specialty tours, such as a Food and Wine Tour or a History Tour, is a surefire way to connect with others over shared interests—even beyond your love of travel. We offer tours for every type of traveler, whether you’d like to explore battlefields on our American WWII History: London to Berlin tour or take train rides to the most enchanting cities in Switzerland. “You just have to go in with the attitude and assurance that these are all people who want to travel to the same places as you, and nobody signs up for these kinds of trips without the intention of having an amazing time,” said traveler Dana in our interview with a solo traveler. “From day one, you already have at least one thing in common with everyone in your group.”

Another way to bond with your fellow travelers over shared interests is by joining our optional excursions. Whether you learn to make ravioli together on the Pasta-Making Class & Dinner excursion offered on our Rome tours or taste port on the Douro River Cruise & Port Wine Cellar excursion offered on our Portugal: Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon tour, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to form a deeper connection with your groupmates. “This was such an amazing experience,” said traveler Autumn about the Paros Boat Cruise & Snorkeling excursion on our Greece’s Cyclades Islands: Naxos & Paros tour. “Everyone was so nice, and I felt like the group really bonded!” Traveler Yalitza agreed that it was the “best icebreaker for our group.”

Find your community on tour

You can give back while on tour

A common goal can work as a powerful magnet, drawing people together. Our Responsible Travel initiatives unite our community in the shared mission to make the world a better place. Whether you book a Safari Tour or a trip to Europe, you can feel confident that we’re committed to supporting local communities, protecting the environment, and promoting animal welfare. You’ll fight the loneliness epidemic by creating a better world for all of us to share—and bonding with your fellow travelers in the process.

Join us on a trip to Thailand to participate in one of our favorite responsible wildlife experiences: helping prepare food and medicine for free-roaming elephants at the ChangChill sanctuary. Or, book one of our Costa Rica tours to help combat deforestation in the country’s cloud forests by planting trees with your fellow travelers. “There were so many itinerary highlights, but planting trees at the Monteverde Heliconia Ranch was very special to me,” said staffer Lauren about the experience. “Everyone got to plant a tree to work toward offsetting our carbon footprint. … I also made friends with some of the people in my group, and we still keep in touch. I even visited a few of them over the holidays. Who knew a trip of a lifetime would also lead to forever friendships? Not this girl. I’m so glad that I got to experience group travel and the extra memories it helped create.”

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You’ll be able to celebrate yourself on a Solo Tour

Sometimes loneliness can come from feeling like we’ve lost ourselves, and the best way to combat it is by turning inward. Traveler Janice cited celebrating herself as her top reason to visit Greece solo, and we agree that taking a Solo Tour provides the perfect opportunity for self-reflection, self-discovery, and self-care. Traveler Karen’s love of painting reignited on a solo trip. “There is a lot to be said for making things happen in your life instead of sitting back waiting for the right moment,” she said as she reflected on the ways art and travel changed her life. “People often hold themselves back from traveling because they don’t want to go alone. But, seeing the world on a guided tour is the best way to travel solo because you’re able to meet people. If you can get past the idea that you have to go with somebody, it will open up a world of experiences. I’ve taken lessons from wonderful Italian artists and painted on the streets of Venice. I took a watercolor workshop in Giverny, France, last June; I never dreamed I’d be painting in Monet’s garden. The whole world opens up to you if you’re not afraid to put yourself out there.”

Of course, there are many ways to celebrate yourself on tour—all you have to do is choose the one that speaks to you. Join us on our brand-new Bali for Solo Travelers: Beaches, Temples & Culture tour to nurture your mind, body, and soul at a yoga class, take a Balinese cooking lesson, and participate in a water purification ceremony surrounded by the island’s verdant beauty. If dazzling lights and quaint cafes are more your speed, join our new France for Solo Travelers: Paris, Provence & the Riviera tour to take in the glamor of Paris, the charm of wine country, and all of the palaces and pastries you’ll encounter in between. Wherever you choose to visit, remember that travel isn’t just about exploring new destinations—it’s about rediscovering and celebrating yourself along the way.

Fight the loneliness epidemic with us on one of our guided group tours!

About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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