Tailor-made vs group tours – how a few extra dollars can enhance your holiday experience

Updated 24 September 2019

Is the extra expense of a tailor-made tour worthwhile? For those who are in the know…you bet your bottom dollar it is!

We frequently field questions from travellers enquiring about the major differences between tailor-made and group tours to Latin America. Whilst it’s true that the former is usually more expensive than the latter, many prospective travellers are surprised to hear that, in fact, the difference is not as big as they imagine.

Moreover, the rewards of having a tour itinerary specifically designed to their (and their travel companions) needs and wishes far outweigh the marginal extra expense. A tailor-made tour offers a wealth of privileges and has the potential to infinitely enhance your travel experience. For many, it is a priceless luxury for just a few extra $. Tailor-made tours simply deliver more bang for your travelling buck. And, at the end of the day, isn’t the aim to squeeze the most out of every single minute of travel to Latin America?

Greater independence & less compromise

Try desperately as they may, it is impossible for any group tour operator to tick every guest’s happiness box, 100% of the time. That’s because group tours, by their very essence, need to cater to an array of different people, with varying tastes, fitness levels and budgets. What this means is that sometimes, the ‘group’ will be scheduled to visit a site or include an activity you may not personally be interested in. On a tailor-made tour, however, the only desires you need to compromise on are those of your loved ones. If you’re all on the same wavelength and have shared interests, it means ALL of your tour time is spent doing only what YOU love. No more handcraft markets…or ONLY handcraft markets? The choice is yours!

The greater independence of tailor-made tours is undoubtedly one of its most precious bonuses. Vacation time is a luxury in itself, hard-earned and much-needed. Why compromise?

Amazon, Peru

Boat trip on the Murky Amazonian Water. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Family trips in the Amazon are an incredible way to reconnect

More flexibility

Tailor-made tours are meticulously organized for guests, taking into consideration the above mentioned issue of personal tastes and desires. However, sometimes, one simply changes one’s mind half-way through. Sometimes, one hears of a hidden treasure around the corner to visit, or one simply realizes hiking the Andes is actually a lot more fun than anticipated.

Want to change your itinerary ever so slightly, to do just one more hike, one more cooking class, one more wine tour? On tailor-made tours, you can. On group tours, not so much. Group tours beat to a different drum and although they are all-encompassing and varied, they are restricted in how much flexibility they have. If greater flexibility tickles your goat then tailor-made tours are for you.

São Paulo, Brazil

Beautiful picture of a goat. Photo credit: Shutterstock

– Here’s a goat you can tickle, farmhouse near Joanopois, southern Brazil

You can mix-n-match your travel style

Group tours are often categorized by travel styles: whether budget, mid-range or deluxe, they aim to please the tastes and budgets of a specific target market. But what if you’re a bit of both? What if you love camping for a couple of nights and are happy to go budget in the first week, for example, but then want to go all swish and flash at the end?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a group tour that includes a bit of both. So what to do? Book a deluxe and cough up for unwanted super luxury all the time? Or go budget and be forced to include extra days at the end, independently, for a bit of comfort and luxury? Well, save yourself the hassle and book a tailor-made tour instead. You can choose the level of travel style you want and you’ll be free to mix-n-match at will.

Is this luxury boutique hotel in Cuzco, Peru, a little bit of you? The perfect post Inca-Trail reward.

Deeper intimacy

Group tours are beautifully social and we’ve all made lifelong friends with fellow group travellers with whom we’ve shared trips. Having said that, we also realize group tours aren’t for everyone. There are times when you’re travelling with your loved ones, maybe your spouse or with children and grandparents (or maybe you are the grandparent) when sharing a tour with a group of strangers is just not going to cut it.

For greater intimacy with your family and friends, tailor-made tours are ideal. You can truly relax with your loved ones and can spend quality time travelling together, without having to share your space and time with others. Moreover, the deeper intimacy of tailor-made tours is not only restricted to your travel companions.

Group tours usually need to sojourn in bigger hotels and dine in larger restaurants, more often tourist-aimed ones as they offer the greatest array of choice. On small tailor-made tours, however, you can choose to stay in boutique family-run hotels and feast in smaller, more authentic restaurants. You have more chances to meet locals and get to know them and certainly more chance to get off the well-trodden-trail. Tailor-made tours can gift the kind of intimate experience all travellers to South America crave.

Peru, South America

Beautiful view of a Harvesting. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Just as many chances for socialising

It goes without saying that group tours are, by their very nature, ideal for social butterflies. The opportunity to meet and travel with a great bunch of like-minded people is, in fact, the primary reason so many travellers are drawn to them. However, just because tailor-made tours see you travelling with your chosen travel-partners alone, it doesn’t mean you’ll suffer aloneness.

You’ll have an array of chances to meet and mingle with other travellers, be it at a tourist site, at a restaurant or having sunset drinks at your chosen hotel. Moreover, you can always partake on a group activity or outing on tailor-made tours (be it for just a single day or more), offering you the chance to not only save a few dollars but also meet new people. Best of both worlds? You bet!

However, if you are interested in travelling completely privately, tailor-made journeys can be upgraded to 100% private, your own guide, your own private tours for an additional cost.

You can hone in on your specialised interest

Whether it’s cooking courses in Argentina, wildlife watching in the Pantanal, snorkelling in Belize, photographing in the Galapagos Islands or hiking in Patagonia, a tailor-made tour can be organised so as to hone in on your specific interests. Specialised guides and points of interests, as well as activities, can be arranged and you can dedicate more (or all) of your time to your most fervent passion.

There’s no denying that group tours offer a world of fun and amazing travel experiences for certain travellers. Yet when it comes to an enhanced South America travel experience, tailor-made tours reign supreme.  And this is especially true for those who have visited before (no need to visit the same place twice if you don’t want to) are traveling with loved ones or simply want a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable intimate travel experience in Latin America, one of the most captivating places on earth.

And aren’t a few extra $ worth all that?

Ready to squeeze every moment out of a Latin America travel experience with a tailor-made tour? Then pick up that phone or click on that email, and contact us. Here at Chimu Adventures, we are dedicated and experienced at planning bespoke tours throughout the continent and, if you let us come along, we’ll show you the time of your life.

Author: Laura Pattara

“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 15 years. She’s tour-guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and has completed a 6-year motorbike trip from Europe to Australia. What ticks her fancy most? Animal encounters in remote wilderness, authentic experiences off the beaten trail and spectacular Autumn colours in Patagonia.”