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Advice for first time tour group member

I am traveling as a single on the Best of Turkey in the spring and am looking for any words of wisdom from seasoned tour group travelers.

Posted by
8798 posts

Enjoy yourself.

Haven’t been on the Best of Turkey tour but did go solo on the Best of Istanbul tour. Great time. Great guide, Mert Tanner.

RS tours are well done. I also did the Best of Florence tour solo and the fact we got to see David before they opened the doors of the museum is a memory I savor. Whole 30 minutes to enjoy Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Our guide brought in an art historian to provide insight. Memorable!

Posted by
2474 posts

Have you gotten the single supplement, so that you’ll always have a room to yourself? You know best whether or not that’s important to you.

Posted by
25 posts

Hi D, This year, I travelled as a single on the Heart of Portugal and Best of Sicily tours. I chose not to pay the single supplement to see how it went (I'm pretty easy going). In the HOP tour, I was paired with a lovely well-travelled woman and we got along splendidly. In the BOS tour, there were no other singles willing to share so I had a room to myself. Other way, I was fine. If you aren't sure, do pay for the supplement.

As a solo traveler, I never felt left out or anything. The other tour participants, whether in couples or in groups, were very welcoming. I fell while on the BOS tour, and so many stepped in to assist me. I felt very cared for.

Turkey is wonderful. Have a wonderful visit!!

Posted by
2267 posts

I did that tour as a single traveler in the fall of 2019 and had a great time. I've done some other group travel as a single, too.

I have two words of wisdom I can think of as a single traveler in a group:
-If you're at all introverted, you may need to politely protect your personal space from the super extroverts. Some people love to talk 24/7, and sometimes don't read subtle clues of people that need some more space and peace. For me, this it usually only an issue in the morning—I am very quiet until after breakfast, and sharing tables with AM talkers is torture for me. I've developed the strategy of identifying the other quiet-wakers, and making them my regular table-makes. By the time the day starts I'm ready and able to juggle al the personalities and characters of the group.
-Dinners that aren't with the whole group mean everyone will scatter. In contrast to my performance for solitary breakfasts, I usually prefer to dine with others. As people make plans they may not think to include you, but don't be shy about asking "what are you doing for dinner? May I join?" Unless a couple is having a 'date night' I've always been very welcome to tag along with others and get to know my group mates better.

Posted by
4795 posts

Hi dedellac, I have lots to say specifically about the Best of Turkey tour (and the Best of Istanbul tour) in my "3 weeks in Turkey" trip report. It is such a wonderful tour in so many ways: the variety of sights and activities; the food; the fantastic guides; and, for me, the introduction to a culture that I knew very little about. There are also a few comments about solo travel vs my first tour group experiences. I will continue my solo travels (I'm flying out tomorrow on a solo trip) and I absolutely loved the tours! Particularly for Turkey, it was the right decision for me to take the tours.

Posted by
2455 posts

I was on the excellent RS Turkey tour as a solo in 2018, one of many RS tours I have taken as a single. I have generally found that my interaction with others in the group depended on me. Meaning, when I wanted to share time, meals or conversation, others were very open and welcoming. When I wanted to be on my own at certain times or for certain explorations, I could disappear and do that easily. That was often true even in group activities, such as exploring ruins, markets, etc., as long as you do not lose track of or delay the group. In all these RS tours, I always ended up with my own double seat on tour buses, plenty of room to relax in comfort.
Especially for the Turkey tour, I would highly recommend you spend additional days in Istanbul, either before the beginning of the tour, or maybe at the end, or both. Istanbul is a very large and spread out city, with many wonderful sites and diverse neighborhoods, spread over 2 continents, and the RS Turkey tour spends very little time in Istanbul, quite rushed I found. I did not hesitate to visit sites already on the tour agenda, probably with the exception of the Topkapi Palace, as most deserve more time. I recommend taking some kind of food tour on your first or second day in Istanbul. You get a feel for the city and local foods, sometimes markets, and the guide can offer tips for restaurants suited to your tastes, and other things to see or do.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you for everyone’s insights.

Larry, yes I am spending at least a couple of days in Istanbul pretour. Taking the foodie tour the Sunday before the tour begins.

I am torn between booking a guide for Saturday or adventuring out on my own. Maybe both.

Thanks again to everyone

Posted by
733 posts

I would recommend being open and friendly with the other tour participants because you will likely find some who will be glad to include you in activities. You might for instance find a sociable mature gay couple! On several tours my husband and I have had some of the single female travelers gravitate to us. We enjoyed their company immensely and it's refreshing to us to have more interaction. I think we made their metro/bus travel feel safer and meals more interesting. We were on tour a short time after a string of relatives passed away and made great friends with a solo female who had just lost her mother. Sometimes you will find the perfect companions on tour.

Posted by
38 posts

My husband and I have done a number of RS tours and every one of them had single travelers that we have enjoyed getting to know. We often make a point of inviting singles to join us for meals and free time activities so they can join us if they’d like. We do the same with other couples and families too—getting to know tour members is a big part of why we enjoy RS tours so much.

Posted by
38 posts

We are also doing the Best of Turkey this spring.

Posted by
85 posts

Scudder, you just described me pretty accurately, 😂. Yes, morning is a time I need some quiet space. It takes at least a couple cups of strong coffee to get me going. Not anti-social, just a slow waker. Overall, I had no problem traveling solo. As you suggested, when I needed time or space alone, no problem. And when I needed and wanted to be among the group, all were very welcoming.

I am a strong believer with taking the single supplement. Except when traveling with close friends or family, I want my room to be mine. The extra cost is money well spent, as far as I am concerned. On a trip with another operator, I witnessed a case where two women were paired, and were complete opposites. To put it mildly, it didn’t work out. But I have also seen examples where two people meshed wonderfully. In the end, it’s a gamble I opt not to take,

Posted by
5 posts

I did this trip as a single traveler this past June. I had the best time! I had days where I joined other group members, sometimes the guide invited me to join him and the bus driver, and sometimes I took time for myself. This was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on! Have fun!!!