Group Travel: Why You Shouldn't Let Age Difference Guide Your Decision

Connect with the person, not their birth date – you might surprise yourself
Connect with the person, not their birth date – you might surprise yourself
Photo of Carolyn Boyd
13 January 2022
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Of course, it’s great to journey with a group of like-minded people. But equally importantly, nothing enriches a communal journey quite like a diverse crowd – and that certainly goes for age range. Just as a multi-generational family holiday can be mutually rewarding, travelling with people years younger or older than you can also enhance the whole experience. Wifi may be crucial, but so is wisdom – and whether you’re 25 or 55, you stand to be inspired by each other’s company. Read on to find out why, then book your amazing small-group adventure with TRIPS by Culture Trip. We promise you’ll be in good company.

Free training for technophobes

For Gen Z, technology is as natural as breathing, but travellers who began their adventures in the era of printed plane tickets and fold-out maps, might not be so digitally savvy. Still, it’s never too late to learn, so ask your younger co-travellers to initiate you in the latest ways of the wifi world. Don’t like the look of that sprawling beach full of tourists? Maybe you didn’t know that a quick tap on “satellite view” in Google Maps can reveal an idyllic empty cove just around the next headland. Can’t get a table at the hottest new bistro in town? Most younger travellers can show you how to call up a local blogger’s advice and find another joint that’s even better, just two streets away.

Follow your smartphone, rather than the crowd

Real-life revelations for online addicts

By contrast, younger travellers might be inspired to experience a destination beyond their smartphone screen in the company of new, older friends. Long before digital existed, pioneering backpackers learnt to glean great eating and drinking tips direct from locals, and to judge places simply by stepping in and gauging the buzz. It’s still a handy skill to acquire – after all, social-media recommendations may be mere influencer paybacks in return for free meals, whereas spots you can see packed with locals will likely be the real deal.

Nothing unites strangers like a shared meal

Learning to be laid-back

If you’re only travelling with people your own age, things can get super-competitive, which in turn can become tiresome. Who’s got the most passport stamps? Who made it to last year’s hottest destination first? Who can trot out 20 phrases in the local lingo as they’ve been to the country before? Mix up the age ranges, though, and you’ll likely find that this rivalry barely gets a look in – perhaps because more mature travellers are happier to soak in the sights, and savour the food and drink. This mindful, in-the-moment approach is a great way to experience a place – and, to live life once you get back home.

The fascination of first-person insights

Travelling in a group of varying ages, you’re opening yourself up to insights from a different perspective. Chances are, older travellers have interesting historical facts at their fingertips, and remember living through momentous events that shaped the country – say, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the Croatian War of Independence. Maybe you’ll be with someone who experienced the destination 20 or 30 years previously – India, for instance, was practically a rite of passage for graduates from the ’60s to the ’80s. Ask them to share their personal comparisons of then and now.

Discover sights like the Golden Temple of Amritsar through the eyes – and memories – of your fellow travellers | © PS-I / Alamy Stock Photo

Channelling youthful energy

On the flip side, older travellers stand to benefit hugely from seeing a destination through the eyes of 20- and 30-somethings. Generally speaking, younger group members are wide-eyed and enthusiastic about exploring a new country. This can be invaluable if you want a steer around the hotspots of a buzzing capital city in your free time after the day’s group activities; ditto if you want a guiding hand to get you closer to the beating heart of a place. Raised on social media, today’s up-for-it young travellers don’t think twice about hooking up with their counterparts globally.

Enjoying experiences beyond your comfort zone

Everyone has their wish list for a destination, whether it’s relishing the main sights or getting away from the tourist hotspots in their downtime; maybe it’s dining at a top restaurant or eating at the best street-food stall in town. When travelling with people of different ages, you get to tap into other people’s wish lists and absorb something normally beyond your comfort zone. Is seeing a band at a secret gig on your list? If not, give it a try. Would you usually take a look inside the local cathedral? Maybe, just maybe, there are unbelievable treasures to admire.

Discover the best in local street food with your new chums

The joys of unexpected mingling

One of the best things about travelling with people from a different demographic is simply the buzz of being gently out of your social comfort zone. When else in your daily life do you get the chance to mingle like this? Chats need not be about the day’s activities, or the destination – it can be so valuable to share time with people from different age groups in a general sense. A beer or two at the end of the day might have you mulling over life, the universe and everything.

Remember that age is just a number

The benefits of helpful new contacts

On a more practical note, maybe you’ll get some brilliant career advice from someone who’s been in your desired profession for decades – even a first-hand contact in a new field of work you’ve never considered previously. Meanwhile, if you’ve always been a technophobe, a few genius smartphone hacks from a young co-traveller might change your life as you’ve known it for decades. At the end of the day, you might just make a hilarious new friend for life, who you’d never have crossed paths with at home.

Take the plunge and book a specially curated small-group adventure with TRIPS by Culture Trip.

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