I recently came back from a wonderful, spiritual, educational, and relaxing vacation in Germany. I went on a group tour for the very first time and found that it was quite a thrifty way to travel. The main purpose of my trip was to attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. It has been put on by the villagers every ten years (more or less) since 1634.I normally travel by myself, staying in budget hotels and schlepping my suitcase on the train. It's kind of stressful. The only way to get tickets to the Passion Play, though, was through a group tour. So I signed up for one called "Catholic Germany and the Alps, with the Oberammergau Passion Play."
We stayed in very nice hotels (extremely nice compared to the places I usually choose), we had a huge breakfast spread every day and several dinners included, we went from location to location in a private and very comfortable bus, and we didn't have to schlep our suitcases anywhere. We had fantastic seats to the Passion Play, wonderfully interesting outings, a careful driver and a knowledgeable and kind tour guide. The other travellers on the tour were from around the US, Canada, and Australia, and it was a fantastic experience.
And the total cost? For round-trip airfare, A+ seats to the performance, meals, hotels, excursions, spending money, a single room supplement, parking my car near the airport and using an airport shuttle, my total for this ten day tour was $3900.
I only spent about $150 in spending money. How? First off, I brought my own water container (one of those stainless steel jobbies) and filled up in the airports and hotels. Second, I don't eat a huge breakfast, so I made myself a little sandwich from the breakfast buffet each day and had it for lunch. Next, on the nights when we didn't have dinner, I found a grocery store and bought my meal there.
I had a WONDERFUL vacation. I wasn't stressed out worrying about catching a train or checking into a hotel, and really, the cost for the tour was very reasonable. I was so glad to have had this opportunity and would DEFINITELY recommend considering a group tour to other frugal travellers out there.