This one factor is probably the most important aspect of a group tour. The difference between 20+ people and 10, is immense. With 20 or so people, you are basically going to be “handled” on tour.
Do you want to get to know your guide and his home country? Are you looking to meat locals on your journey and interact with them? It is very hard to have an interpersonal experience with your guide when the group is so large.
Groups this size will also mean that you are limited to staying in large hotels etc. The more people in your tour group, the less flexibility you are going to have.
- 20 + People: Tours which take over 20 people, are quite simply, bus tours. You will stay in hotels, and your guide will be more of a driver than guide.
- 15 – 20 People: This is quite a large group for a guided tour. You will find that you will be staying in small hotels and will have reasonable interaction with your guide.
- 10 – 15 People: With a group this size, you are able to stay at some of the smaller Bed & Breakfast lodges and will be assured of some good interaction between your group & guide.
- < 10 People: Groups of less than 10 people will give the ultimate in flexibility & interaction between guide and travelers. You will be able to stay in small Bed & Breakfast Inn's, and will have access to more personal experiences.
I would recommend groups of no more than 12 people. 16 Years of experience has led me to believe this is the optimum number not to be exceeded. With a group of 12, you are still able to spend ample time (1 on 1) with your guide, as well as get all the extra benefits of traveling in such a small group such as; smaller and more personal accommodations, meals in restaurants, not traveling in a bus etc.