We often get asked questions comparing our private vs small group tours of Sri Lanka. Which is best for me? What’s the difference? Is private only for the rich? How many are in your small groups? To help everyone out we’ve written this guide of pro’s and con’s for both small group tours and private tours. After reading this guide you’ll be armed with all the facts about both travel styles. You will then be ready to you compare the various tours of Sri Lanka and beyond.

Private Tours – It’s all about you!

Private tours offer you the ultimate in flexibility on how and when you travel. You can decide the day of departure that suits you and the daily itinerary and route. The list of inclusions can be tailored to you and your travel companions to make the most of your time in Sri Lanka. It also offers more flexibility on a day to day basis as your local guide develops an understanding of how you like to travel, the daily schedule can be changed on the fly.

Time for you, and only you!

Sometimes it’s nice to get some alone time during a tour, and private tours allow you plenty of time for that. If travelling with your loved one, a romantic candlelit dinner can be enjoyed in the evening and your breakfast the next morning can be had at a time that suits you. There are also the opportunities to be the only people visiting a place like a secluded beach or hidden ancient ruin. We spend so much time with others in our day to day lives that sometimes it’s nice to just have some quiet time with those you choose. A private tour allows this without feeling guilty that you’re holding up the group.

Or, you can decide the guest list…

A common misconception is that private tours are only for couples or singles. Private tours can be for couples, singles, families, groups of friends, clubs or whatever group you choose to bring together. Consider a private tour as tour where the guest list is in your hands. You can choose who boards your tour. With you in charge of the guest list, we provide the transport for your guests. Private tours allow you to get from a to b and everywhere in between on your schedule in your own private transport. As it’s your transport, you can often leave things behind in the vehicle and you don’t need to worry about rushing back for the ‘best seat’. Every seat is a great seat!

Small Group Tours – It’s about you (and a few other travellers)

After getting this far into the article you might already be sold on a private tour. Don’t lock yourself in yet, small group tours are also a great way to explore Sri Lanka. A small group tour can allow you to stretch your budget just that little bit further than a private tour. Our small group tours to Sri Lanka are capped at 8 guests. The savings aren’t huge by going with a group, but it can allow you to make your dollar go a bit further.

Social Networks

A key benefit of small group tours are the social networks and connections you make on the tour. Many guests make friends for life when travelling, or even meet the love of their life. There aren’t many situations in life where you spend a long time with a bunch of strangers. Small group tours are one of them – and it can be a life changing experience. If you enjoy sharing stories at the end of the day with fellow travellers or hearing about where others have travelled before you, a small group is for you. It’s also a great way to expand your bucket list of travel destinations as you hear about others adventures.

Dates & Route Organised – Just turn up!

We can’t get away from the fact that small group tours, by nature, must depart on fixed dates and generally follow a set route. Some find this a drawback while others like having the hassle of finding that perfect itinerary done by someone else. A beauty of fixed departures is often the special events planned into the itinerary are only available on that date. An example of this are our September Sri Lanka Discovery tours that line up with the annual elephant meeting (yes, it’s a thing!). The fixed departure and schedule allow you to just sit back and share the experience with others. Some small group tours use some pretty unique forms of transport which would otherwise be too expensive. The economies of scale can pay off in a small group, but are quickly outweighed in large groups.

Private vs Small Group Tours Wrap Up

When deciding between a small group tour or a private tour there are always some pro’s and con’s. It’s often a balance between flexibility, social interaction, cost and schedule that needs to be considered. We hope that this article has been able to answer some of your questions about private and group travel. We’re always happen to answer any more questions you may have. Regardless of your travel style, experiencing the cultural and natural beauty of Sri Lanka is a must for travellers young and old. We look forward to helping plan your next adventure soon.