I have always been an independent traveller.
In fact, even when joined by family and friends, I always have an urge to break free from the group and explore things on my own, especially at my own pace.
As a kid, my mum would always book us on day tours when we went travelling - and frankly, I hated it. It just wasn't for me.
The thought of sitting on a crowded bus, with limited stops, and a person talking at you and no way out seemed like my worst nightmare.
So, when I was given the opportunity to travel with Inspiring Journeys to the South Island of New Zealand on a luxury coach, I certainly had my reservations.
And while I had these negative expectations, the reality couldn't have been further from the truth.
Not only did I enjoy myself immensely; I had incredible experiences and made some of the best friends I could possibly ask for.
So, if you're thinking about going on a guided tour - I would highly recommend it.
Here are the top THREE reasons why.
The people you meet are by far the best part of this type of travel. Before you assume these people are just going to be a whole lot of grey nomads, think again.
Tour groups provide for people of all ages and walks of life. You'll also meet some of the most experienced and most fascinating of all the travellers.
If you sit down and chat to them, you'll find that their stories are vast and full of adventure. Their lives have been full and usually, they're from all over the world. Simply incredible people to meet.
And if you're a singleton, these trips can also be wonderful place to meet people. You'll never be alone and you never know, you may just walk away with some wonderful new friendships.
This is actually super important!
The Inspiring Journey's coach was the most comfortable coach I had EVER been on.
The seats were plush, with plenty of legroom and there was free wifi!
This meant that you could take pics, share, upload them AND FaceTime your family back home, if you wanted to share the experience with them.
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One of the biggest benefits of a tour is the INCREDIBLE itinerary that the experienced journey director will take you on.
And for our trip of the South Island, we started our journey in the incredible city of Christchurch - rich in history and culture, and a town still rebuilding after a tragic earthquake that killed over 100 people in 2011.
We then headed onto the TransAlpine Train (with our tickets already pre-bought by the Inspiring Journeys team) which took us through EPIC scenery toward's Arthur's Pass.
After a stop at a small NZ town called Hokitika, we admired jade jewellery carving and small boutique shops before heading onto Franz Josef Glacier.
While there were times we stayed on the coach for lengthy periods, there was never a dull moment. Our journey director Katie was full of local knowledge and her passion shone through as she told stories of trees, birds, flora and fauna.
One of the most incredible parts of this trip, was the ever-changing scenery. From forests to snow-capped mountains, this trip had it all.
The next night was spent at the most spectacular Te Waonui Forest Retreat, and it was heaven.
We were surrounded by nature, ate wonderful food and enjoyed each other's company.
After a relaxing night, we headed up into the sky in a helicopter and landed on top of the glacier itself. It was nothing like I had ever done before. It was breathtaking.
Back on the coach again, we were headed for the South Island's busiest hub - Queenstown - but not without one of the highlights of the trip - learning how to skip stones along the Haast River.
Then, we landed in Queenstown. We had loads of free time and spent the day wandering around the bustling town, eating incredible food and meeting amazing people.
But what's the best way to view the city? From the Skyline.
Every part of this adventure was included in the trip, excluding the helicopter ride and Skyline (which are offered as optional experiences), but they were worth every penny.
I can honestly say, I wouldn't have seen so much of the South Island if it wasn't for this trip and now, well, I'm a guided holiday convert!
To find out more about Inspiring Journeys visit inspiringjourneys.com
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