I'm looking into going on a tour of the South of the US, taking in places like Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. I'd like to go with a small group of young-ish people (I'm 27) but am not after the "gap year" type trip that you seem to get when searching for 18-35s holidays. I also don't want to end up with a load of pensioners!

How can I find a tour operator that caters to this age group?

  • @Abbie why go with a guided tour? Do it with a backpack and a shoestring budget with a friend. You'll meet more interesting characters that way. May 7 '14 at 14:15
  • @JonathanLandrum Just looking into all options. I like the idea of getting some kind of local knowledge, whether that be by a tour guide (which is guaranteed when on a tour) or a local person willing to show me around (which relies on me being able to befriend such a person with time on their hands).
    – Abbie
    May 7 '14 at 17:13
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    The South (Dixie minus Florida) is an area of 450,000 square miles, an area larger than France, Germany, and the UK put together. So although I have had good experiences with GAdventures, a 9-day tour means a whole lot of time on the highway traveling from place to place. I would suggest trying to narrow your area of interest. You could probably spend a week in and around New Orleans alone.
    – choster
    May 7 '14 at 20:00
  • Exactly what choster said. If it's Tennessee you are specifically interested in, there are at least three different sub-cultures. Western Tennessee is exactly like the rest of the South, complete with its own brand of barbecue (the best in the world, by the way), the middle (Nashville) is a lot like Texas (country music mecca), and the eastern part of the state is a lot more like West Virginia and the other Appalachian states. So even there, it depends on what you're after. May 8 '14 at 13:11
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    There's only so much time and money available! I want to see so many other places in the US too but I might have to try and be realistic about what I can fit into one trip... Thanks for all the advice so far guys.
    – Abbie
    May 11 '14 at 17:51

My experience with tour groups has generally been guided by two rules of thumb (developed over a fair few organized tours I've gone on):

  • The "gap year" style of trips will generally be as cheap as possible, so tend to come from a few dedicated providers, e.g. the famous Contiki tours.
  • The "pensioner" trips will often be the more expensive options on a given tour.

As a result I've had luck with the low-end options of mainstream tour providers. Examples for your criteria with tour providers I've had luck with in the past, include:

This is based purely off my own anecdotal evidance though, mainly travelling through Africa, Asia and South America. I have a gut feel that the traveller profile in group trips in the USA may err on the older side simply because younger travellers will tend to "roll their own" trip.

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    A 30-ish friend did an Intrepid US one recently (coast to coast) - a variety of ages on the tour, sounded very good, if a lot of driving each day.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 12 '14 at 6:57

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