Under30Experiences Iceland Review
You know all those things you've always wanted to do?
YOU SHOULD GO DO THEM.
| What do you do when you want to travel but your interests, vacation time, budget, or travel style don’t match up with those of your friends or family?
| What do you do when you want to travel but don’t want to do it solo?
| What do you do when you find planning and navigating international travel overwhelming?
Enter group travel companies. And wow, there are plenty to choose from.
*types ‘group travel companies for young people’ into Google*
I researched loads of options: G Adventures, Intrepid, Contiki, and more and finally decided on Under30Experiences based on my desired destination, itinerary, available dates, and price.
For my trip to Iceland, I wanted to pair some solo traveling along with the group experience so I spent 3 days solo at the start of my trip and then joined up with U30X for 5 more days of travel. Those extra days of solo travel were important to me as I wanted the independence of traveling by myself and there were several activities I wanted to include that weren’t part of the U30X itinerary.
Here are the top 5 things I valued in my experience with U30X:
1) GREAT ITINERARY -- I liked how we hit many of the big must-see spots while also having a few other experiences planned that I wouldn't have thought to include myself. For example, our visit to Vestmannaeyjar Islands was one of my favorite days of the trip and I hadn’t seen this as a common suggestion in my Iceland research.
2) WELL-ORGANIZED -- From my booking of the trip to arrival day, their communication was prompt and thorough. They completely take the hassle out of organizing trips since you just show up and they guide you from there. I thought they did a good job of filling our days with activities, but not over packing them to the point of exhaustion either. I had a fair amount of planning still to do for my solo days, but this drastically reduced the amount of time I had to spend on that.
3) GROUP LEADERS -- My group was lucky enough to have Marion and Eric as our guides and they were wonderful. Friendly, helpful, and all around great people. You could tell they were very attentive and encouraging with the group and made a point to get to know everyone over the course of the trip. Also, kudos to them for living the digital nomad lifestyle and still bringing the energy and enthusiasm to each new group they lead, even when doing this week after week.
4) PRICE -- I can only speak for Iceland, but this trip price was a great value. From what I saw when booking my own accommodations, I don't think any of us in the group could have purchased the same lodging, meals, and activities that we enjoyed for as low a price had we done it as individuals. Iceland is expensive and not all meals are included in the trip price, so be mindful of this and make sure you have enough budgeted for lunches and anything else you want to add on to your trip. In regards to other parts of the world, you could perhaps do certain destinations for cheaper than what U30X offers, so know that you’re paying for convenience, local expertise, and a guaranteed community.
5) COMPANY VALUES -- In talking with one of the group leaders, I learned that U30X puts a priority on partnering with local small businesses or those committed to sustainability, as opposed to tourism giants that can be more profit-focused and less personal. I didn't know this prior to attending the trip, but it was a nice surprise to know we're each helping support the communities we visit. Traveling is such an incredible privilege that I think at a minimum we should be mindful of how our dollars can make the best economic impact.
This was my first group travel experience and I loved getting to share these experiences with others from around the country. We had 20 men and women in our group from a variety of states and ranged from 22 to 30 years old. It's going to be a mixed bag every time, but you probably get what you put in. Get ready to meet people from different walks of life, enjoy great conversations, create memories with strangers turned friends, and leave with the feeling that though the world is large, our connections with each other can make it feel less so.
I'd highly recommend U30X to anyone looking for a great group travel experience and would certainly consider traveling with them again in the future, whether that be going solo again or bringing a friend with me next time.
In the last six months or so I’ve noticed they’ve made helpful updates to their site and have added more destinations. Each trip now includes a much more detailed itinerary to review. One other valuable and unique aspect to U30X is the community they foster for trip alumni. We are all part of an alumni private Facebook group, which provides a wealth of information and recommendations on a variety of destinations and other travel and lifestyle related topics. Additionally, they host meetups and events in cities across the country. I’ve had the worst luck in timing for the Los Angeles chapter meetups because I always seem to have concert tickets for the nights they schedule events, but I hope to attend some in the future.
Last word of advice: the best sale they have all year happens on Black Friday when they offer a deal for $200 off every trip, so $400 off in total if you choose the early sign-up price. If you ever start looking to book a trip with them around late summer or fall, I’d recommend holding out to book it on this day.