Why I Started a Group Travel Company for 30 Somethings

by | Jun 25, 2020

Hi, I’m Steve, founder of Other Way Round, a group travel company focused on adventure trips for 25-45 year old travellers. I wanted to share a little about my journey and what inspired me to start this company.

Here’s Why I Started a Tour Group

In my early-30s, I was living and working in London, UK and managed to snag a few weeks holiday in between moving jobs (back then I was a project manager in the tech industry). 

I desperately wanted a break to recharge my batteries but at such short notice none of my friends were available to join. I’d travelled alone before many times – for work trips and while backpacking in my 20s – but to be honest the thought of spending a 2 week holiday alone didn’t really appeal. 

Sure, I could do it, but I always preferred the social aspect of travelling with friends.

So I had a look online for group travel options. 

Most of what I saw didn’t appeal. It was all too generic and manufactured looking –

“live like a local”,

“live your best life”

“trip of a lifetime” 

Not really my style!

I’d always liked to travel in a way where I could go beyond the tourist trail and really capture the true essence of a place. Because for me that’s what travel’s all about.

Steve Dillon, founder of Other Way Round, the group travel company for 30 and 40 somethings

Eventually I found something more up my street  – “a Surf and Spanish Bootcamp” in Fuerteventura, Spain. It was run by locals, very intimate and personal, and miles away from the tourist hotspots.

I LOVED IT. 

The experience marked me.

It seemed to me that so many people in their 30s and 40s face a similar issue. 

They work hard all year, they’re ready for an awesome holiday, but they have nobody else to go with.

They’re often faced with the prospect to either travel alone or to not travel at all.

Now don’t get me wrong, group tours certainly existed before we came along. There’s a lot of choice out there. 

But many people of my generation simply didn’t see them as a realistic option. 

They perceived them as too “touristy”. Manufactured. Lacking authenticity. 

And let’s face it, many of them are. 

So my vision for Other Way Round was to create the exact type of tour group I’d actually want to travel with myself.

Group travel for 30 somethings

Not some huge corporate carrying 100,000s of guests each year.

No mass produced or cookie-cutter type trips.

No “authentic experiences” which are typically anything but authentic.

But to create something a bit different. 

Something more fitting to how people in their 30s and 40s actually want to travel.

More intimate. Less formal. Social.

Where you don’t feel like you’re part of a generic tour group or simply box ticking your way around a country. 

But where you immerse deeply inside a culture and gain a real sense of the places you visit. 

Something much closer to the same type of trip you’d do with your own friends (if they were available).

And so with that vision I set out to create Other Way Round – a group travel company exclusively for people late-20s, 30s, and early-40s.

Group tour for people in their 30s and 40s

It All Started in Colombia (our first ever Group Tour)

I initially launched Other Way Round in a country very dear to my own heart – Colombia.

Being married to a Colombian I had been travelling to the country on and off for many years and the place had always fascinated me.

It was a country so vastly different from how it was often negatively portrayed and I was in awe of its natural beauty, vibrant energy and welcoming people.

It was also a place with a somewhat “untouched” authenticity which I had rarely experienced in my years of travels – exactly the type of place I couldn’t wait to share with other adventurous travellers.

So we launched our 15-day group tour of Colombia back in 2017 with an itinerary based around my personal favourite things to see and do in the country.

Other Way Round group tour for 30 and 40 year olds in Colombia

I felt privileged that I had got to experience the country through the eyes of a local and wanted to share that same insight with my guests.

The trip was a massive hit! (see our rave reviews)

And over the years I like to think that we’ve come to perfect it. Tweaking as we went along and learning exactly how people in their 30s and 40s like to travel.

But time and time again one question would come up from our customers – “Steve, this is awesome. When are you going to do the same thing in more countries”?

Eventually I listened !

So we took our learnings from Colombia and applied that same immersive style of group travel to launch additional itineraries throughout the Latin America region (you can find these itineraries on our website).

Group travel for 30-40 year olds sailing Rosario Islands Colombia

“WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS TRIP WAS THAT IT DIDN’T FEEL MASS PRODUCED OR TOURISTY. THERE WAS A SENSE OF ORIGINALITY TO IT AND UNIQUENESS ABOUT THE TRIP AND ITINERARY. AS A GROUP WE GELLED SO WELL IT FELT LIKE WE HAD KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR MUCH MORE THAN 2 WEEKS” – NOELLA, IRELAND

A Travel Group Specifically for 25-45 Year Olds (here’s what to expect)

So what can people expect when they join our trips?

Every trip is completely different – we tap into the uniqueness of each place – but there are definitely some common themes.

TRAVEL WITH PEOPLE YOUR AGE

The majority of our guests are travelling solo and like to travel with people their age.

We typically get a fairly even spread from late-20s, 30s, to early-40s and we’ve found that this demographic really gels. 

The group dynamic is great, there’s always a lot of banter, and our guests consistently say in reviews that the “group” was the highlight of the trip.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect.

  • Aged 25-45
  • No rowdy youngsters wanting to party all day long.
  • Or people your parents age (sorry).
  • Mostly from UK, Europe, USA, Canada & Australia
  • Majority are solo travellers
  • They’re sociable and like to meet new people
  • Open minded, up for an adventure and excited to embrace a different culture
  • Enjoy boutique hotels, delicious food and authentic experiences
  • Up to 14 people per trip
Other Way Round, a travel group for 30s and 40s solo travellers

ITINERARIES MIXED WITH CULTURE, ADVENTURE AND SOCIAL IMPACT

We travel some of the most exotic destinations in the world and our itineraries are woven together with a hand-picked selection of activities which allow you to truly understand the people, traditions and culture of the places you visit.

On our group tours you can:-

(and a whole lot more) 

Other Way Round, one of the best travel groups for 30 year olds

GET ACTIVE

We like to get outdoors and to get active.

There’ll be some hiking, biking, sailing, dancing, yoga – anything that gets us outdoors and learning through doing.

(although no need to be super-fit to partake, the intensity is fairly easy going).

A travel group for people in their 30s, Other Way Round

HOTELS

We’re on holiday and we like to stay somewhere nice.

Nothing too fancy or over-the-top luxurious but we always seek out boutique hotels with a bit of style and local character.

(somewhere we can take a dip in the pool after a hard day of action and enjoy a nice cocktail before heading out in the evening).

A travel group for people in the 40s, Other Way Round

AWESOME FOOD (& DRINK)

For us food is one of the best ways to experience a culture and on our tours we go all-in.

Expect exotic fruits you can’t pronounce, tasty street food, traditional delicacies and trendy restaurants.

A bit of everything!

You’ll definitely enjoy great food in the places you visit

(we don’t do “tourist traps” or “menu del dia”).

Enjoying awesome food during a travel tour for 30 and 40 somethings

SUPPORTING LOCALS

We work closely with local organisations to make sure that the money we spend (your money) goes directly into the communities we visit, not to middlemen.

We want to use our travels to help support the locals. We also partner with local charities and donate a portion from every trip we sell.

Coffee farm visit during a travel tour for 30 and 40 year olds

FLEXIBILITY

All of our itineraries have built in ‘free-days’ to allow you to go explore your own personal interests and leave room for some “me-time”

(while we’re the biggest advocates of group travel, we also recognise the value of having some alone time during group tours).

Enjoying some free time during group travels for 30 and 40 somethings

ZERO HASSLE

From the moment you land until the moment you leave you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying your holiday (and maybe which cocktail you want to drink).

We’re all over the logistics (which, in the places we travel, can be challenging).

Many of our guests have never been on an organised group trip before and they consistently tell us that this is their first holiday where they’ve actually been able completely switch off and relax.

Cocktail time during a group trip for 30 and 40 year olds

“IF YOU’RE THE SORT OF PERSON WHO LIKES TO EXPERIENCE THE TRUE ESSENCE OF A COUNTRY, LEARN ITS HISTORY, MEET THE LOCALS, TRY THE FOOD (AND DRINK!) AND GIVE SOMETHING BACK, THEN FRANKLY WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! THERE ARE VARIOUS TOUR COMPANIES THAT MAY OFFER SIMILAR EXPERIENCES, BUT NONE QUITE SO PERSONAL AND WITH QUITE SO MANY BANTS I’M SURE” – NICOLA, UK

In Your 30s or 40s and Looking For a Tour Group? 

If you like the sound of our group tours at Other Way Round, it’s worth checking our itineraries to see if they pique your interest. Here’s some of our most popular trips.

MEXICO

11 Days in Mexico. Breathe in the pulsating Mexico city, roam the charming streets of traditional Oaxaca, and hit the beach in sun-drenched Tulum. See Itinerary

Mexico group tour for 30 and 40 somethings

COLOMBIA

15 Days in Colombia. Dance salsa. Meet coffee farmers. Sail tropical islands. Hike lush jungles. Taste the finest Caribbean rum. See Itinerary

Colombia group tour for 30 and 40 somethings

PERU

12 Days in Peru. Cook ceviche in Lima, sail the Amazon, hike to Machu Picchu and become awestruck by the Sacred Valley. See Itinerary

Peru group tour for 30 and 40 somethings

Feel free to contact me personally with any questions: [email protected]