Group travel organisers offer their tips on planning long-haul holidays including research, insurance and currency. 

Olivia Goodfellow has taken members of the Enfield Over 50’s Forum group all over the world. She has run about 20 long-haul trips and said: “I think they are as easy to arrange as UK or European holidays because the process is exactly the same.”

Her first was to Cuba and others have included Namibia, India, Vietnam, Canada, Kenya, Borneo and Argentina. She told us: “Since my first long-haul trip I have learnt that more people in their mature years want to have the best fun and explore the planet in a safe group environment, at a time of year that is pleasant for exploring. We should never underestimate peoples’ desires for long-haul travel.”

Olivia Goodfellow and her group members in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Members of the Enfield Over 50’s Forum enjoy a splash in the rooftop pool in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

One of her best long-haul experiences was a 15-day Sri Lanka holiday in 2021, which was the first long-haul group trip that Wendy Wu ran after the pandemic. “We had a wonderful variety of hotels, all of a very high standard with fantastic food and service and other highlights included the sacred temple at Kandy and the busy but beautiful city of Colombo,” Olivia said. 

Offering tips to other group organisers looking at long-haul holidays for their members, Olivia said: “I like to use tour operators who don’t put me under any pressure to achieve a specific number of travellers as I don’t want that worry as some of the trips are very expensive and smaller groups are inevitable.

“It is a real bonus when a tour operator respects the enormous amount of energy and work put in by GTOs and rewards us fairly with a group discount.”

“Embrace the challenge, trust your abilities and enjoy the enriching cultural experiences of long-haul destinations.”

Becky Chikaura, Ms Bees Group Travel

Olivia’s other advice to fellow GTOs is:

  1. Always go online and research where you are travelling - I always send my notes to my groups a few weeks before.
  2. I advise people what to pack depending on the itinerary, for example Malaysia bans yellow clothing.
  3. Ask people to organise their own insurance. It makes it much easier this way and is less paperwork.
  4. I advise on currency as to whether a country has a closed currency, how much to take from the UK to start with and whether ATMs are in abundance where we are going.
  5. Make sure that people are aware of the demands of any long-haul trip so they can ensure it is suited to them i.e. if there are lots of steps to temples, it may not suit members with mobility issues.

She added: “To guarantee success I would recommend a huge dose of enthusiasm, followed by a presentation from the tour operator, if possible, as this gives people more confidence when spending a larger sum of money on a holiday than usual.”

Long-haul travel is so “enriching”

Becky Chikaura, Ms Bees Group Travel, organises two to three long-haul trips each year. “Our favourite destinations are Las Vegas, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur – we go to these places for winter sunshine,” Becky told us.

Ms Bee Group Travel

Becky Chikaura takes her group all over the world, including Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Her advice to other GTOs would be to:

  1. Choose or research the destination for the best time to travel based on activities you want to do. You can also start with a country you’re familiar with as this gives comfort to your members. If it’s a destination you have never been that’s ok, but do a lot of research on the destination to aid with group enquiries.
  2. Plan six months or more in advance as there are flights, hotels, visas, travel insurance, immunisations, transfers and activities to arrange.
  3. Enquire and get package prices from airlines or travel agents giving an expected number of attendees so they can hold your tickets and price while you sort out finances and deposits.
  4. Partner with intended destination country tour companies, guides or their tourism council to maximise your time there. They have the best tips and can help you make an enjoyable itinerary specific to their country.

Becky said: “While it can be a daunting experience at first, remember every journey starts with a single step. Embrace the challenge, trust your abilities and enjoy the enriching cultural experiences of long-haul destinations.”

GTO Dave Hartle, Dave's Trips

GTO Dave Hartle’s favourite long-haul destinations include Australia and Asia.

Dave Hartle who has travelled around the world with his group Dave’s Trips, has had some incredible long-haul experiences including a 27-night holiday around South America taking in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Some of his favourite destinations are Asia and Australia as well as trips along the USA coast including San Diego, San Francisco and Chicago. 

What long-haul travel advice or favourite places would you share with other GTOs? Get in touch by commenting below or emailing