Travel + Leisure

Group travel, despite solo travel's popularity, remains a fantastic avenue for exploration and forging connections. Nomadic Road was featured in Travel+Leisure's story on companies facilitating group travel.

With close to 3 billion search results on Google for "solo travel vs group travel," the debate has reached massive proportions. Once considered unconventional, solo travel is now embraced by adventurous souls seeking personal growth and self-discovery.

However, the post-pandemic world has brought about a shift. While solo travel remains alluring, many have found comfort in the solidarity of close friendships and communities after experiencing isolation.

Journalist Jennifer Bradley Franklin explores this evolving trend in a Travel+Leisure story. It features six tour companies organising travel around shared interests and affinity groups. Nomadic Road is one of them.

“Sharing an adrenaline rush is another way to forge connections. Expedition specialist Nomadic Road (10 days from $7,200 per person, all-inclusive) gets strangers bonding by leading mini-convoys of 4 x 4 vehicles through remote parts of Bolivia, Madagascar, and Mongolia, among other destinations.”


Since 2016, Nomadic Road has brought together travellers who share a passion for the open road, exploration, and meaningful travel experiences. In doing so, we've ventured into not only Bolivia, Madagascar, and Mongolia, but also the uncharted territories of Peru, Iceland, and beyond.

Planning overland expeditions involves carefully charting routes, preparing for potential mishaps, and acquiring suitable equipment. However, an aspect often overlooked is the composition of the group itself.

Each Nomadic Road expedition features a diverse group, united by their love for exploration. These individuals have travelled extensively, yet they crave new experiences from unique perspectives. But ensuring the compatibility of every group requires meticulous effort. It's not merely a matter of selling an expedition, filling seats on a first-come, first-served basis, and setting out.

The Journey Before the Journey Itself

We invite those intrigued by our expeditions to chat with our team. Venky, our founder, takes time to grasp each individual's desires, background, and preferences. The goal is to ensure a suitable match for the long adventure ahead.

As an example, one may initially opt for our winter Mongolia expedition. Yet, as we engage in conversation, they might uncover a stronger resonance with Madagascar. Perhaps extreme cold temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius don't suit them. Alternatively, they might realise they prefer encountering lemurs and tortoises instead.

If an expedition isn't suitable for an individual, it could dampen the group's morale. Understanding each traveller's preferences also helps us tailor experiences to match the groups’ interests.

The Art of Cultivating Ideal Group Dynamics

Ensuring that an expedition suits individuals is just the beginning. However, a lot goes into ensuring that each group represents a diverse blend of individuals.

Some may assume overlanding expeditions are only for hardcore adventurers and car enthusiasts. In reality, we welcome anyone passionate about exploration on Nomadic Road odysseys.

On past expeditions, we've had doctors, engineers, finance professionals, and artists overlanding together. This diversity results in a wide range of perspectives, skills, and expertise within the group. Two individuals may present two polar opposite solutions to the same problem. This dynamic is always fascinating, to say the least.

Differences also extend to nationalities, with each individual bringing their own cultures and languages. A group like this has the potential to break down preconceived notions.

What’s more, at Nomadic Road, we believe in the principle of “less is more.” Group travel often receives a bad reputation because companies organise expeditions with 20, or even 30 people. This can quickly become chaotic. Our expeditions are capped at 12 individuals, allowing for autonomy and preserving individuality.

The Significance of Group Cohesion in Overland Travel

All these factors contribute to heightened group cohesion, especially crucial during overland expeditions. Encountering the fury of Mother Nature poses risks. Effective teamwork and communication are essential for navigating such situations.

During the 2023 Atacama expedition, we anticipated a sandstorm and prepared based on past experiences. As the situation worsened, we presented it to the team for a democratic vote: "Should we stick to the plan or risk being stranded?" Unanimously, everyone chose to proceed.

In this scenario, the group cohesion enabled us to make spontaneous decisions. Moreover, it further instilled a sense of unity among travellers, showcasing their collective potential.

Navigating Autonomy Within Small-Group Travel

Even for the most extroverted individuals, vacationing with unfamiliar people, as Jennifer highlights, can be unsettling.

At Nomadic Road, we recognise this. One way we address it is by ensuring that our groups are small and carefully curated. This approach guarantees an authentic travel experience, devoid of the limitations imposed by herd mentality.

During expeditions, every unit—be it a solo traveller, family, or couple—receives dedicated vehicles. This allocation may seem counterintuitive at first. But we understand the discomfort that can arise from sharing a vehicle with strangers, especially during lengthy overland journeys.

Besides, there are numerous occasions for individuals to interact as a group. These moments could occur while pitching tents, sharing a meal at the end of an adventurous day, or even sharing stories around a bonfire.

Planning a group overland adventure involves figuring out the nitty-gritty. When should travellers have time to interact, and when should they be given breathing space? It's a delicate balance, yet an important one.

A Single Expedition, Lasting Camaraderie

The small-group style of travel provides a perfect balance. It offers both ready-made companionship for exploration and personal freedom. Overlanding, in particular, fosters lifelong, authentic friendships for numerous reasons.

To start, overlanding often requires vulnerability. This may be particularly evident when navigating challenging terrain or unfamiliar environments. In these instances, people shed their masks, revealing their true selves without pretence or filters.

Secondly, most Nomadic Road overland expeditions occur in very remote areas. While being disconnected from the world, these journeys create a bubble where fellow travellers become like family for 10-15 days.

It is, thus, not surprising that many travellers have forged strong friendships through our expeditions. These friendships often endure long after the adventure ends, with plans to reunite elsewhere. The key takeaway is the shared rituals, with some making overland expeditions an annual priority.