Since our ancestors first surfaced millions of years ago, humans have existed in many social structures – from pairs to harems to large social tribes. But the post-Covid era has cemented the arrival of a new category for the history books: say hello to the co-group. Small yet perfectly formed, co-groups bring together bands of like-minded professionals around a common purpose – be that work, communal living or a shared global adventure.
Co-groups may come from different walks of life, but they’re united by a belief in connection, flexibility and the power of an open mind. They want to travel, meet new people and resist the “rules” around conventional ways of living by experiencing the world on their terms.
Co-travelling brings together strangers from across the globe
This started with co-working, as a huge growth in the gig economy drove many of us to go in search of boutique-style working spaces. Today, it’s out with the time-worn office of old; in with a new, more hotel-like experience: think yoga studios, podcast tents and rooftop bars with a view, found at the likes of NeueHouse LA, Sri Lanka’s Worx’s Jawatte House and the Workshop17 Cape Town…
Meanwhile, as more people want to combine flexible working with travel, co-living arrangements in cities around the world have also gained pace, offering a sense of shared community alongside underground pools, karaoke lounges and spacious patio gardens.
The secret sauce of Flash Pack lies in doing something different
Next to emerge though is the new trend of co-travelling. The latest iteration of the co-group trend brings together strangers from across the globe in search of ‘the great unknown’ and a shared desire for deeper connection. Why now? Well, a recent Flash Pack report found that nearly 40% of adults lost touch with their friends over the course of the pandemic.
But travelling in a group of like-minded people is a powerful antidote to the erstwhile alienation experienced by, well, pretty much everyone during Covid. Today, these types of shared travel experiences lay the groundwork for a new, more meaningful dynamic.
“Every single person made the trip for me,” says Hezekiah Ross, a financial advisor and co-traveller from Florida, who journeyed to Thailand last year. “We all made the effort to show up and have a good time. I feel emotional thinking about it, because we shared such a unique connection. Right from the outset, we had a great vibe that felt real and genuine.”
Our ‘job’ was to turn up and be ferried around beautiful islands
A demand for highly curated escapes, the kind that deliver maximum experience on minimum effort, is also driving the trend. Flash Pack’s trip bookings rose twofold last month alone, as professionals looked to take advantage of their precious time off with best-selling getaways to Japan, Bali, South Africa and more.
“The secret sauce of Flash Pack lies in doing something different and challenging,” says Tino Roco, Adventure Innovation Manager at the pioneering group travel brand. “This might be a boutique sleepover, such as staying in converted Land Rover suites in the heart of the Serengeti. Or it might be some physical feat that connects people together through the outdoors, like hiking a Patagonian glacier.”
“In a similar vein, we look to support local communities and projects, whether that’s a family-run cooking session in Jordan or a master-led pottery workshop in Turkey,” Tino adds. “It’s about being selective with activities, too. Just because we can do everything, doesn’t mean we should.”
Flash Pack co-travellers get to explore in new and intriguing ways
The obvious advantage of this set-up is that co-travellers get to lift the lid of a particular culture or place with the type of local experience that would be hard to organise alone. And, crucially, in an age of chronic overload, it also means handing over all the decisions and logistics of a trip to the experts, including local guides. “I was able to pause most of the mental weight of parenting,” recalls operations manager Katie Black, a mum-of-three from Sydney who travelled (without her kids) to Turkey and Slovenia last summer.
“It was so refreshing not having to think about anything,” she says. “We did some amazing activities. I loved canyoning in Slovenia’s Bohinj Valley – I’d go back there in a heartbeat for a whole week of hiking. And in Turkey we packed in paragliding, quad biking, horse riding, hot-air ballooning and historical sites, too.”
Entrepreneur Lucy Northmore, who travelled to the Philippines in December 2021, agrees. “Having a local fixer meant we could travel by private boat to places that would normally be impossible to access,” she explains. “Our only ‘job’ was to turn up at the right time and be ferried around beautiful islands.”
This experience happens via the support of fellow travellers
Today’s co-travellers are definitely on to something. They get to explore the planet in new and intriguing ways. They rock up for top-notch hotels and expertly aligned itineraries – all combined with a standout group dynamic. The result is a recipe that delivers the best of all worlds: the chance to experience the freshness of new places with the safety and security of a like-minded group.
As co-traveller Kim Walker, a family medicine doctor from Illinois, says: “My adventure to Jordan was the break I needed to gain fresh perspective and get creative. It was like being given permission to be a carefree kid once again.”
Want to join the co-travelling movement? Launch your adventure with Flash Pack and other like-minded people in their 30s and 40s today.
Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveller like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.
Images: Flash Pack