Small Group Tours: 5 Big Reasons They’re a Great Way to Go

Small Group Tours: 5 Big Reasons They’re a Great Way to Go

MIR Small Group Tours are a fun, relaxing way to travel – they offer companionship, ease, efficiency and personal attention from our stellar Tour Managers.

We have carefully crafted them to be:

1. Intimate

MIR Small Group Tours are intentionally small, with a firm upper limit of 16 participants (Explorer Series trips are capped at 12).

A MIR traveler is bedecked and bejeweled in a Turkmen traditional wedding dress Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

A MIR traveler is bedecked and bejeweled in a Turkmen traditional wedding dress
Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

2. Experiential

Each tour is packed with our “MIR Signature Experiences,” relevant, authentic, and sometimes surprising elements that enrich your trip.

Breakfast on frozen Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin.

Breakfast on frozen Lake Baikal
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

3. Distinctive

Choose from our Cultural Series, offering a wealth of uncommon experiences; Premier Series, adding best-in-class hotels to innovative cultural components; and Explorer Series, for more adventurous travelers. 

Expertise in explaining the past at Shah-i-Zinde in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Expertise in explaining the past at Shah-i-Zinde in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

4. Expert-led

MIR tour managers are a blend of personal guide, destination expert, magician and diplomat, and are among the best in the business. They are the crowning assets of our scheduled small group tours.

Tasting at Pheasant's Tears Winery in Georgia Photo credit: John Wurdeman

Tasting at Pheasant’s Tears Winery in Georgia
Photo credit: John Wurdeman

5. Comprehensive

A dedicated MIR travel planner oversees the details of your all-inclusive land trip, providing customized trip extensions, visa guidance and air tickets from our in-house agency, as desired.

Greetings in Iran. Photo credit: Joanna Millick

Greetings in Iran
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

A Tour Manager’s Perspective
Joanna Millick with Naadam Festival competitors in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia.

Joanna Millick with Naadam Festival competitors in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Joanna Millick, Director of Sales, has led MIR tours across her homeland, Poland, through Central Asia, Iran, along the Trans-Siberian Railway and around the Balkans, among other places. 

Joanna has her own list of the advantages of a small group:

  1. Wait times are relatively short throughout the trip, including:
    • border crossings
    • waiting for luggage to be delivered to one’s room
    • waiting in lines to use the facilities (especially important in under-developed countries where there might only be one restroom in a radius of many miles)
  2. Travelers get plenty of one-on-one attention from the Tour Manager and the local guides, so they learn more and make more long lasting friendships.
  3. Special requests are easy to accommodate. Say, one’s camera is broken and it needs to be fixed ASAP. With a small group, the Tour Manager or a local guide can be quickly responsive to the needs of the photographer and fix things faster for him or her.


Loyal Travelers
Indigenous Koryak folk dancers in Esso, on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Indigenous Koryak folk dancers in Esso, on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Our travelers come back to us time and time again because they’ve discovered what it’s like to be halfway around the world in a place where few westerners visit, yet still feel safe, secure and welcomed by MIR’s expert guides.

They know that when spontaneous and unpredictable events occur – as they frequently do in this part of the world – these unscripted moments can be one of the gifts that make adventurous travel so rewarding. We can connect you with past travelers if you’d like to hear first hand about MIR’s trips, or feel free to read some of our traveler reviews.

“Our MIR Tour Manager exceeded our expectations. Professional, kind, very organized, and very knowledgeable. A great leader of the group. One of the best Tour Managers we have had.”

–  S. and A. Attar, Mettawa, IL

“Beyond expectations! Great variety in what we saw/did. Size of the group gave us better access to guide + made things less rigid than other tours. My favorite parts were the glimpses into everyday life through meals in homes, driving through the countryside and especially personal stories shared by our guides.”

– K. Berry, Union, NJ 

“The size of the group coupled with our excellent MIR tour manager made this trip special. We got a taste of ancient Russia as well as modern Russia! The tour had lots of variety and was very professionally conducted.

My favorite part was our guide. Without her instincts and personal stories the trip would have been less interesting; these are things I’ll remember.”

– G. Anholt, Victoria, BC Canada

“Our MIR tour manager was amazing. He was the most outstanding tour manager I have ever met. From the minute we landed in Mongolia, he was ensuring that we had the opportunity to attend musical concerts, eat at excellent restaurants, and keep our schedules as filled with as many activities as we wanted.

The flexibility of this trip enabled me to have some experiences that were very meaningful to me, and would not have occurred in a structured, large group experience.”

Trip was better than we ever imagined. Best tour we have ever took.”

– B. Bates, Rohnert Park, CA


Travel on a Small Group Tour with MIR
Modern-day ride, following in the hooves of camels long ago Photo credit: Michel Behar

Modern-day ride on an old-time method of transportation
Photo credit: Michel Behar

MIR is celebrating 30 years of planning small group tours to the countries at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. No U.S. tour operator has more expertise in these destinations than MIR.

Browse our Trip Finder and/or Destination Map or chat with a MIR tour specialist to find a destination, trip, experience, or travel style that suits you.

Top photo: MIR travelers and their experienced MIR tour manager enjoy a sunny picnic in the Gobi Desert. Photo credit: Anvar Nasimov

PUBLISHED: November 25, 2015

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