Picking a company that fits for your next football trip ‘just right’ is hard. Really hard. Mostly because it’s impossible to run a trip that pleases all of the people all of the time. We get it – travel’s a big decision. It’s not every day you fly across the world to experience La Bombonera or El Monumental or enjoy an intense derby in Belgrade. But for us, it’s been our every day for the past three years now. Let’s just say we know what travelers really want: a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real-life football experience.
We like to think we get darn close, but there will always be travelers looking for something slightly different: for a few more people (or a few fewer), for a younger or an older crowd, for more free time, or a tighter itinerary. Travel isn’t like buying a new car. There are a lot of variables to consider (not to impugn car in any way, I’m sure picking one is harder than it looks).
Let’s be honest. We’re biased. We think we Homefans is pretty cool. But in the interests of a fair and open discussion, here are the things you should consider when choosing to join small group football trips.
The first big decision. When you envision a ‘group tour’, how many people do you see touring alongside you? Five? Ten? Fifty? The phrase ‘small group tour’ can be (and is) used to describe all of the above. And what is a ‘group tour’?
For us, a small group is, on average, about 10 people. It can range up to 12 or 20 depending on the destination, and go as low as 3 (when the departure has been guaranteed), but 10 is the norm. If you’re after just a match ticket for football matches, we’re probably not the company for you. And that’s okay. There are plenty of big companies that prefer that approach. For us, we want to make the most of our weekends around the world.
On our trips, you won’t see that selfie stick nonsense or full scheduled days with activities. We plan so you can enjoy your time abroad and experience local football cultures at its best. On our trips, you’ll mostly find people who are open-minded and want to experience different football cultures.
Price is often the first thing people compare when looking at different travel companies, but it can be a little misleading. Because some companies send people alone to a destination with a ticket and accommodation and that’s it. So you might save €40 or so, but it could mean you’re getting a much less bespoke and personal experience. Choosing a ‘cheap’ trip also increases the chance that your accommodation will be a) a bit lame, and b) far away from the city center.
The thing to look for is value, not just price. Are there included activities? Do you get a local host? If the trip is ticking a lot of those boxes, it’s usually worth paying a bit extra. Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. For our part, we always aim at a competitive price, not necessarily the lowest price. We’d rather give you an amazing experience and charge a little more than cut corners to save a buck.
A lot of companies will share match breaks and packages, but there are companies out there that really make an effort to go that extra step.
Generally speaking, you should look for an itinerary that hits all the major highlights (your Eternal Belgrade’s, your La Bombonera’s, your El Clasico’s etc) but that then includes a couple of hidden gems along the way. Ask anyone that’s done a bunch of small group trips: it’s often the unexpected places, the ones you’d never even heard of before, that end up being the most memorable. You can check the current trips here.
It’s just one of those things. Make sure to read the online trip notes thoroughly to help you make an informed decision, and if you have questions…ask! Give the company a call and check about that stadium tour on Day 2 or the time of the airport transfer pick-up. We’ve got a team of fans that can help with itinerary queries. It’s kind of our thing.
Local Experience Leaders
Our local leaders are something we’re pretty proud of, and it’s a policy we’ve been had in place since the very beginning of Homefans. Now, the vast majority of our guides are born-and-bred locals who know their destinations like the back of their hand. This approach has a few advantages. One, you get cool local knowledge on-tap. Two, the whole experience of football and travel becomes so much richer. Like Kevin’s experience last season at the Eternal Derby in Belgrade.
If local leaders are important to you, do your research. There’s no travel agency that uses local hosts in their destinations to explore the best football cultures with. These people put the time and effort into the itineraries to make sure you have an amazing time in their country. Not all of the industry can say the same.
As hard as we try to make it so, Homefans won’t be for every traveler or football fan in the world. Some people like experiences and the most intense football derbies. Some travelers prefer seven swimming pools, marble bench tops, and a fully stocked minibar or buying just football tickets via the black market. That’s never going to be us. And that’s okay. You’ve got to find a company that you fit with. Whose vibe feels right. The quickest way to work this out? Go on the website. Read the blog. And you know what, it may take a few tries before you find a small group tour company that fits you ‘just right’. But when you do, it’s a good feeling, and you’ll know the search was worth it.
Want to know if Homefans is the right fit for you? See what we’re all about.