Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
Responsible tourism: Alaska activity holiday
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: Your trip will include a visit to the refuge, home to a huge number of birds and wildlife. You'll enjoy the stunning scenery of the Kenai region within the park's massive two million acre boundary. Your tour guide will explain the conservation efforts taken up by the Refuge, helping to protect endangered wildlife and fauna.
Kachemak Bay State Park: A guided hike of this park is included in your trip, and gives you the opportunity to see 3 unique ecosystems at work. The first, a coastal marine environment, is home to an amazing array of sea wildlife. Secondly, you'll see the coastal forest regions of the park, and thirdly glacial plains. Our informative guide explains to you the importance of each to the wildlife and environment of this area of outstanding beauty.
Unrivalled Wildlife Viewing: The Alaskan Sealife Centre does fantastic work in preserving the wildlife in the region, and our travellers are able to witness everything from sea lions to puffins in a safe environment.
Our Environmental Values: This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. Our head office and stores are powered by a local green energy provider, we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff, and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% FSC certified sustainable paper.
Small Group Tours: With an average of 10 travellers on every trip, we ensure that local communities do not feel the impact of a tour group in their vicinity. We continually educate our tour groups on the culture and heritage of local people and this allows the area to reap the benefits of tourism without changing the local way of life.
Charity Contribution: When you take a trip with us, you are helping to fund charity work across the globe. We fund our charity foundation’s administrative costs and contribute $30,000 a year in donations, meaning that 100% of donor funds go directly to the projects they were designed to serve – over 35 projects spanning the globe.