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.
As a company we have a deep sense of environmental responsibility as we work primarily in pristine wilderness destinations. We work closely with our local guides and suppliers to make sure that they share our ethos.
All of our guides operate a strict leave no trace policy during all activities and ensure that group sizes are managed to limit any effects on the local environment.
Trails which are used are well managed and maintained to limit any erosion and campfires use sustainably sourced wood and generally use maintained fire sites.
The accommodation suppliers we work with all have their own policies to manage waste and recycling. In Tromsø the hotel operates a Room for Responsibility programme which outlines their environmental policies.
They support non-profit organisations in providing food, shelter and clothing to those in need they also support and promote the growth and development of hospitality and tourism industries.
The hotel in Sommarøy measure and report all of their energy, water and waste usage so that they can record any changes. The hotel is also proudly labelled by Nordic Ecolabel, which was established in 1989 with the purpose of providing an environmental labelling scheme that would contribute to a sustainable consumption. To be granted an Ecolabel there are stringent environmental and climate criteria that must be fulfilled. The hotel is constantly aiming to improve and better their environmental policy. Organic food is provided in their restaurants where possible and recycling bins are available throughout.
Tromsø and its surrounding area have benefitted greatly over the past decade from an increase in tourism. This industry has replaced some of the more traditional industries which have seen steady decline. This growth has enabled the region to help slow the migration of young people to the larger economic regions further south.
This holiday ensures that both the modern culture of the region and the traditions of the indigenous Sámi people of Norway are explored. Guests will meet with a traditional reindeer herder and gain an understanding of their way of life here in the far north.
The hotels we use feature a range of local produce where possible and utilise the local suppliers in this remote region (wherever possible). This allows the tourism multiplier effect to spread the benefits of tourist expenditure more widely.
Our hotel in Tromsø also supports a variety of projects supporting underprivileged people as part of their corporate and social responsibility plan.