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: Nepal multi activity holiday
Leave Nothing But Footprints… We stand by the adage of “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos” and encourage clients to do the same. This trek travels through remote, fragile eco-systems and their preservation is of the utmost importance.
Take in What You Take Out We always dispose of our rubbish in an eco-friendly manner and ‘take out, what we put in’. We encourage our clients to take batteries back to the UK to dispose of properly.
Bottled Water Bottled water has an immensely negative impact on the areas we visit, as they are not recyclable. We recommend purchasing water-purifying tablets or a water filter to treat your drinking water whilst in Nepal and to bring a reusable water bottle. Many of the places we stay also offer boiled/treated/filtered water - perfect for refilling your bottle!
Bio-friendly & Biodegradable Detergents, Soaps & Shampoos Our guides only use detergents that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable. This practice is also recommended to our clients whilst on holiday and before their trip departs. We recognise that it is difficult to find some of these products whilst in the countries we visit, which is why we communicate to our clients before departure the importance of minimizing our environmental impact.
K.E.E.P. (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project) – Nepal We support K.E.E.P.
K.E.E.P. is a not-for profit, non-governmental organization based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The mission of K.E.E.P. is to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal and its people by maximizing the benefits and reducing the negative impacts associated with tourism.
Their objectives are to: - Promote sustainable tourism and provide environmental and cultural education to travelers and the tourism industry through free, impartial information and training programs - Enable sustainable development through outreach projects, training and resources in order to seek a more equitable distribution of the economic benefits of tourism for the people of Nepal - Conduct research and development activities on environmental and associated social issues
We keep our clients informed and encourage a visit to their Visitor’s Centre in Kathmandu whilst on tour. The Visitor’s Centre provides unbiased and invaluable local knowledge of the areas we visit and is an excellent resource for information and insight into the environmental and ecological issues in Nepal.
At Work in the UK - We only use energy efficient light bulbs in our offices - All paper, cardboard, plastics, and tins are recycled - Our employees are encouraged to only print what is absolutely necessary and reduce/reuse materials whenever possible - We do not have any printed brochures and aim to keep printing of paper materials to a minimum. We encourage our clients to do the same. - Our office printer has a 3* energy rating and is energy efficient - Our staff walk or cycle to work - Paper is sourced from sustainable forests and is 100% recycled - Ink used in all of our materials are eco-friendly, vegetable based inks.
Our Foundation After seeing first hand the poor treatment and conditions porters often work in, we decided to create our own foundation dedicated to providing proper clothing and equipment for porters, their families and the remote mountain communities we visit. On all of our Nepal trips, clients are encouraged to donate/bring useful goods and equipment with them on their holidays. We ensure that all goods are distributed fairly.
Our not-for-profit foundation also supports a local school and community in Beluwa, a remote village in the Ghurka region and is the hometown of one of our local guides. We have supplied the school with much needed materials like pencils and writing books and the students with warm jumpers.
Our current project is to raise the funds needed for a water pump to be installed in the village. At the moment villagers must walk for over 2 hours each way to collect water.
Local Guides and Suppliers - We employ local suppliers and guides. - We only use reputable suppliers that adhere to the same high standards as ourselves. - We use suppliers that train and educate younger employees to international standards, gaining international certifications thus raising the standards of the respective industries.
Accommodation We stay in small family run guesthouses and at home-stays (the homes of local families), thus ensuring that money is driven back into local communities. At all other times we aim to stay in independently owned hotels.
Small Group Sizes Small group sizes equals more interaction with locals, less intrusion, and potential for more adventure, as well as allowing for the spontaneous and magical moments that occur while traveling, all while making less of an impact on the places we visit. We keep group sizes to a maximum of 12 people.
Food, Drink and Local Products - On this tour some but not all food is included with your holiday. When the opportunity arises, we encourage you to explore local options whilst eating, and to eat in independent and family run establishments. Not only does this assist in spreading out income for a variety of different families/businesses it encourages our clients to experience new/local cuisine and provides a genuine experience - In circumstances where we do provide food, produce is locally sourced and we employ local cooks and cook assistants - We encourage our guests to buy local, shop at local markets and purchase souvenirs/handicrafts and authentic goods that are produced within the region we are exploring.