Exploring new parts of the world is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a vacation. Whether you prefer to read a book on the beach, sip wine from the veranda of an ancient winery, bundle up on a Polar expedition, or hike to the top of Mount Everest, there are so many adventures out there just waiting for you to discover them. These companies are staffed by experts who can take care of the hotel booking, meal planning, and itineraries, all from an insider perspective that is tailored to each traveler’s individual needs.
1. Smithsonian Journeys
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With the help of Smithsonian Journeys, travelers can explore the world through the lens of some of the most knowledgeable and well respected scholars on earth. Participation in a Smithsonian Journeys trip not only allows you to learn about different cultures, explore landscapes and learn about local wildlife, but it also benefits the Smithsonian and their affiliated programs. The Smithsonian will use all their connections to get travelers behind the scenes access to iconic cultural sites across the globe, where they will learn about history and culture, and meet new people. Smithsonian Journeys has destinations on all seven continents and has both pre-curated and tailor-made adventures waiting for each individual guest. Phone: 855-330-1542
2. Go Ahead Tours
Planning the perfect travel adventure can involve a lot of details, which is why it is so important to have a trusted travel expert at hand to help you. At Go Ahead Tours you get the benefit of more than 50 years of adventure travel experience built into each tour they offer. The company puts together immersive tours in more than 80 countries spread over all 7 continents, giving you access to all the insider tips you need to make your holiday unique and memorable. Once you have chosen your tour all you need to do is pack your bag – Go Ahead Tours takes care of all the details for you.
EF Center Boston, Two Education Circle, Cambridge, MA 02141, Phone: 800 500 1161
3. Road Scholar
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Offering a variety of options around the world, Road Scholar is one of the best adventure travel companies for exploring local history and nature. Whether you are planning an exotic trip to the Galapagos Islands or a weekend of mountain hiking, Road Scholar will help you choose when to go, what to take and so much more. This adventure company offers everything from hiking in Kathmandu to sailing the high seas on a modern cruise vacation. If you have no idea where your next adventure may take you, Road Scholar makes it easy to get away with seasonal adventure and airfare specials.
11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111, Phone: 800 454 5768
4. Backroads Travel
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Backroads is an incredible travel company best suited for active travelers. With Backroads Travel, guests can explore the hills, history, and wineries of Tuscany on foot or by bike, hike the mountainous rocks and waterfalls of Yosemite National Park, or get up close and personal with the massive glaciers, intricate fjords, and fiery volcanoes of Iceland. Backroads Travel promotes active travel because they believe that there’s no real way to get to know a place except by intimately acquainting yourself with it. Traveling with Backroads will allow you to see the beauty of the world around you from a slower, more personal pace. Phone: 510-527-1555
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5. Elevate Destinations
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Elevate Destinations focuses on eco-friendly, sustainable luxury travel. Their innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip initiative means that for every guest who books with Elevate Destinations, the company will pay to send a group of local children on a trip to see some amazing tourist sites in their own country. Guests can design trips for solo travelers, couples, families, and large groups and choose their destination from a huge list of options over multiple continents. At Elevate Destinations, guests can select their trip based on what kind of traveler they are, whether they are looking for a volunteer experience or a yoga retreat. Phone: 800-605-6751
6. Geographic Expeditions
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Travelers looking for a luxurious, intimate experience with insider access will love Geographic Expeditions, a travel company that boasts a massive array of destinations on all seven continents. Geographic Expeditions takes small group travel to a whole new level, with custom designed adventures that may include a chartered ship to the icy seas of Antarctica, a wild safari in the Serengeti to see lions, elephants, and giraffes, or a relaxing and elegant adventure to see -- and try -- all the wineries in the Bordeaux region. GeoEx’s proud motto is “to the ends of the earth.” They don’t let the remoteness of a location stop travelers from visiting it, and in fact they focus on traveling with integrity no matter the destination. Phone: 888-570-7108
7. Classic Journeys
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When traveling with Classic Journeys, you will get a completely unique look at their destination; the company thrives on creating one of a kind experiences for its guests, who will interact with locals, eat local cuisine in small villages, and shop at local markets. Travel groups with Classic Journeys are small and led by knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the area. Tours and trips are structured yet maintain a sense of spontaneity and flexibility that is often difficult to find outside of solo travel. Classic Journeys prides itself on keeping this feeling for its guests while eliminating all the logistical trouble of planning your own trip. Phone: 800-200-3887
8. Country Walkers
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With an ever growing list of destinations on five continents, Country Walkers offers authentic travel experiences for active travelers who love to see the world on foot. Country walkers offers two styles of travel experience. For guided walking tours, the company creates an itinerary, takes care of food and accommodation, and has local guides for small groups of eight to eighteen guests. There is also a self guided walking tour option, which allows guests to explore at their own pace with all the support they need, so they can focus on enjoying themselves while Country Walkers takes care of luggage, hotels, transportation, and more.
426 Industrial Ave, Suite 120 Williston, VT 05495, Phone: 800-234-6900
9. NAMU Travel
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NAMU Travel Group is based in Central America and so travelers hoping to explore the sandy beaches, quaint and colorful villages, and lush green rainforests of the Latin American region should take full advantage of their considerable expertise. NAMU offers a number of vacation packages to suit all guests’ desires, from fishing in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Costa Rica to exploring the colonial towns of Nicaragua. Their destinations include Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, and they even have an adult only hotel located in Costa Rica called Villa Buena Onda.
Calle 70, San José Province, San José, Costa Rica
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With over 600 destinations in 130 countries, Explore is a fun adventure travel agency that organizes small group adventure holidays that span from an African safari to a Polar voyage in the icy waters of the Arctic. Groups, couples, families, and others can enjoy their vacation with Explore, and solo travelers can take advantage of exclusive deals and savings. Destinations include locations on all seven continents, so no matter where a traveler wants to go, Explore can not only help them get there, but help them make the absolute most of their experience.
11. Natural Habitat Adventures
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Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s very first travel company to be 100% carbon neutral. Their environmentally conscious approach to travel and adventure manifests itself through its nature-intensive trips. Natural Habitat Adventures puts its guests up in comfortable and luxurious accommodations that are also incredibly remote; guests will sleep under the stars or in beautiful, rustic lodges. The company specializes in nature adventures, so their guides and organizers are all experts in creating the best experiences in the wilderness. Group sizes are small, with an average of only nine people per trip, and they offer specialty nature trips for those with special interests, such as photography or hiking. Phone: 800-543-8917
12. Marathon Tours & Travel
Founded in 1979 as the world's first travel agency dedicated entirely to runners, Marathon Tours & Travel is based out of Boston, home of the world's oldest and one of the most popular marathons. It's the leading North American travel agency for marathons all over the globe, with a team of travel specialists able to organize all of your travel arrangements and reach your own personal running goals.
Whether you're a total newbie to the world of running or a serial marathon runner in search of your next big challenge, Marathon Tours & Travel can help. This company actually created several marathons of its own, including the Antarctica Marathon, as well as launching special projects and programs like The Runners Country Club. With expert trip designers and specialists leading the way, Marathon Tours & Travel making marathon running a lot easier. Phone: 617 242 7845
13. Great Beyond Adventures
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Great Beyond knows that the word “adventure” means something different to everyone; where one person might define it as scaling mountains and whitewater rafting, others might consider it a quiet night spent in a remote location beneath the glowing stars of the night sky. Great Beyond Adventures does everything in their power to make sure that each of their guests have a great adventure, whatever that means to them. Every excursion includes an expert travel guide, transportation, accommodation, meals, and more in a small group of strangers who will quickly become lifelong friends.
14. International Expeditions
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International Expeditions sends its guests abroad for some unforgettable adventures. With their new Motion Expeditions, travelers can be active as they explore the world, through hiking, biking, and kayaking. On a Family Expedition, guests can take a cruise through the Galapagos Islands, see colorful birds and lush rainforests in Costa Rica, or catch a safari in Zambia. Experiences through International Expeditions are offered for solo travelers, couples, families, and more, with special trips designed for nature and wildlife, water travel, land travel, or totally custom designed adventures.
15. Intrepid Group
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With over a thousand itineraries on every continent of the world, Intrepid Group is not just a company for travelers, but one that is also run by people who love adventure and travel as well. The passion of these guides comes through very strong in their trips, which include Geckos Adventures for people aged 18-29, real life experiences that will immerse guests in local culture, Urban Adventures to skip the crowds and see the beating heart of a city from a local standpoint, and more in depth travel experiences with Peregrine Adventures. Through these travel groups and more, Intrepid offers everything you need to book the perfect trip for you.
201 1st Street Suite 300, Petaluma CA 94952, Phone: 800-970-7299
16. Mountain Travel Sobek
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Mountain Travel Sobek, or MTS for short, has been sharing and spreading wanderlust with its customers since 1969. Their small group adventures are ecologically conscious, take place in over 200 destinations worldwide, and boast expert guides who will show travelers around on their trip. Some of their featured trips include Antarctica by both plane and boat, a flying safari over the grasslands of Botswana, scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands, and hiking in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. Guests can book through MTS and decide on their trip based on destination, level of activity, or specific interests.
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17. Wild Frontiers
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Wild Frontiers has won awards for being an ethical tour company, and the adventures they offer include wildlife safaris, walking holidays, and even riding holidays for horseback riders and lovers of horses. Some of their signature group trips include a walking tour of Montenegro, exploring the Taj Mahal and temples of Rajasthan, and traversing the ancient Silk Road trade route through Uzbekistan and Turkey. You can also choose to tailor make your trip depending on wherever you wish to go, whether that be in the snowy reaches of the Arctic, the blazing heat of the Sahara Desert, or the tropical paradise of Borneo. Phone: +44-0-20-87-41-73-90
18. Austin Adventures
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Austin Adventures is a tour company that offers fully curated, all inclusive adventure travel trips all over the world. Austin Adventures designs their trips around the people on them; family adventures include kid-friendly activities like zip lining in Costa Rica or exploring and learning the stories behind ancient ruins of cities and castles in Europe. Adult adventures range from wine tastings in France and hot springs to days-long hiking, biking, or kayaking trips in America’s national parks. Austin Adventures includes two meals a day for guests, leaving the third open so that each traveler can choose where they’d like to go and maintain some flexibility in their vacation.
4336 Christensen Rd, Billings, MT 59101, Phone: 406-655-4591
19. National Geographic Expeditions
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National Geographic is an internationally known name in the world of nature and travel, and exploring the world with their help means that you get all the benefit of their extensive knowledge and connections. Trips can be booked for families, couples, groups, and solo travelers, and they include options such as active hiking trips, cruises or marine expeditions, and even special interest trips for travelers who have passions like photography or cooking. With National Geographic Expeditions, travelers can see penguins in Antarctica, bike through the brisk and mountainous roads of Alaska, or even take a private jet to see the South Pacific Islands.
1145 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: 888-966-8687
20. Abercrombie & Kent
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Abercrombie & Kent has been leading the way in luxury adventure travel for over fifty years, with trips, guides, and destinations on all seven continents of the world. Travelers who book with Abercrombie & Kent can ride camels to the great pyramids in Egypt or hike through the Amazonian wilderness of Peru to see the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Tours are tailor made to suit each traveler’s tastes and needs, and for the duration of their trip, Abercrombie & Kent will make sure that there are knowledgeable guides, fun and diverse itineraries, and a wide variety of opportunity at every turn.
21. Mr. Linh's Adventures
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Mr. Linh's Adventures is one of Vietnam's premiere private tour companies, operated as a family business since 2008. The company specializes in off-the-beaten-path adventures throughout Southeast Asia, with a focus on eco-tourism adventures and ethical interactions with local communities. Visitors can explore Vietnam's most beautiful sites, including explorations of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay and excursions into the caves of Ba Be National Park and Ho Chi Minh City. Excursions in Cambodia explore world-famous sites such as Siem Reap ad Angkor Wat, while adventures in Thailand take visitors to the island of Phuket. Multinational itineraries are also offered, with one-of-a-kind accommodations available for all tour participants. Phone: +84 24 3642 5420
22. Road Scholar
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School may be an institution typically reserved for children, but learning is a lifelong project, and Road Scholar prides itself on helping travelers to learn about the world around them as they travel and explore. Road Scholar is an educational travel company that offers learning adventures like glass blowing classes in Corning, New York, authentic Latin dance lessons in Costa Rica, and historic architectural tours of Portugal. When booking a trip through Road Scholar, you can choose you adventure based on your special interests, desired level of activity, or preferred destination.
23. Tusker Trail - The Best for Kilimanjaro and Beyond
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If climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (the tallest point in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world) has ever been on your bucket list, then Tusker Trail is the perfect travel company to help make it happen. They are the most trusted guide company there is when it comes to navigating and leading groups to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and they also lead trips to other famous natural locations around the world. Travelers can use Tusker Trail’s expertise to reach Mount Everest’s base camp, ride horses through ancient Mongolian landscapes, and trek through the Patagonia region of Chile. Phone: 800-231-1919
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With hundreds of destinations on their resume, Wildfoot has got travelers covered when it comes to visiting a new place. This spectacular travel company specializes in expeditions to the polar regions of the world, in both the Arctic and Antarctic. There, guests will see icebergs, leopard seals, polar bears, penguins, and whales as they explore the icy reaches of the Earth’s poles. Wildfoot employs wildlife specialists and experts who guide guests on their adventures, putting a focus on environmental conservation. Travelers seeking an incredible, unique experience that is entirely out of the ordinary should check out WIldfoot for their next vacation.
25. World Expeditions
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For over 40 years, World Expeditions has offered travelers some amazing opportunities to have authentic and unique experiences as they travel, all while being responsible and sustainable. World Expeditions allows travelers to see Nepal and Mount Everest, with different options for different physical abilities, and they have special adventure groups for women, cyclists, mountaineers, seniors, and others. Travelers can choose to go on a charity trip, a culinary tour, or even a family excursion, with hundreds of options all over the world to choose from when it comes to destinations, including well known tourist sites as well as places that are off the beaten path.
What are the 25 Best Adventure Vacation Ideas?
The 25 Best Adventure Vacation Ideas according to local experts are:
Some of the great destinations on G Adventures’ extensive list include the rainforests of Central and South America, the epic and classic cities of Europe, and the untamed natural landscapes of Africa. Travelers can explore the deserts of the Middle East, relax on the beaches of New Zealand, and enjoy the diverse food and cultures of Asia as they embark on their once in a lifetime journey with G Adventures. Choose a trip based on your travel style. On the National Geographic tour, you will find abundant nature and education, an active trip full of walking, cycling, and hiking, or a trip with a designated age group, such as the 18-30 trip.
One of the most famous and well-respected retail companies in the business for outdoor activities, camping, sports, and more, REI also offers REI Adventures, a travel service that helps its guests combine exotic locations with an active lifestyle. Through an autumn trip to Cinque Terre, travelers can hike the cliffs of the Mediterranean and avoid the heavy crowds of summer. On their national parks adventures, guests can kayak on rivers in Alaska or climb the rock formations at Yosemite. There are even weekend getaways available, with over sixty options for biking, hiking, or paddling in some gorgeous natural locations.
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Myths and Mountains
Asia and Southeast Asia boast a rich and diverse spread of cultures as well as an absolutely stunning landscape featuring everything from jungles to beaches to the tallest mountains in the world. Myths and Mountains is a travel company that looks to help travelers get to know the Asian continent through luxurious, immersive experiences custom made for each traveler. Trips feature not just sightseeing, but amazing cultural activities like archery in Bhutan, festivals in China, or culinary tours of Vietnam. Myths and Mountains has the know-how and the inside connections to make sure that guests get the absolute most from their travels.
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Butterfield & Robinson
Butterfield & Robinson started over half a century ago as a simple idea written on the back of a cocktail napkin. Its founders wanted to encourage travelers to slow down in their adventures and to see the world from a different perspective. Travelers with Butterfield & Robinson can choose what kind of trip they’d like, from a safari, boat or biking, family friendly, or food and wine oriented vacation, and then encourages them, while traveling, to stop and smell the roses. Travelers in the Bordeaux region will learn to savor every sip of wine as they relax on a comfortable terrace, and those on safari in the Serengeti will be encouraged to linger and watch an elephant as she meanders toward the watering hole. Phone: 866-551-9090