A couple years back my wife and I travelled to Egypt and Jordan since it was always a dream to see the Pyramids of Giza and Petra, Jordan. Although we’re avid travellers, we knew using an adventure tourism company would be ideal since the ongoing Middle East uprising was still very real.
After doing my research I decided to book with Intrepid Travel, but what exactly is adventure tourism? I spoke with Christian Wolters, Deputy General Manager of Intrepid Travel Canada and he explains what adventure tourism is all about.
What is adventure travel?
Wow, that’s a tough one! Adventure can be anything to anyone. For me it’s about exploring new places, trying new activities, new food and meeting new people in an awe inspiring destination.
Adventure travel doesn’t mean roughing it right?
Correct, With Intrepid, one of our fastest growing segments is our Comfort style of travel. Basically the day time activities are similar but with a more comfortable bed at the end of the day, more inclusions and upscale transportation.
How big are the tour groups?
The majority of our trips are 12 people with one leader. Small groups allow for more one-on-one time with our local tour leaders. It allows us to blend into the “scene” better and you are also able to visit smaller venues. For example there are family run restaurants in Cuba that would not be able to accept more than 12 guests at a time. They are so much better than the large state run restaurants in the area.
Money We Have tip: We met great people on our trip. The small groups allowed us to really connect with each other.
What makes Intrepid unique?
Intrepid uses local accommodation, local transportation and with a local leader. We operate almost all of our own trips so we can assure quality and safety.
We carbon offset all of our trips and we run/support a number of Intrepid Foundation projects around the world (many you can visit while travelling with us). We match donations to the foundation dollar per dollar so you can be assured that 100% of your contribution will help support the program.
Finally it’s the overall Intrepid philosophy. We don’t scream out from the rooftops that we are “green”. Instead we make sure that the projects and initiatives we are involved with are legitimate. More importantly we make sure our interaction with a destination has a net positive impact to the environment, people and animals. We often take measures that are initially unpopular with customers, like banning elephant rides, as it is more important to raise awareness- as we know our customers will understand once they know the facts.
What destinations do you think will be popular this year?
Vietnam, Thailand and Morocco. Morocco- as it is the Middle East alternative. South East Asia is always very popular but we have some great emerging destinations like Colombia, Philippines, Northern Brazil and Burma that should be mentioned.
Are there any destinations that offer good value?
Our trekking trips like the ones in Nepal often provide the best value as transportation cost, once in destination, is almost nil. The experience of walking through the Himalayas from tea house to tea house is simply one of the best experiences I have ever had.
Money We Have tip: Check out Intrepid’s last minute travel deals site to find a deal.
What are the additional costs people should expect to pay?
Always important to read your trip notes whether you travel with Intrepid or not. Intrepid always clearly outlines inclusions so you have to take note of what meals and attractions you need to cover yourself. We also outline average costs so you can budget depending on your tastes and style of travel. Besides that, always bring a few extra bucks for a nice souvenir!
Money We Have tip: Flights are not included when you see prices quoted for any adventure tourism company. Also note that the start and end point usually does not include much down time so it’s best to arrive a day or two before and stay a bit longer at your end point.
You could easily plan any trip on your own but having a local guide and being in a small group setting can be ideal for certain trips. When you add up the costs of everything, you can actually save money by using an adventure tourism company, plus you don’t need to do any planning.
The highlight of my trip through Intrepid Travel was the people we met. We’ve already reconnected with some of our friends in London, San Francisco, and Antwerp.