British Columbia wildlife vacation, whales and bears

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31 Aug 2017
US $ 3295
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07 Sep 2017
US $ 3295
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10 Sep 2017
US $ 3255
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17 Sep 2017
US $ 3255
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20 Sep 2017
US $ 3255
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30 Aug 2018
US $ 3455
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06 Sep 2018
US $ 3455
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09 Sep 2018
US $ 3405
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16 Sep 2018
US $ 3405
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19 Sep 2018
US $ 3405
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

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, traveling 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 vacation, 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 travelers’ 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?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation 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?
Travelers 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 vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“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 travelers 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 travelers!”
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?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: British Columbia wildlife vacation, whales and bears

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
We use a mixture of standard and comfortable hotels on this trip. All accommodations used on tour recycle and apply very strict waste management programs that are often derived from provincial and federal regulations. They all encourage the reusing of towels for multiple day stays and offer the option of having your sheets changed or not in an effort to preserve water. Reminders are also left to dissuade people from leaving lights running and wasting water during showers. Where meals are not provided, we either arrange a kitty to cover picnics and source these ingredients at local shops or markets, or we visit restaurants in the area.

Activity:
As the majority of our activity is wildlife watching, taking photographs, walking through the forests and sea-kayaking, we leave a considerably smaller carbon footprint than some other vacations. Wildlife sightings are a highlight of this trip and we are careful to respect the species that we encounter. A specialist guide will accompany our whale observation excursion to educate us on their behaviour and we travel in small zodiacs which is a non-intrusive way to approach wildlife. When visiting National Parks we stick to marked trails to reduce our impact on the local environment and we pay entrance fees which go towards supporting conservation efforts in the area. Throughout the trip we employ a ‘leave no trace’ policy in regard to litter - everything taken into the parks is taken out to preserve the local environment. We recycle wherever possible and all leaders are trained in responsible tourism to enable them to follow best practice.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Charity:
Our local tour operators contribute to the organisation ‘Sur la Pointe des Pieds’, whose goal is to help young people living with cancer regain confidence and well-being by going on a therapeutic adventure expedition. Extra supplies are never wasted by throwing items away. If there is uneaten food purchased by a group, this is donated to a local food bank at the end of the tour. Similarly, if there are unwanted sleeping bags left behind our operators donate them to homeless shelters or to the Salvation Army.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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