Synthetic, cotton, or merino wool tops are ideal for cycling in the heat.
Small group, 5-18 adults (min. age 16), tour leader.
Moderate. Avg. distance 28 miles daily.
7 nights hotel, 1 night private camp.
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available at hotels.
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner.
Accommodation, transport, transfers, listed activities, tour leader.
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?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
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.
“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?”
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.
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: Petra and Wadi Rum by bike, Jordan
Activity: As much of the trip is spent cycling, we have less of a negative impact on the environment than tours which only rely on vehicles. Our optional activities at Aqaba also include snorkelling and swimming, which are nature based and carbon free. When we do make excursions with 4x4s into the Wadi Rum, we pay local people for this service. We try to minimise litter as much as possible and are careful to emphasise that clients should not damage or remove pieces from any historical sites we visit. As we hire local guides as well as Bedouin guides, we can ensure that our activity has a positive effect on the economy and that our clients take away some of their passion and knowledge of Jordan. Our guides are trained in responsible travel issues and will be able to convey these in briefings.
Water: Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Our guides can advise where to fill them and where to recycle litter.
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.
Accommodation and Meals: You will spend 7 nights in hotels and 1 night at a full-service campsite. We employ local Bedouin people to run the camp, so we know we are directly benefiting local communities with our business. The hotels are also locally staffed as per law in Jordan, so our stay here is also in support of local employment. Where meals are provided, ingredients will be sourced from a local market wherever possible. Clients may eat a ‘zarb’ (where food is slow cooked underground) at the Bedouin camp and there will also be plenty of chance to eat in restaurants selling ‘mezze’ style specialties like kebabs, fresh salads, and bread with hummus.
Local Craft and Culture: Usually guides take clients to the market on the day going from Petra to Wadi Rum or Aqaba. This is a great cultural experience where clients can buy their own vegetables and fruit and even see how some meals are prepared- like falafel. We also visit the ancient city of Jerash and Madaba, but the cultural highlight of the trip for many is the visit to UNESCO World Heritage city, Petra. There is a full day here to explore the ancient, rose-coloured rock buildings including El Khazneh (the treasury) and El Deir (the Monastery). There are some local handicrafts and souvenirs available here like hand painted ceramics, jewellery and vases filled with coloured sand. Clients can also support the community by purchasing donkey or horse rides from local people.
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.
Reviews of Petra and Wadi Rum by bike, Jordan
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 25 May 2015 by Phil Ely
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Action packed, fantastic from start to finish
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Go for it, it was fantastic
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?