You will need a stout pair of walking boots which should be fairly worn in to lessen the chance of frustrating and painful blisters.
Small group. Average group size 12. Minimum age 16.
Moderate. Max 14km walk on day 6. Approximately 5 hours spent walking per day.
7 nights in 3-star hotel with en-suite facilities.
Accommodation, transport and tour leader throughout.
7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners.
Solo travelers welcome. Single room supplement applies.
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: Cappadocia walking vacation in Turkey
Activity: Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although we do intend to have a positive effect by encouraging engagement with locals, visiting local cafes and restaurants and supporting small businesses at craft and food markets. By operating with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, we are able to raise awareness for a kind of tourism which puts environment and community before financial gain.
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: We will spend all seven nights in a comfortable, 3 star hotel. All accommodation is locally staffed, which has a very positive effect on employment levels and also ensures that any income generated remains within the local economy. Most meals are included and wherever possible will be made from locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Sampling local cuisine is a great way to get in touch with Turkish culture and there are plenty of Cappadocian specialties to try including Biberdomasi (Bell peppers stuffed with rice and ground lamb), Pide (Oblong pizza-like flatbread) and Moussaka. We will also stop at a number of villages and Turkish teahouses where our custom is really appreciated by local people.
Local Craft and Culture: Although the majority of the trip is spent in remote, mountainous areas, there are still opportunities to connect with local communities and their cultures. As well as the villages we pass through, we also encounter semi-nomadic tribes, who often pitch their goat hair tents along our route and sometimes we are fortunate to share a homemade, traditional ‘ayran’- which is a refreshing yoghurt based drink. The peaks and valleys of Cappadocia are dotted with churches, monasteries and remains of ancient cave dwellings- which are of great cultural interest. If there is time on the trip, we also recommend seeing a whirling dervish display and investigating some of the crafts shops and bazaars in the region. In the Cappadocia area, carpet making and hand painting pottery are popular and traditional forms of craft. By purchasing souvenirs from local people, we can benefit the community.
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.