Kerala Backwaters small group vacation, India

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22 Feb 2019
US $940
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15 Mar 2019
US $940
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25 Oct 2019
US $970
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08 Nov 2019
US $970
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15 Nov 2019
US $970
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22 Nov 2019
US $970
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18 Dec 2019
US $990
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17 Jan 2020
US $970
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24 Jan 2020
US $970
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07 Feb 2020
US $970
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14 Feb 2020
US $970
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21 Feb 2020
US $970
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06 Mar 2020
US $970
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13 Mar 2020
US $970
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23 Oct 2020
US $990
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06 Nov 2020
US $990
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13 Nov 2020
US $990
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20 Nov 2020
US $990
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19 Dec 2020
US $1040
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type
Small group vacations
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.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala Backwaters small group vacation, India

Environment

Lush and beautiful Kerala is a joy to explore. As well as visiting the main points of interest, we get off the beaten track at many points to really give us a flavour of local life. Travel is as much about meeting people as it is seeing the sites, and there are many opportunities for both on this tour. Our local tour leaders are great facilitators when it comes to introductions and explaining local customs. We spend time on a traditional house boat and also a night with a family in their home, this gives an excellent chance to learn about the life in this tranquil state. We make use of local trains which is a great experience as well as reducing the amount of time we require a bus.

Whilst in Periyar we are careful to follow the strict guidelines of our Animal Welfare Policy, developed in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, when viewing wildlife so we minimise disruption.

Our Tour Leaders are passionate about Responsible Tourism and brief each group on arrival. They are also on hand throughout the trip to offer advice on how to get the best from each location without causing any damage or offence, and by contributing to the economy.

We stay in simple, small accommodation throughout the trip and groups are encouraged to minimise use of water in order to help the owners manage their resources.

The maximum group size is 16 people. With a smaller group we can spend time with local families, enjoy time on houseboats and make use of public trains to travel between cities. It gives us the freedom to spend time talking to local people as we travel and truly immerse ourselves in the culture.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

Community

Our village homestay provides us with an excellent insight into lives of the backwaters residents and is a welcome additional source of income for our hosts. Choosing to stay in smaller hotels and homestays, using local leaders and eating out in a variety of local restaurants ensures that our tour really benefits local people in Kerala. Hiring a bike or taking a rickshaw tour helps in the same way and is incredibly good fun too!

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