Intrepid Travel vs Friendly Planet - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.4
Meals — 4.4
Recent Reviews

Good experience - highly overpriced.

4.0 April 2019
MB
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
I just came back from a 12 day tour to
Egypt.

Pros:
1) extremly very well organized
2) excellent customer service
3) lots of information on the site
4) very knowledgable and personable guide with excellent English
5) people on the trip were great

Cons:
1) HIGHLY OVERPRICED - one accomodation was ok, the other ones were very cheap, shabby ans dirty.

2) Our guide was no different to guides in less reputable companies. Before I travel, I asked and was told by Intrepid this trip had no "kitty". However, the guide asked on day one for it (a total of $576.09 USD which is a fortune in Egypt), took the group to "Intrepid pre-approved venders", etc.

3) Options of things to do outside the itinerary could have been better explained.

The trip is a good choice if you like to take it easy during your vacation: visit the main sites but also have time at the pool, have drinks with friends and have lots of free time to chill out. And very important: you must like to shop. Keep in mind in Alexandria you spend 3 hours at the shopping mall instead of visiting a Museum, the only activity on day 11 was a visit to the Bazaar and, as I said, you will stop at shops endorsed by Intrepid (according to the guide).

If you, like me, prefer to be on the go when you are on a trip so far from home, this might not be the trip for you. Unless, like I did, you are comfortable with doing your own thing and leaving the group to explore on your own since you will have plenty of time to do so.

Personally, I won't travel with them again. The bad points override the good ones. But again, depends on what you are looking for... and how much you are willing to pay for it.
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

It was so much fun!

5.0 April 2019
L
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I have just finished The Real Cambodia tour, the 18-29 youth tour. It was so much fun! Our guide Channy was fantastic - he always had good places to take us, advice on everything, lots of local knowledge. The accommodation was generally good, the travel was good, and we did a lot of fun activities. This is my first time travelling with intrepid and I definitely recommend it. I’m already thinking of where I’d like to travel with them again!
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Conditions was absolutely amazing

5.0 April 2019
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
During our Kruger National Park experience with Intrepid we had a guide called Ann. We were lucky enough to have her as our guide for 3 trips during our stay!
She’s a fantastic guide. Ann knows the animals behaviour very well and she quick to act on different potential sightings. We were on our way back to the lodge when a storm was approaching us. Ann was very calm, made sure the vehicle was safe and provided us with rain jackets! The storm was intense (thundering, lighting and hale stone) Ann made us feel very safe and secure, she warned us what to do if the storm got worse. How she managed to get us out of the storm and drive in such bad conditions was absolutely amazing and can’t thank her enough for getting us back safety! After a such a journey back I gave Ann a massive hug to say thank you but I feel that wasn’t enough, so I wanted to let Intrepid know how wonderful your lovely staff member Ann is! So Thank you, Abbey
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

amazing memories!!!!

5.0 May 2019
K
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just returned from spending 8 phenomenal days in Greece and Turkey. Our guide Yannis couldn't have been more knowledgeable, efficient, fun, funny and FRIENDLY!! There was 12 of us traveling together and he never lost his patience although some days he may have felt like he was herding cats... The hotel, ship, tours and local guides left us wanting nothing! Thank you for providing us the framework for such amazing memories!!!! Efxaristo!!!!!!
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

a wonderful experience

5.0 October 2018
C
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Just returned from a Friendly Planet trip to Egypt, was a wonderful experience. Our guide, Ahmad, was the best guide ever, very knowledgeable and really took care of us. We saw a lot in 10 days. It was great.
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

outstanding

5.0 November 2017
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We just returned from Peru. Well done Friendly Planet. Hotels and meals were outstanding. Our main guide, Jaime, was one of the best I've ever had...and, we travel a lot! Jaime was an inspiration for some
of us who needed extra support to get to the top of Machu Picchu. Our Lake Titicaca guide could use more experience. But, still a good time!
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

Tours 1,135 Trips 2 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 192 $ 376
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
Service Level Standard Budget
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Budget
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA
Year Established 1989 1981
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
About Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.

Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts

Founded in 1989

No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)

Small Groups - max 16 on most trips

Typical Age Range - 18 - 45

Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland

Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels

Average Tour Price - $2,377

Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos

Commonly compared with G Adventures »

Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

  • Small group sizes
  • Travelers from all walks of life
  • Well-balanced itineraries (group and free time allotted)
  • Guides are travel experts or friendly locals

Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.

Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?

  • All ages (seniors included)
  • Adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts

Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.

Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.

The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.

Top Destinations

  • Asia
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Europe

Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.

Intrepid Travel Style

Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.

There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:

1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.

2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.

3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?

Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.

It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.

For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.

Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.

About Friendly Planet

Founded over 30 years ago, Friendly Planet is a small, family owned tour operator based in the United States. While they might be a small operation, they offer a wide range of affordable journeys to six continents. Their trips span across three categories: small group tours, value vacations, and independent packages.  

What Makes Friendly Planet Stand Out?

Friendly Planet was one of the first tour operators to offer online bookings. While their trips will immerse you in local culture, they don't do so at the expense of comfort. On top of that, their tour price basically includes everything -- flight as well on most trips! It’s rare to find an operator that does so, meaning that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

They also have 24/7 customer service support, which gives peace of mind while traveling to far-flung destinations. If something isn’t up to standards while on your trip, they’ll get in contact with the guide and fix it promptly.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Friendly Planet?

Friendly Planet is ideal for active travelers, interested in culture, history, food, and nature. Their small group trips attract a wide age range, while their value vacations tends to draw a younger, more budget-minded crowd.

Whether you’re a couple, small friend group, or solo traveler, you’ll find these trips to create the perfect setting for meeting new people. Groups sit between 11-24 people, striking the perfect balance between too many names to remember and “I have no one to talk to”.

Trips can vary from everything between daily casual strolls to strenuous hikes up snow-capped mountains. If you’re looking for a trip where you can put your physical limits to the test, Friendly Planet does have tours for trekking, mountain biking, and/or kayaking.

Top Destinations

They offer trips in various parts of Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East, Mediterranean, Central America, and South America. Any trip you choose will have a mixture of classic sights and off-the-beaten path experiences.

If you’re the type that enjoys sightseeing and scenic views as much as bread-making lessons and local village visits, they’ll you’ll surely enjoy the tours that Friendly Planet has to offer.

While they do offer trips around the world, Asia, Europe, and Nepal tend to be popular with their customers. Their service, accommodations,organization, itinerary, and guides have the most quality consistency.

Friendly Planet Travel Style

Cultural immersion is a signature feature for Friendly Planet. On top of some sightseeing, they believe it’s about activities and meeting locals that elevate your trip. This could mean a visit to a local artisan village in India, or a walking tour through Old Havana on a tour to Cuba with Friendly Planet. Or a day of leisurely walking through the countryside - where you are surrounded by mountains, lakes, and a castle on a tour to Italy.

You’re always greeted in the morning with a buffet breakfast - so no need to worry about what to order when you’re still half asleep. Accommodations are always centrally located hotels that sit in the 3 or 4-star range.

While it may not always be the fanciest or upscale hotel, they’ll do for some relaxation time and a good night’s sleep. Expect to be using transportation such as private air-conditioned motor coaches, ferries, and coach buses.

They have 4 travel programs:

Small Group Tours: This is what is popular and what they’re most well-known for. With 11-24 people, you’ll get enough time to know everyone in your group and make new friendships. Small group tours are good for young travelers that want some days to be organized, and other days to be free and do as they please.

Value Vacation: For those on an ultra low budget, value vacations offers you the same great experiences, but with a larger number of people. There’s never more than 37, and tours are operated by tour partners. Note that their tours may also be shared with other passengers that weren’t arranged with Friendly Planet.

Independent Packages: If you’re the type that would rather not have a set itinerary, or would rather pick how much you want to do depending on your mood, then independent packages would be right for you. You have full flexibility, no schedule, and no tour guides - so you can make a pit stop at that hole-in-the-wall cafe you spotted while strolling through Santorini.

Crown Collections: For those who want to indulge, have more intimate groups, or luxurious experiences, Crown Collections is for you. Groups are maxed at 6, meaning you don’t have to wait an extra 20 minutes for your fellow travelers to finish up breakfast everyday. You’ll travel using the most upscale local transportation - such as the high-end Rovos Rail Train to venture from Pretoria to Cape Town. Spend the night in boutique hotels, and dine in restaurants where regional wines pair with every dish.

Custom Travel: Those wanting to book a trip exclusively with their friends, by themselves, a couple, or a large group - this is for you. Request a proposal and tell them what you want to do and where you want to go. It’s like having your own personal trip planner, so you can focus on spending quality time.

Why Choose a Tour with Friendly Planet?

If you thought you couldn’t go on tours because it’s cheaper to do it yourself - think again! Friendly Planet is the tour operator for those that are budget-focused, without sacrificing the experiences, good service, organization, and overall quality.

Once you’re on your trip, you have a dedicated emergency line that connects you to their managers in America (no matter what time of day/night it is). Additionally, they give back to the community and actively contribute to projects that promote education, clean water, human rights, wildlife protection, and more.

It should be noted however, that not everything is always guided by Friendly Planet tour guides because they outsource some of their trips. This means there are some potential issues that are out of their control. Depending on the destination, some partners are better organized than others. Not all of them are detail-oriented - they might miss small requests or change without notice.


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