Intrepid Travel vs Road Scholar - 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 — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Recent Reviews

Only excellent value for money and memories to last a lifetime.

5.0 August 2019
K
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Faultless service and incredible trips, at a really good price. Plus they are all really nice peeps, by email or phone, and we need more of that in the world.

So far, and still counting, I've used them for:

Alaska
Tanzania
Kenya
Uganda
Northern India
Lombok
Bali
Russia
Mongolia
China
Nepal

Never had a bad experience, only excellent value for money and memories to last a lifetime.
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It was an incredible experience!

5.0 August 2019
J
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We just wrapped up a Tanzania family safari. It was an incredible experience!

Even the cook made sure my picky teenager would like his breakfast by fixing him his scrambled eggs the way he likes them.

I’ve been dreaming of this trip with my son for a long time and I’m glad I booked it with you guys! We’ll cherish the memories we made for ever

If you’re looking for a real adventure kinda trip then go with Intrepid!

Thank you Thank you Thank you
Johan & Maxime
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Perfect Itinerary, Guide spoiled a lot of the trip

4.0 July 2019
S
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
The perfect itinerary allowed us to efficiently visited all the top sites with great lodgings. Unfortunately, the guide cut short stops at the Bahai Gardens, Acco, Tel Aviv, and Jerrico on days when we got to our hotel room in the early afternoon--all group members were upset by this. This Palestinian Christian guide emphasized unimpressive churches and minimized all sights that were secular, Muslim, Jewish, ancient, or other faiths. He made bizarre strident political comments about how great Mao Zedong was, praised Putin, said Palestinian people "had never done anything wrong in their history," talked about the Jews killing Jesus--all with a lot of anger. He knew a lot of about Christinaity, not much about anything else. He did a lot to make what could have been the perfect trip, mediocre.

(I would recommend the trip, but only if I knew it was a different guide.)
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The amazing places we saw

5.0 July 2019
G
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I liked everything about my RS tour of the Oregon Coast - the amazing places we saw; our well-informed and caring tour director Kathleen Fitzgerald; the capable and quietly efficient bus driver Tim; the vastly knowledgeable Earth Science specialist John Ford; the excellent local guides Audrey and Mike; the variety of group meals and eating locations; the convenient accommodations; and the wonderful tour co-participants. Also, before the tour, helpful Road Scholar staff and volunteers checked on all my health and nutrition needs. In all - an exquisite experience, which made me rush and book another Road Scholar tour for September. :-) Georgiana
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Tour Road Scholar Company Reviews

It was fun to be able to spend time alone with our grandson

5.0 May 2019
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We did a grandparent/grandchild trip with Road Scholar and it was a wonderful experience!
It was fun to be able to spend time alone with our grandson, and it was fun for him and us to meet new people.
We plan to do another trip next year with our other grandson!
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Tour Road Scholar Company Reviews

Its a stop on your life's adventure

5.0 May 2019
B
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Its not a trip, its a stop on your life's adventure and learning. My trip to the gardens of England and the Chelsea flower show with Jenny Smale as our tour guide and Kevin Tooher as our botanical guide was beyond my expectations for a tour of the gardens of England. We stayed in top hotels, rode in a comfortable bus, ate great meals and visited private sites that would have been impossible except for their assistance. Our group bonded and will continue to stay in touch.
I took hundreds of photos and packaged them into a Powerpoint presentation that I gave to my local garden club. Hope to encourage others to try this tour.
Can't wait for my next Road Scholar visit.
I am checking off my bucket list with the family that I never knew I had.

I have added another Road Scholar trip for 2019. I will be sharing 9 days with a fried in Churchill Ca while we travel on tundra buggies to see Polar Bears. I had been researching this trip for years and then looked over the Road Scholar description. Not only was it thousands cheaper, but also more side adventures and time watching bears than similar trips. I look forward to adding great photos to my review.
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Tour Road Scholar Company Reviews

Tours 1,185 Trips 856 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 193 $ 244
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • Photography
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Year Established 1989 1975
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English English
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 Road Scholar

Founded in 1975 as Elderhostel, Road Scholar took its new name in 2010. The name change was meant to better reflect the non-profit educational travel organization’s mission, which is to offer lifelong learning opportunities to adults.

Besides it’s a clever play on words (the takeoff on Rhodes Scholar), “Road” stands for the journeys the group offers, while “Scholar” indicates the deep devotion to learning that participants possess.

What Makes Road Scholar Stand Out?

Tours specifically designed for older travelers and with a heavy focus on gaining deeper knowledge through educational activities, led by guides who are experts in a variety of fields.

Instructors accompanying Road Scholar trips are experts in their fields, delivering lectures and leading field trips. Trip themes may range from history and culture, language study, and music appreciation to birding, bicycling, and baseball (proving that learning can be light-hearted, too).

Traveling with Road Scholar is like a study abroad experience, with classes and instructors, with a group of people the same age who have a similarly extensive hindsight on life - and love to learn.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Road Scholar?

The first thing to note is that Road Scholar trips are specifically intended for travelers 50 and above (often 65+).

Open minded, active, and worldly life-long learners who have a sense of adventure and willingness to try new things, will love the cadence of a Road Scholar trip. Road Scholar is often the first guided trip experience for older travelers.

Perhaps in your younger days you loved going it alone, planning out your itinerary, and loved the spontaneity of traveling off the beaten path. Now you’re ready to have that same spirit, but with a few more ducks in a row and maybe hit some of the classic sites you missed or didn’t truly appreciate before.

Road Scholar has recently added special grandparent-grandchild trips and programs for three generations traveling together. Keep in mind that the focus remains on education, distinguishing Road Scholar trips from most commercial tours.

Group sizes with Road Scholar vary, but many small group study tours are limited to 10-24 participants. They are also very friendly to solo travelers - offering many tours for solos and singles where you can meet new friends, and romantic interests!

Road Scholar allows for particular good compatibility between you and your tour mates as each journey is designed around specific themes from an educational perspective.

Top Destinations

With a special Road Scholar operates tours in 150 countries, as well as every state in the U.S. Aside from the educational days, many trips include activities in nature, with hiking, kayaking, and other outdoors experiences.

Road Scholar Travel Style

Road Scholar creates their itineraries to encourage learning - both in a scholarly way, from knowledgeable guides, and experts in various fields, and also in a holistic way - from the accommodations, meals, and transportation. Your entire journey with Road Scholar is designed as an educational experience.

Tours are referred to as “programs”, guides, tour directors, and leaders are “faculty” and they even have an online “campus store”. Programs are designed to be immersive and very different from a canned experience.

Walking trips, train treks, small ship cruises, and riverboat voyages are among the options for trip style. Prices typically stay in the budget/value range consistent with the company’s roots.

Road Scholar offers may ways to save on their trips. These include scholarships, friend referrals, and various specials and deals throughout the year.

Why Choose a Tour With Road Scholar?

On a Road Scholar tour you can expect a lot of unique cultural, artistic, historic, and local insights. Meet artisans, learn local crafts, and feel the camaraderie of being around other travelers who enjoy the educational aspect of travel.

The original Elderhostel grew out of the vision of the late Marty Knowlton, who spent four years backpacking around Europe while staying in youth hostels -- and wanted American adults to have access to similar cultural experiences.

If you consider yourself a lifelong learner and want to spend your vacation amongst others who share your passion for travel and education, Road Scholar is the place for you.

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