Intrepid Travel vs SmarTours - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Perfect Itinerary, Guide spoiled a lot of the trip4.0 July 2019
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.Read more
(I would recommend the trip, but only if I knew it was a different guide.)
Good experience - highly overpriced.4.0 April 2019
I just came back from a 12 day tour toRead more
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
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.
Tour Intrepid Company Reviews
It was so much fun!5.0 April 2019
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!Read more
Tour Intrepid Company Reviews
Beauiful Croatia5.0 July 2019
This was our first Bus Tour. While we did enjopy the spots we visited, we felt that there were too many towns and not enough time in each, necessitating more time on the bus. Nevertheless the value of the tour is undeniable. The Tour director Jon, was extremely professional and he was a huge positive on the trip. The topography of Croatia was spectacular, the Sea and mountain views were gorgeous. Lake Bled, the Postojna Caves, Opatija/Plitvice Lakes, Debrovnik, the Roman Ruins, Zagreb were wonderful. The hotels were all clean and rooms were comfortable. Unfortunately my partner Barbara fell and injured her face and broke her glasses on the way to Debrovnik. Jon was extremely concerned offered to find a doctor ()which Barbara declined) but Jon took the broken glasses to an occulist who temporarliy repaired the frames. Two of our fellow travelors who were Nurses took care of Barbara after the accident.Read more
Exceeded my Expectations!5.0 July 2019
For someone who usually plans every detail of my travels...going on a group tour was not something I relished. Plus, I knew that Smartours was considered a “budget” travel company, so my expectations weren’t that high. However, other than a few minor inconveniences, this trip exceeded my expectations. The magical African landscapes and its kind, welcoming people made this adventure one of the best vacations I’ve been on. Pros: Well-paced itinerary that gave us the opportunity for some free time to plan our own activities, smallish group (25) of lovely, considerate, fellow travelers (we were in the minority of “younger” folks and we are in our 50s), excellent included tours, mostly lovely hotels/lodges, amazing breakfasts/dinners, included porter services at all stops, Smartours CEO personally responded quickly to our inquiry regarding booking cost concern, and our delightful and attentive guide Jonathan. Cons: 6 hour scheduled layover, most uncomfortable 14+ hour flight ever via South African Airways, trip extension Vic Falls guide was very personable, but not very attentive, Smartours sends trip info only 2 weeks prior to departure (would love to have had this info sooner), several of the optional tours were mediocre. But honestly...if you’re a frequent traveler...these concerns are pretty minor. I will definitely be recommending the South Africa Tour to friends for value/quality and hope that ST keeps its word about limiting group sizes to under 25. I will definitely use them again in the future!Read more
Wonderful experience, well-deigned by SmarTours5.0 May 2019
The Treasures of Portugal trip focuses on the highlights of the cultural and artistic heritage of this fascinating country. The chosen destinations and sites rarely disappointed, and there was always something awe-inspiring at each stop. The tour provides a great balance between programmed and free time, allowing you to see what you want or find time to explore on your own. The fact that few dinners and no lunches were provided afford you the opportunity to discover the places and tastes that intrigue you as you discover the variety of offerings available in each location.Read more
The destinations chosen are smart and live up to the promise that these are the country's treasures. Our guide was brilliant - she knew well the backstory of the locations and the significance of the art and architecture. Each part of the tour was a lesson in history, presented with excitement and passion. Her adoration of the history and culture of her countrymen was palpable and infectious, and gave the touring experience much added value.
Well planned, organized, balanced, affordable, and utterly enjoyable. Very highly recommended.
|Tours||1,185 Trips||55 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 193||$ 259|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||Mixed Land & Cruise|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Melbourne, Australia||New York City, New York, USA|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||N/A|
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
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.
- South America
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?
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.
Founded in 1996, smarTours promises its customers the “Best Travel Bargains” by offering mostly all-inclusive guided tours throughout much of the world.
What Makes SmarTours Stand Out?
SmarTours offers affordable tours along with great itineraries. Included in the price of all their tours is international airfare from the U.S., first-class hotels, sightseeing excursions, and English-speaking local guides. SmarTours draws a large repeat business, taking travelers to such far-flung destinations as Thailand, Morocco, Japan, Peru, Patagonia, India, and Australia.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with SmarTours?
Travelers who love traveling and care about experiencing the destination above all else - tourist sites, history, and culture - will love the feel of a SmarTours trip. These tours are definitely for the budget minded - SmarTours offers numerous deals and specials throughout the year, and provides many other ways you can save money as well, including referring your friends and being a repeat SmarTours traveler. Trips are comfortable and well guided, if not luxury or especially “unique” in tone. Airfare is included, which is a major selling point for SmarTours travelers.
SmarTours is perfect for the traveler who wants to get the most out of their travel experience, in terms of inclusions and time spent exploring the sites, both with a guide and with free time. If you are looking for a more cultivated, personalized experience, the SmarTours focus on keeping costs low doesn’t always allow for this. That said, this is budget travel that strives to appeal to a wider range.
SmarTours caters to all ages that are looking for good prices. They are largely popular amongst 50+ travelers and families.
SmarTours travels all over the world, including Africa, Asia, South America and Cuba, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Diverse itineraries are available in each destination.
SmarTours Travel Style
Except for its cruise offerings -- primarily river cruises as well as Greek Island and Galapagos cruises -- transportation is generally by bus. Group sizes may reach 40 and beyond, but may also be smaller depending on the popularity of the trip. SmarTours will design custom trips for groups with at least 25-30 travelers.
Accommodations are between value and premium, comfortable with a step above basic amenities. You won’t spend much time in your hotel, as SmarTours makes the focus about the travel experiences on the ground. They care about ensuring that you have as much time as possible to explore with the guide and on your own.
Why Choose a Tour With SmarTours?
SmarTours is a complete bargain package for budget minded travelers. If you are looking for an unbeatable value, don’t mind a large group and want tours focused on exotic destinations, then SmarTours is a perfect choice for you.